Research and development (R&D) in health is an important investment as it motivates innovation, invention, and progress increasing economic growth and productivity. To further push initiatives for R&D and innovation, the Regional Health Research and Development Consortium XI (RHRDC XI), together with the Department of Science and Technology Region XI (DOST XI), conducted the 11th Health R&D Expo on November 15-16, 2021 via Zoom and Facebook platforms.

With the theme “Health R&D Solutions in the fight against Covid-19,” this year’s expo intended to provide a platform to bring altogether the health research community from public and private sectors as well as showcase completed health research undertakings of professional and student researchers in the region through oral and poster presentations.

On the second day of the expo, RHRDC XI featured webinars from two DOST-Balik Scientist Awardees, namely Dr. Annabelle P. Villalobos, Johnsons and Johnsons Biopharmaceuticals, USA Consultant and Dr. Arnulfo C. Rosario, Jr., MD, MPH, CCS, DOST Balik Scientist from United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Houston Health Department in Atlanta, Georgia.

In her presentation on “Synthetic Biology: A new perspective in the fight against COVID-19”, Dr. Villalobos talked about the vaccines, anti-viral/repurposed drugs, and the challenges and opportunities in manufacturing COVID-19 vaccine and treatments in the Philippines.

 

 

Meanwhile, Senior Lecturer in the Medical Informatics Unit of UP Manila College of Medicine and co-founder of two startups, Dr. Rosario, focused on “Informatics: Critical Strategy in Combating COVID-19”. He discussed medical informatics, the intersection of information science, computer science, and healthcare that can be applied in areas of public health and clinical services, eHealth (mHealth/Mobile Health) and Digital Health. Dr. Rosario highlighted the digital health tools developed by both public and private institutions and telemedicine tools that are used for COVID-19 response.

“It’s now a mandate among all institutions from DOH, starting March 2021, to have a telemedicine. That’s a new thing for us to adapt, a turnaround from our health ecosystem. Before pipila ka, ngayon ang pilahan ay via appointment, via telemedicine which is better (Before, you will wait in queue. Now, the queueing is via appointment, via telemedicine which is better). This is a great to tool for you to prepare and pre-consult to cut down the cost, the cost of waiting, and the time of being exposed to possible COVID-19”, said Dr. Rosario as he encouraged the public to grasp, study, and make use of the telemedicine tools.

Aside from the initiatives on COVID-19 response, RHRDC XI also recognized the outstanding health research oral presentations and poster exhibits for the undergraduate and graduate categories.

For the complete list of the winners in, refer to the list below:

Oral Presentation – Undergraduate Category

Place

Title

Presenter

Institution

1st Place

Perceptions and Lived Experiences of Patient-Consumers and Community Pharmacists on Direct-to-Consumer Drug Advertising (DTCDA) in Cotabato City

Salma Khairia A. Alang

University of the Immaculate Conception

2nd Place

Forecasting Dengue Cases in Davao City Administrative Districts from 2020 to 2025 utilizing Seasonal Autoagressive Integrated Moving Average (SARIMA) Model

George Carr Plaza

University of the Immaculate Conception

 

Oral Presentation – Professional Category

Place

Title

Presenter

Institution

1st Place

Development and Validation of an HPLC-DAD Method for the Chemical Fingerprinting and Quantification of Agnuside in Vitex negundo Linn. (Lagundi) Leaves and Commercial Tablets

Michael Casas

Philippine Science High School Southern Mindanao Campus

2nd Place

Spatial Variation of Heavy Metals and Pathogenic Enteric Bacterial Isolated in Coastal Surface Waters of Davao City and IGACOS: An Evaluation of its Source, Environmental Impact and Risks to Human Health

Venchie Badong

University of the Immaculate Conception

3rd Place

Prolonged Personal Audio Device (PAD) Usage and Subjective Tinnitus Among the First Year Medical Students of DMSFI

Arabia K. Mariano

Davao Medical School Foundation Inc.

 

POSTER – UNDERGRADUATE CATEGORY

Place

Title

Presenter

Institution

1st Place

A Retrospective Study on the Success Rates of Antiretroviral Therapy and Adherence of Antiretroviral Naive Patients in an HIV Treatment Hub in Davao City, Philippines

Jesille Mae Legarta

University of the Immaculate Conception

2nd Place

Effects of Alternative Medication vs. Standard Care Treatment on the HBA1C Levels of Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus Patients: A Systematic Review

Alyssa Anne Lancita

University of the Immaculate Conception

3rd Place

Prevalence of Self-medication among Pharmacy Students in Selected Schools in Davao City: A Cross-Sectional Study

Princes Jobille C. Polina

University of the Immaculate Conception

 

POSTER – GRADUATE CATEGORY

Place

Title

Presenter

Institution

1st Place

Development and Validation of an HPLC-DAD Method for the Chemical Fingerprinting and Quantification of Agnuside in Vitex negundo Linn. (Lagundi) Leaves and Commercial Tablets

Michael Casas

Philippine Science High School Southern Mindanao Campus

2nd Place

Wastewater-Based Epidemiology and Whole-Genome Sequencing for Community-Level Surveillance of SARS-CoV-2 in Selected Urban Communities of Davao City, 
Philippines: A Pilot Study

Dann Marie N. Del Mundo, Ph.D

University of the Philippines Mindanao

3rd Place

Risk Factors Associated with Severity and Survivability of Covid-19 patients: Empirical Evidence from Davao Region

Charisse Miguel

Malayan Colleges of Mindanao

 

“I believe we can rise above the challenges of the pandemic and continue to create interventions, multisectoral collaborations, and multi-disciplinary actions to address the problem and improve public health outcomes, because after all, health research is the foundation of public health policy”, said DOST XI Regional Director Dr. Anthony C. Sales, CESO III in the opening ceremony.

He also encouraged the presenters and participants that sound and scientific evidence of health researches should not only be presented but should also be used to inform and aid health policy decision-making to further refine the multi-sectoral COVID-19 pandemic response.

RHRDC XI is a member consortium of the Philippine Council for Health Research and Development (PCHRD) mandated to promote and coordinate health research activities in the region through relevant and quality health researches.

 

DOST XI S&T Information and Promotion

The University of the Philippines Mindanao (UPMin), in collaboration with the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM), UK, has successfully completed the One Health Omics Project, a week-long free online bioinformatics workshop from October 11-16, 2021.

Out of 124 applicants, only 40 were shortlisted to participate in the workshop composed of faculty members, clinicians, and researchers from different regions in Mindanao.

In the opening ceremony, Dr. Aleyla De Cadiz, project leader of One Health Omics said that the workshop serves to capacitate Filipino researchers in Mindanao on omics technology in the surveillance, management, and control of infections in a One Health setting. “We want to expose Mindanaoan researchers to bioinformatics tools and techniques which can be helpful in their research focus and future research endeavors in the region,” she added.

The bioinformatics workshop was facilitated by Dr. Jody Phelan, Julian Libiseller-Egger, Daniel Ward, Anton Spadar, and Paula Josefina Gómez González, bioinformatics experts from LSHTM, all members of Professor Taane Clark’s team.

Professor of Genomics and Global Health in LSHTM and the lead United Kingdom (UK) coordinator, Prof. Taane Clark said that the skills learnt during the workshop will allow the participants to apply big data methods to genomics questions and investigations. "Bioinformatics and genomics techniques, as well as conducting related molecular investigations, are important skills for the participants to become genomics and genomic epidemiological experts, and will contribute to improving the health of the Philippines population. Some of the trainees in our previous workshops are now trainers in bioinformatics, and it is very exciting and personally rewarding to be part of capacity building and strengthening in genomics, and contribute to ongoing Philippines-UK biomedical collaborations", he said.

Bioinformatics is a combination of biology and information technology that allows researchers to further examine and understand the characteristics of an organism or a microbe through its genome, such as a virus like the SARS-CoV-2 virus responsible for the COVID-19 disease, using a computer.

Today, bioinformatics algorithms made it possible to quickly assemble the genome sequence of the coronavirus which helped scientists to quickly develop diagnostic test kits and give an immediate head start in vaccine development.

The One Health Omics Project was funded by DOST-Newton Agham Researcher Links Workshop grant from the British Council in partnership with London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) and supported by the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) - Philippine Council for Health Research and Development (PCHRD). The workshop is also co-sponsored by the Philippine Genome Center (PGC) Mindanao.

The LSHTM will be having its second run of Online Bioinformatics Workshop on November 22-25, 2021 which will focus on Infectious Diseases. This will be participated by 30 participants from the Philippines and 30 participants from the UK.#

Written by:

JANESSA V.VILLOTA

Information Officer I

Philippine Genome Center Mindanao 

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