HAILED as the Most Outstanding Pharmacist in Pharmacy Education, Aristea Bayquen, Ph.D. has nurtured hundreds, if not thousands, of Thomasian professionals.

At 64, the professor from the Faculty of Pharmacy was recognized by the Philippine Pharmacist Association (PPhA) during its national convention in Talisay, Cebu last April.

Despite being in the teaching profession since she was 22, Bayquen admitted that much like the students she molded, deadlines give her the drive to pursue excellence. These mostly involved joining competitions a day before the deadline of the entry or researches being crammed just to make it in time.

An example would be one of the earlier research projects she was working on which she finished a day before the deadline. She recalled the struggle she had from collecting, synthesizing, and analyzing samples usung the only nuclear magnetic resonance machine in the country found in the University of the Philippines (UP) – Diliman campus.

The year 2013 paved the way for Bayquen to bring Engineering and Pharmacy students together in a shared project for UST NeoVation, a competition seeking innovative products from students – Bayquen's students joining the last minute.

Their project, an organic liquid anti-acne solution made of ingredients such as atis seeds and lagundi extract won first place and bagged 100-thousand pesos.

The Most Outstanding Pharmacist award was yet another proof of Bayquen’s magnetism to deadlines.

She recalled Manansala asking her to accomplish the requirements on the day of the deadline.

“She told me, 'Go make your one-page curriculum vitae,' and asked me for various requirements,” she said.

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Bayquen initially thought she was being nominated for something related to research since that was what her portfolio was mostly comprised of. I had no idea what I was joining back then,” she added.

Swan song on seaweed

With two years left before her retirement, the professor decided to drop her research stint and focus sole ly on teaching.

Bayquen’s latest research on kappa carrageenan, a polysaccharide extracted from seaweeds, focused on its use in more efficient drug delivery.

“Kappa carrageenan can coat [drugs] so it will be very small that it can enter cells,” the professor said.

Besides research and teaching, Bayquen added that Chemistry has long been a passion of hers.

She said it might be fate that strung her together with the field of Pharmacy and Chemistry, recalling that much of her siblings were involved with the latter and as much as she liked the former, she kept on encountering Chemistry wherever she went.

The professor finished her bachelor studies in Pharmacy and her master’s degree in Chemistry, in 1972 and 1992 respectively, in the University.

She obtained her doctorate in Pharmaceutical Chemistry at the University of the Philippines in 1986, and another doctorate in Chemistry at the University of New South Wales, Australia, in 1995.

Throughout her studies, Bayquen spent much of her years teaching, having spent four years with the College of Nursing, three decades with the old College of Engineering, the next eight with the Faculty of Pharmacy.

Not one to stay idle, Bayquen engages herself in church activities and co-authoring science textbooks used in secondary education. Along with her other colleagues, the professor is currently writing newer versions of the books apt for the new K to 12 curriculum.

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Bayquen also received the Outstanding Alumni award in the field of Chemistry last year from the Graduate School, and was the first recipient of the Natatanging Nailathalang Pananaliksik under the Agham at Teknolohiya category in the UST Dangal awards back in 1998.

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