October 4, 2015, 2:46p.m. – A THOMASIAN professor’s research on a shrimp virus bagged first place in the annual Regional Invention Contests and Exhibits (RICE), held at the Technological Institute of the Philippines from Sept. 28 to Sept. 30.

Mary Beth Maningas of the College of Science won first prize for her research on the White Spot Syndrome Virus (WSSV), her fourth major award this year.

The WSSV is an infection in shrimps that can lead to economic losses in the shrimp industry. 

The professor and her team from the Research Center for Natural and Applied Sciences have devised diagnostic kits for the detection of WSSV, which they plan to distribute to local communities after tests. 

Pilot-testing of the kits are being funded by the Department of Science and Technology and will be  distributed to 18 shrimp farms. The machines used were built by the Faculty of Engineering, Maningas said in an email to the Varsitarian.

Maningas previously won the Outstanding Research Paper Award during the National Awards for Science and Technology and the Outstanding Research and Development Award for Applied Research during the National Science and Technology Week celebration.

Maningas and her team are studying genes with therapeutic potential using RNAi (RNA interference) technology, which can be utilized to mitigate WSSV infection.

“We are also exploring the utilization of waste materials like calamansi peel, mango peel, pineapple peel, etc., as possible sources of immunostimulants or feed additives for the Aquaculture Industry,” Maningas added. Mia Rosienna P. Mallari


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