A UST chemist represented the Philippines in an international meeting with Nobel laureates in Japan last March 6 to 12.

Karen Santiago, Ph.D. was selected by the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) as one of three delegates who represented the country in the 8th HOPE meetings, which aims to help post-graduate students, candidates in doctorate programs, and young researchers from the Asia-Pacific and African region to establish dialogue between their respective countries.

Santiago, together with biologist Emmanuel Ryan de Chavez from University of the Philippines Los Baños and physicist Jade Dungao from De La Salle University, joined 108 delegates in the international meeting.

“One of the advantages of these meetings is that researchers like me who come from a third world country can ask for research assistance in terms of laboratory equipment from other countries such as Japan,” Santiago said in an interview.

The chemistry professor also presented her research under the Bio-Analytical Chemistry category titled “Conducting Polymer-Based Conductometric Electronic Nose for the Headspace Discrimination of Philippine Pandacus Species,” which focused in using nano-polymers as sensory materials to help authenticate plants using the vapor content of their leaves.

Santiago, who is also the associate director of the UST Office of International Relations and Programs, said the dialogue she had with the laureates and other distinguished scientists fostered interdisciplinary relationships with the different fields of studies in science.

“There is one fellow from Thailand who was interested [and] willing to work with me in my future research,” she said.

“I also look forward on working with the other two Filipino delegates because they too want to have [an] interdisciplinary research.”

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Present in the symposium were Nobel laureates Makoto Kobayashi (Physics, 2008), Serge Haroche (Physics, 2012), Shuiji Nakamura (Physics, 2014), Jean-Marie Lehn (Chemistry, 1987), Ada Yonath (Chemistry, 2009) and Barry Marshall (Physiology/Medicine, 2005), who also served as lecturers.

They advised participants to “always remember that their research studies must be for the greater purpose or benefit of their communities” and must offer alternative solutions in the long run in order to promote the quality of science in the Asia-Pacific and Africa regions.

Other delegates came from Australia, Bangladesh, China, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Israel, Kenya, South Korea, Malaysia, Myanmar, New Zealand, Singapore, South Africa, Taiwan, Thailand, Vietnam and the host country Japan.

The HOPE meetings have been organized since 2008. Kimberly Joy V. Naparan

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