National Academy of Science and Technology announces new members

The new NAST PHL members include Arnel N. del Barrio, PhD (Ruminant Nutrition); Charlotte M. Chiong, MD (Otolaryngology) and PhD (Medical Sciences); Christopher P. Monterola, PhD (Physics); Maribel G. Nonato, PhD (Chemistry); and Windell L. Rivera, PhD (Medical Sciences). The new corresponding members are Francis L. de los Reyes III, PhD (Environmental Engineering); Gonzalo C. Serafica, PhD (Chemical Engineering); Ramon B. Gustilo, MD (Orthopaedics); and Annabelle P. Villalobos, PhD (Chemistry).

The National Academy of Science and Technology Philippines (NAST PHL) recently announced its new members and corresponding members, whose names were added to the roster of its current 101 academicians.

The new NAST PHL members include Arnel N. del Barrio, PhD (Ruminant Nutrition); Charlotte M. Chiong, MD (Otolaryngology) and PhD (Medical Sciences); Christopher P. Monterola, PhD (Physics); Maribel G. Nonato, PhD (Chemistry); and Windell L. Rivera, PhD (Medical Sciences).

The new corresponding members are Francis L. de los Reyes III, PhD (Environmental Engineering); Gonzalo C. Serafica, PhD (Chemical Engineering); Ramon B. Gustilo, MD (Orthopaedics); and Annabelle P. Villalobos, PhD (Chemistry).

The new academicians were presented during the recent first #PilipiNAST Virtual Kapehan.

Membership to the NAST is based on peer recognition and carries with it the title of “Academician,” its web site said.

Resident Filipino scientists who have made exemplary contributions to science and technology and have advanced its cause in the Philippines are elected as Academicians.

Corresponding membership, on the other hand, is conferred on nonresident Filipino scientists who have made exemplary contributions to the advancement of science and technology and have continuing connections and contributions to Philippine science. They regularly come to the Philippines to  practice their field of expertise. Filipino citizenship and residency are waived as long as the three qualifications are met.


Del Barrio: He is currently the executive director of Philippine Carabao Center (PCC), an attached agency of the Department of Agriculture.

Under his leadership, PCC was given the “2018 Outstanding Institution Award” by the National Research Council of the Philippines and the “Bronze Awardee of PRIME-HRM” for having managed and implemented the processes under the four core HRM Systems.

In addition, PCC was recognized as the 3rd among the Top Performers of the Department of Agriculture in terms of obligation for the fiscal year 2018.

TUV SUD Asia Pacific also certified the PCC National Headquarters and Gene Pool for its compliance with the integrated systems of quality management (ISO 9001:2015), environmental management (ISO 14001:2015) and occupational health and safety (OHSAS 18001:2007). PCC likewise forged meaningful partnerships and collaborations with both national and international institutions.

Chiong: She is an internationally recognized expert in the field of otolaryngology. Her researches in otology and neurotology-skull base surgery have been very beneficial to the advancement of knowledge in these fields in the country and abroad.

She pioneered in cochlear implantation surgery and other implantable hearing devices in the Philippines for the surgical restoration of hearing, especially in deaf children.

The founding director of the Newborn Hearing Screening Reference Center, she was a former director of the Philippine National Ear Institute and was responsible for the modernization of the Philippine General Hospital Ear Unit.

Recognizing that there are eight Filipinos born deaf daily and a cost of P4 million per deaf child not given intervention, she led the researches that became the basis of Republic Act 9709, or the Universal Newborn Hearing Screening and Intervention Act of 2009.

Monterola: He holds an Aboitiz Chair in Data Science at the Asian Institute of Management where he is also a professor and the head of the Aboitiz School of Innovation, Technology, and Entrepreneurship, under which is an advanced analytics industry-facing research lab—the Analytics, Computing, and Complex Systems (ACCeSs) lab where Chris is the pioneering executive managing director.

Since its inception in March 2018, ACCeSs@AIM has won prestigious international awards, including the 2019 Times Higher Education Innovation of the Year, considered as the “Oscars in Education.”

In 2018, the research lab received the Innovation that Inspires Award from the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business for championing industry-government-academia partnerships through research and development and “technopreneurship.”

Nonato: She carried out pioneering research on the pandanus or pandan grown in the Philippines. The discovery of novel pandanus alkaloids became a significant contribution to the chemistry of alkaloids. It established the Genus Pandanus as new sources of alkaloids.

Nonato’s researches in pandanus has been acknowledged by her peers in the Asian communities. The P. amaryllifolius alkaloids showed antibacterial activity while the leaves of showed blood sugar lowering, anti-oxidant, and anti-inflammatory activities. Growth on pandanus researches ranging from systematics, phytochemicals, and biological studies was observed from 1994 to 2018.

Rivera: He has significantly contributed to the advancement of microbiology in the Philippines. His most important scientific accomplishment is his pioneering work on the development of a diagnostic tool to accurately differentiate the morphologically identical yet genetically distinct Entamoeba species, the amebiasis-causing Entamoeba histolytica and the nonpathogenic Entamoeba dispar.

His research publications have been cited by many authors around the globe working on molecular diagnostics and epidemiology of these protozoan parasites.

The protocol he developed is now being used to accurately diagnose and document the prevalence of these intestinal parasites in a number of E. histolytica-endemic countries, including his own research group in the Philippines.

Recently, his group has also developed a rapid and accurate detection kit for amebiasis patients through the use of salivary IgA which received a Philippine patent in 2015.

Corresponding members

De los Reyes: He has pioneered the integrated use of molecular microbial and biotechnological tools with biological process engineering to improve analysis, design, and operation of engineered and natural systems for converting waste to energy and resources.

He has developed and applied leading-edge molecular (DNA- and RNA-based) techniques, mathematical modeling, and lab- and field-scale experiments on several important environmental bioprocesses.

These bioprocesses include: activated sludge systems for treating industrial and domestic wastewater, anaerobic systems for converting liquid and solid wastes to energy and valuable products, deposit formation in sewer lines, photobioreactors for biofuel production, and microbial transformations in pit latrines, soils, and natural treatment systems.

Gustilo: His international reputation as a leader in the field of orthopaedic surgery was first gained through his landmark research in classifying open fractures, and recommending treatment based on classification.

The Gustilo Classification of Open Fractures was instrumental in improving the care and outcome of severe fractures throughout the world. His paper on fracture classification is one of the most cited articles in orthopaedic surgery literature.

His leadership in the care of patients with orthopaedic injuries led him to establish the Orthopaedic Trauma Hospital Association and the Orthopaedic Trauma Association. He was the founding president of both of these organizations.

Serafica: A microbial cellulose scientist, he holds 10 US patents and 13 international patents covering permanent implants, such as a dura substitute (brain patch), soft tissue replacements, adhesion barriers and artificial skin.

His biomaterials research focused on production optimization and product development which he started during his PhD in Chemical Engineering (Renssalaer Polytechnic Institute, New York, 1997).

He has over 20 years of experience with technology commercialization and intellectual property development. In 1996, he co-founded Xylos Corp. and led the venture as VP for Research and Development. He also served as VP Intellectual Property and Technology (2005-2012).

Xylos Corp. is a venture capital backed company that has invested more than $25 million in developing various microbial cellulose-derived medical devices. Its portfolio includes seven US FDA-cleared products.

Villalobos: Before giving back to the Philippines, she is a technical expert lead in an important blockbuster biotech drug Eprex of Johnson & Johnson. Eprex saves lives and marketed worldwide for anemia of chronic renal failure, chemotherapy in cancer, AIDS and autologous donation for perisurgery.

She also did technical support to other Johnson & Johnson drugs Orthoclone OKT3 against organ rejection, and Remicade for rheumatoid and psoriatic arthritis, Chron’s disease, and ankylosing spondylitis.

42nd Annual Scientific Meeting

Nast Philippines President, Academician Rhodora V. Azanza announced that the academicians will have their 42nd Annual Scientific Meeting from July 8 to 10 via Zoom with the theme “Science and Technology for the Society: Solutions to Long-Standing Concerns.”

NAST PHL is an attached agency to the Department of Science and Technology mandated by law to advise the president and the Cabinet on matters related to S&T.



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