DA-PCC’s researcher honored with ‘Prof. Yoo Hang Kim Young Women Scientists Award-2024’

PCCean researcher Dr. Lilian P. Villamor showcases the essence of “tatak PCC” on the international science stage by earning the esteemed Prof. Yoo Hang Kim Young Women Scientists Award-2024 from the Association of the Academies and Societies of Sciences in Asia (AASSA).

AASSA is a non-profit international organization with interests in science, technology, and innovation (STI). It aims to offer young women scientists early in their careers the opportunity to attend an AASSA-recognized international scientific conference or meeting, where they can present the results of their original research.

One of the qualifications established by AASSA was that the nominee should have experience presenting his/her original research at an internationally recognized scientific conference or have had his/her work accepted/published in international journals.

Dr. Villamor submitted the following research works: Genetic Divergence and Phylogenetic Relationship of Philippine Carabao (Bubalus bubalis) and Other Swamp Buffalo Populations in Neighboring Countries Revealed by the Mitochondrial DNA D-loop Region; Phylogenetic Relationship and Genetic Variation of Wild and Domesticated Water Buffaloes in Genus Bubalus Using Mitochondrial DNA D-loop Variation; and a Study on the Genetic Diversity of the Philippine Carabao Swamp Buffalo in the Philippines.

“I am motivated by my love for science and the inspiration I receive from my mentors in various fields of science. With my expertise in Agricultural Sciences, I hope to represent women in science and contribute to the mission of the AASSA. My goal is to make significant contributions to science and to specifically improve the Department of Agriculture, support livestock farmers, and help my fellow citizens in the country and beyond,” shared Dr. Villamor.

Since joining the DA-Philippine Carabao Center (DA-PCC) in 2014, her primary responsibility has been to enhance the operational management of the Cryobank Unit. Amid the Covid-19 pandemic, she was privileged to be assigned to draft the DA Administrative Order (AO) No. 31 Series of 2021, declaring the DA-PCC Cryobank as the National Livestock Cryobank (NLC), and the Memorandum Circular (MC) No. 04 Series of 2022, which provides the implementing guidelines for the NLC. She played a vital role in creating guidelines and optimizing laboratory protocols for the collection of animal genetic resources (AnGR), cryopreservation, data banking, access to AnGR, and information campaigns.

Dr. Villamor’s experience in biological sciences includes working in the DNA Analysis Laboratory (DAL) at the University of the Philippines Diliman (UPD) for nearly five years where she contributed to the establishment of genetic markers for forensic applications and gained an understanding of the diversity of Filipino populations. She was also involved in the HUGO Pan-Asian SNP Consortium, where their research findings mapped human genetic diversity in Asia, providing valuable insights for population studies in the Philippines and other countries.

She also expanded her knowledge in DNA barcoding and phylogenetic research in the field of Marine Science (Marine Biotechnology).

She also served as the principal investigator of the research team for the DA-Biotech project, which contributed to the unveiling of the genetic diversity of the Philippine Carabao (PC). The project also led to the identification of the Philippine Carabao in Calayan Island, Cagayan as a pure-type swamp buffalo, which resulted in the establishment of the carabao sanctuary.

Dr. Villamor is a Senior Science Research Specialist and the current head of the Cryobank Unit at the DA-PCC.

“Research outputs should have an impact to benefit livestock farmers and the industry. This involves a lot of consultations with researchers and farmers until we come up with laser-focus objectives to contribute worthwhile science that will help the farmers,” Dr. Villamor ended.