PCC scientist is NAST 2011 OYS awardee

Dr. Claro N. Mingala, a scientist of the Philippine Carabao Center (PCC), was recently adjudged as one of the “2011 Outstanding Young Scientist” awardees.

The Outstanding Young Scientist (OYS) award is given to young Filipino scientists who make significant contributions to science and technology. The award is a brainchild of the National Academy of Science and Technology (NAST), the country’s premier recognition and advisory body on S&T under the Department of Science and Technology (DOST).

Mingala was selected based on his “exceptional ability to undertake scientific research as evidenced by his papers published in reputable scientific journals”. His selection was based on the quality and number of his scientific works and publications, his contributions to the advancement of science in general and science in the Philippines, in particular, and his contributions in the well-being of the Philippine economy and culture.

Dr. Libertado C. Cruz, PCC executive director, nominated Mingala for the award. In his nomination paper, In his nomination pape, Cruz declared: “The studies of Dr. Claro Mingala, which mainly concern on the immunology of water buffaloes, are some of the only few studies conducted across the world. These studies are indeed very important not only as baseline information with regards to water buffalo immunology but also in the development of DNA-based technologies in producing vaccine, diagnostic tools, and therapeutic agents.”

“The identification of genetic factors, which influence disease resistance and susceptibility, may lead to development and wise formulation of effective disease prevention and control strategies to increase production and propagation of water buffaloes,” the PCC head added.
Mingala’s research interest focuses on the development of gene-based diagnostic tools and analysis of the immune response to various stimuli leading to DNA vaccine production. His other research works dwelt on infectious diseases, specifically on molecular immunology, virology and epidemiology.

His NAST award was in the field of infectious diseases.

Mingala received a trophy and cash prize during the awarding rites held on July 14, 2011 at the Manila Hotel. He is also entitled to a research grant, subject to approval from DOST.

Aside from the OYS recognition given to 12 qualified nominees, other awards given by NAST include the TWAS (Third World Academy of Sciences) prize for young scientists in the Philippines, NAST Talent search for Young Scientist, Outstanding Scientific Paper, Outstanding Book and/or Monograph, pro Scientia Transformatix award, NAST-Hugh Greenwood Environmental Science award, and NAST-LELEDFI award for outstanding research in tropical medicine.

The OYS award was instituted in 1980 by the National Science Development Board (NSDB) to recognize scientists, who are below 40 years of age, for their outstanding contribution in their fields of specialization. Since it was first implemented, the NAST has been the screening and selection body for this award. In 1982, the OYS award became part of the recognition awards given by NAST.

Since its launching, a total of 252 scientists have been given awards in various fields of science.

A Department of Agriculture-fellow scientist, Mingala is currently working on “Genotyping and molecular characterization of NRAMP1/-2 genes as location of markers for resistance and/or susceptibility to Mycobacterium bovis in swamp and riverine water buffaloes” under the DA-Biotech Research Fellowship of the Applied Agri-Biotech Research.

The study aims to identify genetic markers that will correlate with resistance or susceptibility to pathogenic infection in buffaloes particularly of Mycobacterium bovis, the causative agent of tuberculosis in cattle.

Earlier, Mingala received the “2010 Outstanding Veterinarian in Government Service” given by the Philippine Veterinary Medical Association. He was likewise cited by the Central Luzon Agriculture and Resources Research and Development Consortium (CLARRDEC) for exemplary performance in R&D.