UST BS Biochemistry research groups from the Faculty of Pharmacy recently won the 1st and 2nd places in the Oral Research Presentation category of the 2nd International Symposium and 8th Annual Scientific Convention of the Metro Manila Health Research Development Consortium (MMHRDC). Meanwhile, a research group from BS Medical Technology won 3rd place.

The event took place last May 24 to 25, 2018, at the Pan Pacific Hotel – Manila, and bore the theme “Food Fortification in Universal Healthcare.” The BS Biochemistry research groups composed of Nelisah Suarez and Maeve Alejandro, as well as Ronina Cada and Pamela Aliman won the 1st and 2nd places, respectively. Both research groups were mentored by Ms. Myla R. Santiago, MSc, Mr. Mark Kevin Devanadera, and Mr. Alexis M. Labrador.

The winning research of Ms. Suarez and Ms. Alejandro, entitled “Multi-core Microencapsulation of Lactobacillus acidophilus using Lipid-based Material and Carbohydrate-based Matrix for Functional Food Application” focused on the use of lipid-rich coconut oil bodies supported with carbohydrate-based materials as microencapsulating agent to L. Acidophilus to promote longer probiotic shelf life and beneficial effects.

The research presented by Ms. Cada and Ms. Aliman entitled “Characterization of In Vitro Effects of Using Purified Coconut Oil Bodies as Encapsulating Agents for Doxorubicin and Paclitaxel” garnered the 2nd place. The research focused on the utilization of purified coconut oil bodies as coating materials for chemotherapeutic drugs doxorubicin and paclitaxel with the aim of improving bioavailability and efficacy against cancer cells.

Both researches expedite the usefulness of coconut oil bodies not only as an adjuvant material for drug and food products but as an emerging pharmacological excipient that enhances the medicinal effect and therapeutic index of the active substance during drug and even food delivery.

This year’s 8th Annual Scientific Conference and their 2nd International symposium focuses on the exposition of research works and discoveries in food fortification and its application in universal healthcare. The competition is divided into student and professional research posters and oral presentation categories. The panel of examiners for both student and professional research competitions are from various institutions specializing in various fields including Biology, Chemistry, Biochemistry, Microbiology, Molecular Biology, Biotechnology, Nutrition and Medicine.

The 1st and 2nd place winners of the said Oral Research Presentation of the convention are automatically contestants in the upcoming Philippine National Health Research System (PNHRS) convention on August 6 to 9, 2018 at Camp John Hay, Baguio City.