UST Research Center for Natural and Applied Sciences Resident Researcher and College of Science faculty member Prof. Thomas Edison E. dela Cruz, Dr. rer. nat., FPAM, was conferred the Outstanding Microbiologist Award by the Philippine Society of Microbiology (PSM) in a ceremony held on July 18, 2019. The award was given during the PSM’s 48th Annual Convention and Scientific Meeting, held from July 18 to 19, 2019, at the Clark Marriott Hotel in Pampanga.
With the theme “Promoting One Health through Microbiology Education, Research, and Practice,” the convention aimed to promote “a collaborative, multi-sector, and trans-disciplinary approach working at the local, regional, national, and global levels” to attain optimal health outcomes. Essential in the One Health approach are microbial tracking and surveillance, which are useful in addressing the efforts against antibiotic resistance.
As inscribed in the plaque presented to Dela Cruz, he was awarded “for his exemplary research contributions to the field of microbiology, particularly on mycology, and his outstanding dedication to the promotion of microbiology in the country.”
Dela Cruz was awarded the National Academy of Science and Technology (NAST) Outstanding Young Scientist in the field of mycology in 2012 and The World Academy of Sciences Prize for Young Scientist in the Philippines – Biology in 2014. He was named a Metrobank Outstanding Teacher in 2015. In 2017, he became the first Filipino to receive the American Society of Microbiology (ASM) Graduate Microbiology Teaching Award.
With more than 85 published research papers on fungal biodiversity, ecogenomics and systematics including fungal applications in agriculture, health and the environment in the last 12 years, his research group is at the forefront of fungal research in the country. Dela Cruz has conducted research fellowships in Germany, Austria, China, and the United States. He holds a rank of Professor 5, the youngest in the University to be given such honor.