UST, USP mark 5th joint symposium

The decade-old collaboration between the University of Santo Tomas and the University of Shiga Prefecture, Japan was celebrated with the 5th UST-USP Joint Symposium on August 14, 2023, via hybrid mode at the Central Laboratory Auditorium.

This symposium, with the theme “Updates on Freshwater Ecology and Wildlife Parasitology,” is a testament of the long-standing collaboration of University of Santo Tomas and University of Shiga Prefecture, Japan.

The onsite and online participants were welcomed by the College of Science Dean Prof. Rey Donne S. Papa, Ph.D. He shared how the collaboration between the two institutions has been strengthened over time.

The symposium was officially opened by Prof. Naoshige Goto, Ph.D., Chair of the Department of Ecosystem Studies, School of Environmental Science, University of Shiga Prefecture. He expressed his support and excitement for this year’s installment of UST-USP joint symposium since the COVID-19 pandemic restricted the previous symposium to an online platform. Furthermore, Mr. Elfritzson M. Peralta provided a brief symposium history and overview.

Studies by the Japanese and Filipino researchers from the two collaborating institutions were highlighted. The morning session saw lectures from Assoc. Prof. Gregorio L. Martin I, Ph.D. of the UST Faculty of Pharmacy; Prof. Misako Urabe, Ph.D., a professor from the University of Shiga Prefecture; and Ms. Justine De Leon from the UST Department of Biological Sciences.

Martin presented his work on the “Fight against Fascioliasis”, which detailed his group’s research in investigating the biology and dynamics between its host and of the Fasciola parasite. Urabe highlighted her study on Lake Biwa, one of the oldest freshwater bodies in Asia with endemic and diverse fishes and its associated parasites. Meanwhile, De Leon shared their limnological studies in Lake Taal, Batangas.
            The afternoon session was composed of talks from Karin Tsuchida, Ph.D., from Kyoto University, Ms. Cyrille Villegas-Zubiri of the Aquatic Biology Laboratory of UST-RCNAS, and Mr. Kenneth Xavier O. Sanchez of the UST Department of Biological Sciences.

Tsuchida presented the biodiversity of Japanese salamanders and their corresponding parasites, investigating the systematics of both groups native and non-native species. Zubiri shared the various parasites infecting anuran populations of Lake Taal. Lastly, Sanchez presented the initial findings of their Project TroPaYan (Ecology of Cercarial Production in Tropical Freshwater Ecosystems: Host-Parasite Connections of Trematodes in the Cagayan River) and the importance of investigating parasite biodiversity research.

Dr. Reuel M. Bennett, Chair of the Department of Biological Sciences, closed the symposium by highlighting the takeaways and future directions of this regular joint symposium between UST and USP.

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