Biotech Updates

Phil NAST Gives Award to Young Agriculture Scientists

July 16, 2010

The Philippine National Academy of Science and Technology (NAST) recently recognized two young scientists from the plant breeding and agricultural sciences for their significant contributions to their fields of expertise. Dr. Von Mark Cruz, plant breeder and geneticist, and Dr. Roel R. Suralta, agricultural scientist, were two of the eleven recipients of the 2010 Outstanding Young Scientists (OYS). The awarding ceremony was held last July 15, 2010 during the 32nd Annual Scientific Meeting of the NAST with the theme MDGs and Beyond: Are we making progress?

Dr. Cruz was recognized for his contributions in plant genetic resources conservation and management in the Philippines using molecular markers. He was also involved in the technology transfer of agri-biotechnology research and development projects, and was also instrumental in institutional capacities and public awareness on biotechnology in the country. Currently, Dr. Cruz continues his quest for science as Post-doctoral Research Geneticist at the USDA-ARS National Center for Genetic Resources Preservation (NCGRP) working on germplasm of Lesquerella, a promising industrial oilseed species in the Brassicaceae family.

Dr. Suralta of the Philippine Rice Research Institute was recognized for his research efforts on understanding the morphological, anatomical and physiological responses of rice roots to fluctuating stresses, drought and waterlogging, which led to development of screening procedures for mapping using associated quantitative trait loci (QTL). These identified QTLs are essential for efficient breeding in improving adaptability of high-yielding rice cultivars to fluctuating soil moisture conditions.

The NAST is the Philippine's premier advisory and recognition body on science and technology matters. Yearly, NAST recognizes outstanding young scientists below 40 years of age who have made significant contributions to science and technology, particularly in the fields of agricultural sciences; biological sciences; chemical, mathematical and physical sciences; engineering sciences and technology; health sciences and social sciences.

For more information about NAST, visit For updates on agri-biotechnology in the Philippines, visit or send email to