Olivia Erin Buenafe

Olivia “Oui” Buenafe’s research is focused on natural products chemistry with application
in drug development and she is presently involved in the Tuklas Lunas Project by PCHRD (Philippine Council for Health, Research, and Development) along with Dr. Fabian Dayrit, Dr. Nina Rosario Rojas, and Dr. Merab Chan. “We are looking into screening select plants such as turmeric and see if we could get any bioactives in there that could help mitigate degenerative diseases that come with ageing.” She graduated from the Ateneo de Manila University, Quezon City as the first straight BS/MS Chemistry graduate and obtained her doctorate degree from the Katholiek Universiteit Leuven.

Dr. Buenafe’s research experiences here and abroad made her more aware of the real essence of the word research. “You realize that the word research has two parts: ‘re’ and ‘search.’ You don’t usually get it right the first time, which is why it’s re-search. You have to search for [the answer] again. It’s not a direct thing. You have to try different ways in attacking the problem to come up with a solution.” She relates this to her experiences as a chemistry teacher in the Ateneo de Manila University: “…there’s no tried and tested way in going about teaching the different branches of chemistry. There are many different styles, and they all work. It just depends on who you’re teaching. It’s also not a one way thing. It goes both ways.” By giving her students what she knows, Oui gains insight about her interests and the students’ passions as well.

Like most researchers in the country, she hopes for greater visibility of studies done in the country. More importantly, she adds that studies and development of chemistry education is required for the cultivation of a culture of science in the Philippines. “Not just for the chemistry majors, but for the lay persons as well. A dream of a researcher is to be able to communicate to ordinary people about what they’re researching on especially in the field of chemistry, and most importantly in the field of drug discovery and research. Not just the technical persons in campus, but those outside as well, and how they would benefit from it.”

“I also do hand lettering in my spare moments. That’s how I de-stress,” the amateur calligrapher in her retorted. She sees the art form as both a hobby and an analogy to her classes. Whilst teaching analytical chemistry laboratory, she views precision in writing akin to laboratory practices. “Every stroke, every movement is deliberate.”

Submissions Open For The 2016 Reaxys PhD Prize

Recognizing the brightest young chemists of the future

New York, December 8, 2015, Elsevier, a world-leading provider of scientific, technical and medical information products and services, has announced that submissions are now open for the 2016 Reaxys PhD Prize. Now in its seventh year, the Reaxys PhD Prize is open to talented PhD students or recent graduates conducting original and innovative research in chemistry that demonstrates excellence in methodology and approach. Since its introduction in 2010, the Prize has nurtured advances in chemistry by giving young chemists worldwide who have produced truly ground breaking research the recognition and opportunities to both extend their network and share knowledge.

The 2016 Prize is open to any student who is either currently in a chemistry PhD program or who completed their PhD after January 1, 2015. To apply a candidate needs to submit a published, peer-reviewed article, a CV (resumé); and a letter of recommendation from their PhD supervisor. With previous winners from Asia, Europe and the Americas, the 2016 winners could come from anywhere in the world. Finalists for the Prize will join the Reaxys Prize Club, a unique, international network of chemists from all research areas and career paths which also provides travel bursaries for members to meet and study with one another. The finalists will receive personal and unlimited access to the rich content of Reaxys and Reaxys Medical Chemistry, and are invited to present their research at the Reaxys PhD Prize Symposium; where the three winners will each receive $2,000 in prize money.

The deadline for submissions is February 8, 2016. After this date, submissions will be reviewed for: originality, innovation, importance and applicability of the research; the rigor of approach and methodology; the quality and clarity of published work; and supporting evidence of these accomplishments from the recommendation letter and CV. This process is managed by a board of internationally renowned chemists. The board will subsequently select the 45 finalists. These finalists will be invited to attend the 2016 Reaxys PhD Prize Symposium, where all finalists will have the opportunity to meet and share their research.

Every year we are impressed by the quality of entries to the Reaxys PhD Prize, and I am sure 2016 will be no exception,” said Dr. David Evans, Scientific Affairs Director at Reed Elsevier Properties SA. “In six years we have received nearly 2500 submissions from across the globe. The Prize is an opportunity to identify and support some of the brightest minds in the youngest generation of research chemists, and entry to the PhD Prize Club, helps all 45 finalists network and share knowledge giving them a running start to their chemistry careers.

Read more about the 2016 Reaxys PhD Prize on Elsevier Connect. For more information about the Reaxys PhD Prize and to submit an entry, go to https://inspiringchemistry.reaxys.com/phdprize.

Reaxys empowers chemistry research and development by providing structure, property and reaction data, experimental procedures and literature. It is designed to support early drug discovery, education, material selection and synthesis planning; its capabilities include data export and integration to enable harmonized analysis of in-house and external data. Reaxys improves R&D productivity by delivering the facts the way chemists need them. For more information about Reaxys visit www.elsevier.com/reaxys.

About Elsevier

Elsevier is a world-leading provider of information solutions that enhance the performance of science, health, and technology professionals, empowering them to make better decisions, deliver better care, and sometimes make groundbreaking discoveries that advance the boundaries of knowledge and human progress. Elsevier provides web-based, digital solutions — among them ScienceDirectScopusElsevier Research Intelligence and ClinicalKey— and publishes over 2,500 journals, including The Lancet and Cell, and more than 33,000 book titles, including a number of iconic reference works. Elsevier is part of RELX Group plc, a world-leading provider of information solutions for professional customers across industries. www.elsevier.com.

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Soma Chakraborty

IMG_1864_1 copy“I always want to give to my students. Students here are willing to absorb new knowledge, and takes on the challenge.” Dr. Chakraborty affirmed. Let’s face it, not all teachers will have this frame of mind. Dr. Chakraborty, or Doc Soma as known by her students and peers, has been with the Ateneo chemistry department for nearly 10 years. She says that as a professor of chemistry, she always has a good experience with students in the classroom and in the laboratory. She hopes to see more Filipino scientists gaining visibility in the international research arena. She suggests that apart from exploring the scientific research topics that has been adequately studied by other researchers, they can also focus on the challenging projects related to natural resources(products) to draw the attention of scientists from the other parts of the world and to establish an unique identity.

Professor Soma Chakraborty finished her masters in the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) in Delhi and later her doctorate degree in the Polytechnic University, New York and post-doctoral fellowship from Columbia University, New York. Working in different aspects of polymers, her research focus is the synthesis, and modification of polymer-based materials as vehicles for controlled release for drug delivery. She is known in the department for the extensive study on crosslinked ε-caprolactone (ε-CL) based nanoparticles and hydrogels with enzyme catalysts to yield completely biocompatible products. Other studies on ε-CL include polymer architecture by using co-monomers to alter the tertiary structure of nanoparticles. She is equally interested in the fabrication of molecularly imprinted polymers (MIP) for more efficient isolation of targeted natural products in collaboration with the other researchers in the department including Dr. Fabian Dayrit. Chitosan which is commonly found in the carapace of arthropods is used for such application.

When not in the daily grind of teaching and research, Doc Soma unwinds from stress by painting, dancing, cooking or simply grabbing a good book to read.

The Family that Cared for Richard Heck

By Fabian M. Dayrit, PhD.

Richard F. Heck

Unfortunately the portrayal of the events prior to the death of Prof. Heck is incomplete. It’s not true that he died without being cared for. Let me share with you some details that will hopefully give you a better picture of the situation. I am writing this to honor his memory, to show gratitude for his family, and to correct the news that he was not cared for. Richard Heck did have a family that cared for him until his death.

I first met with Prof. Heck a few days after the announcement of his Nobel award in 2010. The Integrated Chemists of the Philippines was organizing the 26th Philippine Chemistry Congress in April 2011, so he would have been a great plenary speaker. We found him living in a modest home in the Tandang Sora area. He had completely retired from Chemistry and had been out of touch with things for over 10 years already. He also suffered from dementia and so did not want to talk science, but was happy to inspire the young. We arranged to have some of our MS Chem students interview him at his home.

At that time, he was almost completely dependent on his wife, Socorro, and his nephew, Michael Nardo. He was also very much attached to Michael’s child. He seemed happy with his simple life. It was also clear that he had no family to go back to in the US so this was his home.

Prof. Heck brought his family along to our chemistry congress in Cebu. We arranged for him to have a session with the student participants in the annual Chemistry quiz contest for high school students, an event which he enjoyed.

Socorro was many years younger than Richard (almost 20 years, I think), and so I was surprised and saddened when she passed away two years ago. Richard’s care fell to the hands of Mike.

People ask about the financials and what has happened to his share of the Nobel funds. I am guessing that Socorro, like all Filipina wives, probably took care of managing the funds. Certainly, I don’t think that Richard would have been in any condition to manage it properly. So when she passed away suddenly, I don’t know if any of the financial information and legal papers would have been attended to. I don’t know if Mike has knowledge of how to manage the legal situation since Heck is a US citizen and Mike is not a “next of kin”.

The Nardos are a family with modest means so it was a big burden for them to take over the care of Richard with the many medical complications that had come up. All they had was Heck’s $2,500 pension and a US insurance company that was delayed in its payments to the hospital. Mike told me that they had to sell their car to raise more funds for Richard’s care. From Mike’s description of Heck’s condition, it’s possible that Alzheimer’s may have been setting in as well.

The first day of the wake on Saturday, October 10, was assigned to the Philippine chemistry societies. I was at the wake in the afternoon when the GMA news crew was interviewing the two caregivers. The reporter was obviously more interested in the news angle that Heck had been abandoned. We asked them whether they wanted to interview others who were also at the wake (Dr. Alvin Culaba, VP of DLSU, and Drs. Armand and Odette Guidote were also there at the time) but they were satisfied with the story line that they got from the caregivers. This was also the story that came out in Rappler.

In addition to the family, we should also be thankful to De La Salle for welcoming Richard to their academic community and for providing for the wake expenses. I am sure that this added to the joy of his final years.

Richard Heck did have a family that cared for him.


About the author: Dr. Dayrit is an Academician of the National Academy of Science & Technology (Philippines). He is a Professor of Chemistry, Ateneo de Manila University, and the current president of the Integrated Chemists of the Philippines.

Ateneo’s Chemistry Department Chair

By Mark Adam Ferry

jmdJose Mario M. Diaz is appointed chair of the Ateneo de Manila chemistry department, a diverse academic unit dedicated to the pursuit of excellence in research and teaching. Diaz pleased and excited on this opportunity, is looking forward to continue Ateneo’s research tradition and to further the conversation on issues germane to teaching and research.

“Faculty staff in foreign universities has less teaching hour responsibilities, and more time to do research.” Diaz, lamented. Managing teaching and research on top of a boat load of paperwork, limited research materials and equipment seemed to be on a collision course to his targeted goals –but nothing that an engineer cannot handgrip.

Diaz completed his master’s degree in metallurgical engineering from the University of the Philippines (Diliman) and his doctorate degree in Materials Engineering from Tokyo University. His core focus areas on material science include research on plasma processing and composite. “We utilize the fourth state of matter in modifying surfaces of materials to make new materials”. An example is the enhancement of polymer-based surfaces using plasma for better surface adhesion. At present, Diaz is looking at a new direction into composites by utilizing various fibers as reinforcement. For instance, naturally-procured fibers derived from pineapple leaves were modified to have flame-retardant properties. He is collaborating with Dr. Erwin Enriquez in a PICARI (Philippines-California Advanced Research Institute) research project on modifying raw materials via plasma processing in sensitized photovoltaic cells. “At various fabrication stages of the cells, we are trying to include plasma processing to clean surfaces and to improve performance,” Diaz added.

The chemistry department has clearly begun bracing the expected difficulties and challenges that lies ahead from the K-12 implementation. “I hope to see a smoother transition from secondary to tertiary education, but I expect it’s going to be turbulent. We’ll see mismatches with the expectations of the tertiary level with what the secondary education is producing.” Diaz added.

Like most newbie administrators, he is optimistic to see changes in the educational system including a smoother transition from the academe to the industry and a clearer career paths for chemistry majors. Diaz is pleased that Ateneo has a mechanism to support financially, faculty who are just starting to setup their research. He is optimistic to see more faculty involved in research and less on teaching or administrative work.

On occasions when his conscious and subconscious mind is not occupied with the fourth state of matter, Diaz loves being a plain dad and spends time with his wife and three kids.

Academician and Professor Emeritus Fortunato Sevilla, III: Sketches from ‘España’

by Carlos P. Garcia

Miles Davis’ 1960 landmark album Sketches from Spain, one of his most enduring composition, evoked an aspiration of music in vibrant flamenco colors that conceptually, one’s prospect of painting that music narrative, would not seemed possible. Fortunato Sevilla’s forty five-year tenure at Santo Tomas was widely recognized for his scholarship and commitment to the advancement of chemistry. Several dispatch carried the news of his conferment. But all of these is a matter of unrestricted communal knowledge. Since then, I have not read a more personal sketch in the many public tribute to him for, as with the complexity of Davis’ music narrative, I am not sure it is possible.

Without doubt Sevilla deserves tributes from those who had the privilege of either having been his students or his colleagues in the chemistry profession. Perhaps never been made, I will disclose a more thoughtful narrative of how the teacher and the mentor evolved against the backdrop of this University from this end of España Boulevard.

Almost fifty summers ago, when a young Fortunato Sevilla, III decided to enter Santo Tomas to take up chemistry, nobody expected, Sevilla least of all, that someday the University will acknowledge his leading role and contribution to the development of research and education at Santo Tomas. Yet, Professor Sevilla was for many decades one of the most celebrated teaching figures here at Santo Tomas. This recognition of his distinguished career, not only in this university which regards him to be among its most valued assets, but in the chemistry profession as a whole. Rev. Fr. Herminio V. Dagohoy, O.P., Rector of the University of Santo Tomas declared no one is more deserving of today’s recognition than Professor Sevilla. “His selfless dedication to the University is nothing short of legendary,” A litany of achievement follows:

Fortunato Sevilla, III

“Whereas, he has displayed sustained excellence in teaching, rendered distinguished administrative service and played an active role in promoting the growth of research in the University;
Whereas, he has made significant contributions as a researcher in the field of chemical sensors and biosensors,
Whereas, he has maintained a productive interest in the improvement of chemistry education in the country and
Whereas, he has rendered exemplary service contributing his expertise to the development of higher education and research in the field of chemistry in the country.”

Sevilla, the Restrained Teacher

Just as Sevilla’s students did more than forty years ago, Cynthia Uriquia-Talens and Corazon Sacdalan (Chemistry, 1981) also praised his boundless charm. Sacdalan quips, “(Sevilla) inspires all who come into his presence to stand taller—that is, to be their very best.” Talens who is presently in the doctoral program, added that even a short conversation with him consulting about the feasibility of a dissertation topic would snow balled into a full blown collaboration; a testament to his perpetual curiosity on matters of research inquiry.

Professor Rosalito De Guzman’s (BS Gen, 1970; Psychology, 1971) first encounter with Sevilla was when he joined the College of Science as a junior teaching staff in 1971. “Many professors I recall fondly come from the chemistry department who taught us to think well, were themselves unforgettable personalities.” De Guzman was appointed administrative Secretary of the College of Science (1978-1984) upon the recommendation of then Psychology department chair Prof. Angelina Ramirez and Assistant Dean Trinidad Ames. At the time of his appointment, there was a full blown rift between the Dean’s administration and the chemistry professors, who felt stung by what they viewed as unfair College policies. De Guzman recalled that Sevilla was anything but restrained in those days, he was quite vocal on the issue. De Guzman saw this as an opportunity to take time to know more the chemistry staff some of whom became close colleagues; Lilian De Jesus-Sison (Chemistry, 1968), Miroan Sy (Chemistry, 1966), Lourdes Eustaquio, Lourdes Chavez, and Susan Jardiolin (Chemistry, 1969) to name a few.

Sevilla, the Analytical Chemist

Sevilla taught mainly Analytical chemistry at the UST Graduate School. However, his teaching repertoire is deeply entrenched in Physical and Organic chemistry. Teaching undergraduate physical chemistry can be traced from Dean Mariano Pangan and Professor Estrella Rivera who taught the course before him. De Guzman’s recollection of Rivera’s teaching style, was her competence to derive formulas and the absence to inject humor in her lectures. “The class was quite insipid.” De Guzman recalled.

Rivera’s sudden demise mid-semester of 1974, during Alice Aguinaldo’s physical chemistry lecture class, left a gaping hole in the teaching roster of the department. Sevilla picked up from where Rivera left and continued to teach the course until 1983 before he left for Manchester. The early eighties was a period when physical chem became one of the most dreaded courses to chemistry majors. The number of failing students at the end of each semester is short of horrific. But it was also an era in Sevilla’s teaching career that became one of his best, turning out many bright students, many of whom went into either teaching or research. This was no doubt due to the diligence of Sevilla as a teacher.

“Sevilla was one of two who represented Santo Tomas to attend the 1969 seminar on a Molecular Approach in the Teaching of Organic Chemistry organized by Prof. Clara Y. Lim-Sylianco.” Lilian Sison (Chemistry, 1968) recollected. The seminar was intended to assist organic chemistry teachers who are in transition of teaching the course from pure memory work to a molecular orbital approach in explaining reaction mechanisms -and thus began affection to teach Organic chemistry. This incursion with organic chemistry similarly took Sevilla to teach Organic Analysis to chemistry majors. The design of the laboratory component for this coursework is purely his own. It was at this stage when organic spectroscopy, then a sprouting new field, was assimilated in the curriculum.

The Organic Chemistry Teacher’s Association (OCTA) sprout out of this 1969 seminar. Sevilla was one of the original co-founders of the organization and his contributions to OCTA, then a fledging organization have been wide and deep. From assisting in the founding of an organization that afforded teachers a venue to regularly update themselves in organic chemistry, to building a network component of chemistry educators to include Professors Lillian Sison, University of the Philippines’ Angelita Reyes and Far Eastern University’s Consorcia Mendoza-Empaynado (Chemistry, 1954), to name a few. These personalities will become key administrators in their respective universities in the years to come.

Sevilla, the Thomasian

Fortunato Sevilla, III (b. 1947) had his primary school to collegiate education at Santo Tomas, culminating with a degree in chemistry in 1968, Summa cum Laude.
A British Council scholarship afforded him to pursue graduate studies in the United Kingdom. Masters and doctoral degrees in Instrumentation and Analytical Science from the University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology (UMIST) was completed 1984 and 1987, respectively.

Unknown to most people, there is a tinge of Blue Eagle blood running in his veins. Shortly after graduation, in a chance visit at Ateneo, Sevilla was asked if he was interested to take the graduate entrance examinations, scheduled on that same day. He took the bait, and passed it, without fanfare.

In Ateneo, he established himself as one of the best students, completing all course requirements with high distinction. He did a semester of coursework before he decided to apply for a teaching stint back at Santo Tomas. He reminisced it was such a physically demanding effort considering the daily grind of traveling from Espana to Loyola Heights, whilst maintaining a regular teaching load at Santo Tomas. But all these was quite worth it, for he has high regards to the professors he was fortunate to meet: Modesto Chua, Amando Kapauan and Fr. William J. Schmidt, S.J., to namedrop a few. Short of completing the degree because of thesis research, he was particularly amused to recall his oral comprehensive examinations when his examiners ran out of questions for him and had to teasingly shoo him away.

Sevilla, the Administrator

To Sevilla’s colleagues, he had already established for himself a formidable reputation for being an effectual administrator (Assistant to the Rector for Research and Development, 2000-2002; Dean, College of Science, 2002-2008). His absolute commitment and competence with which he has unceasingly conducted every aspect of his administration, and his unflagging advocacy on behalf of the development of faculty members are hallmarks of his tenure.

“Failure to sketch him as a private persona is certainly due to the fact that he is quite reserved, even to his closest colleagues,” quips Alice Aguinaldo (Chemistry, 1976) to whom I pointed out this observation. Aguinaldo knew nothing personal about him even after six years of working side by side with him as his assistant dean in the College of Science. She added, “…it appears it is always strictly business when you’re dealing with him (Sevilla), but I think, that is just his style. In the many years that I worked with him, I never, not even once, saw him lost his cool, or raised his voice to someone.” Aguinaldo was right.

“The only opportunity we (sort of) had a peek into his personal life was when he invited me and Prof. Alice Maranon, who was then the department Chair, to drive by his home in Quezon City.” It was the night right after they visited the wake of the son of Asst. Prof. Carmen Gaerlan-Morales (Chemistry, 1962). “It was so unexpected. He appeared to be very accommodating and even showed us his bedroom…the inner Sanctum. I guess, everyone in the department was in a reflective mood, if not dazed with the unexpected demise of Morales’ son, and that could be his way to vent out his sentiments.” Aguinaldo remembered.

Sevilla, the Researcher

Sevilla’s early roots in research is attributed to his high regards for his mentors. His undergraduate research advisor, Dr. Estella Zamora (Chemistry, 1954) came to mind as he fondly remembers her. “She returned to UST with a doctoral degree from Germany. She was immensely confident and did her thing very competently”. Nevertheless, he lamented that in those days, there is scarcity of role model teachers to lure students to pursue graduate degrees. Perhaps this is the same rabbit hole he fell into and that is why it took him sixteen years to seriously take a study leave to pursue doctoral degree.

His early foray as an undergraduate thesis advisor dealt with topics that sprung out of serendipitous observations in the laboratory. Leah Tolosa (Chemistry, 1981), presently the Assistant Director for the Center for Advanced Sensor Technology Research (CAST) of the University of Maryland (Baltimore), did her undergraduate thesis with Sevilla. They examined the kinetic solvent effects on the reaction of 2,4-dinitrochlorobenzene with N-methylaniline, revealing Sevilla’s initial interest in organic chemistry. “Fortune (Sevilla) has been one of the most influential mentors in my life. The topic of my undergrad thesis still reflects on my current projects, 35 years later! It’s simply amazing.” Tolosa added. Deeply engaged, at times critical, Sevilla influenced many students which to date, amounted to roughly close to a hundred research articles collaborations.

He returned to Santo Tomas in 1986 to begin a then-unconventional life as a teacher, researcher and administrator—and in a scientific realm when Santo Tomas was hardly being treated seriously by the three rival universities. As Director of the Research Center for the Natural Sciences (1987-2000), he distinguished himself to having an eyeball on a single prize, make UST known in the national research circle. This poised to be a difficult exploit as, in those days, Santo Tomas is a bit reserved in joining national research conferences, even though there exist a confident research practice particularly in Natural Products within the campus.

Then commence a period of full participation in oral and poster presentation in national professional conferences together with a stream of co-sponsored international seminars. It was a decision that was unprecedented, which opened up university research to be known elsewhere. He delivered his promise and did not disappoint his researchers.

Much is owed to this Academician, mentor and gracious colleague who has made myriad contributions to the conservancy of our university’s great heritage in teaching and research. Professor Sevilla’s distinguished contributions to the institution he has loved and served and his “perpetual curiosity and engagement” with the world around him is forever etched in our collective imagination.

The Hague Ethical Guidelines

Applying the Norms of the Practice of Chemistry to Support the Chemical Weapons Convention

The responsible practice of chemistry improves the quality of life of humankind and the environment. Through their many peaceful uses, such as in research and industry, chemicals play an essential role in this improvement. However, some chemicals can also be used as chemical weapons or to create them, and these weapons are among the most horrific in the world.

The 1993 Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) embodies the powerful international norm against chemical weapons, requiring its States Parties “never under any circumstances: (a) To develop, produce, otherwise acquire, stockpile or retain chemical weapons, or transfer, directly or indirectly, chemical weapons to anyone; (b) To use chemical weapons; (c) To engage in any military preparations to use chemical weapons; (d) To assist, encourage or induce, in any way, anyone to engage in any activity prohibited to a State Party under this Convention.” The task of destroying the world’s declared stockpiles of chemical weapons is close to completion, but the threats that the use of chemicals as weapons pose to global security have not yet been eliminated.

As destruction of the remaining chemical weapons continues, a concerted effort is needed to prevent their re-emergence. This includes training and raising awareness among chemistry practitioners, defined as anyone trained in chemistry as well as others dealing with or handling chemicals. Their support is needed so that production and use of chemicals is accompanied by recognition of the responsibility to ensure that they are applied solely for peaceful and beneficial purposes. Fortunately, ethical standards established by the global chemistry community already provide a foundation. Building on that foundation, a group of experts from 24 countries from all regions of the world convened to define and harmonize key elements of ethical guidelines as they relate to chemical weapons based on existing codes.*

Such codes are primary ways through which the community’s ethical standards are addressed. The key elements presented in this text should be incorporated into new and existing codes in order to align with the provisions of the CWC. A code need not mention chemical weapons or the CWC to support its basic goals, and provisions may need to be tailored for particular sectors or circumstances, while still reflecting the fundamental values. Taken together, “The Hague Ethical Guidelines” provide the key elements that should be applied universally.

The Key Elements

Core element. Achievements in the field of chemistry should be used to benefit humankind and protect the environment.

Sustainability. Chemistry practitioners have a special responsibility for promoting and achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals of meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.

Education. Formal and informal educational providers, enterprise, industry and civil society should cooperate to equip anybody working in chemistry and others with the necessary knowledge and tools to take responsibility for the benefit of humankind, the protection of the environment and to ensure relevant and meaningful engagement with the general public.

Awareness and engagement. Teachers, chemistry practitioners, and policymakers should be aware of the multiple uses of chemicals, specifically their use as chemical weapons or their precursors. They should promote the peaceful applications of chemicals and work to prevent any misuse of chemicals, scientific knowledge, tools and technologies, and any harmful or unethical developments in research and innovation. They should disseminate relevant information about national and international laws, regulations, policies and practices.

Ethics. To adequately respond to societal challenges, education, research and innovation must respect fundamental rights and apply the highest ethical standards. Ethics should be perceived as a way of ensuring high quality results in science.

Safety and Security. Chemistry practitioners should promote the beneficial applications, uses, and development of science and technology while encouraging and maintaining a strong culture of safety, health, and security.

Accountability. Chemistry practitioners have a responsibility to ensure that chemicals, equipment and facilities are protected against theft and diversion and are not used for illegal, harmful or destructive purposes. These persons should be aware of applicable laws and regulations governing the manufacture and use of chemicals, and they should report any misuse of chemicals, scientific knowledge, equipment and facilities to the relevant authorities.

Oversight. Chemistry practitioners who supervise others have the additional responsibility to ensure that chemicals, equipment and facilities are not used by those persons for illegal, harmful or destructive purposes.

Exchange of information. Chemistry practitioners should promote the exchange of scientific and technical information relating to the development and application of chemistry for peaceful purposes.

Endorsed by

Professor Muhamad Abdulkadir (Indonesia) Professor Jasim Uddin Ahmad (Bangladesh) Professor Abeer Al-Bawab (Jordan)
Professor Fernando Albericio Palomera (Spain) Professor Jan Apotheker (The Netherlands)
Professor Mahdi Balali-Mood (Islamic Republic of Iran) Professor Djafer Benachour (Algeria)
Dr Mark Cesa (United States of America) Professor Al-Nakib Chowdhury (Bangladesh) Dr Philip Coleman (South Africa)
Professor Dr Hartmut Frank (Germany) Professor David Gonzalez (Uruguay)
Professor Alastair Hay (United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland) Mr Steven Hill (United States of America)
Professor Dr Henning Hopf (Germany)
Dr Jo Husbands (United States of America) Professor Jorge Guillermo Ibañez Cornejo (Mexico) Mr Amirhossein Imani (Islamic Republic of Iran)
Dr Nancy Jackson (United States of America) Dr Patrick John Lim (Philippines)
Professor Mohd Jamil Maah (Malaysia) Dr Detlef Maennig (Germany)
Professor Peter Mahaffy (Canada) Dr Robert Mathews (Australia)
Professor Temechegn Engida (Ethiopia)
Dr Kabrena Rodda (United States of America) Dr Ting Kueh Soon (Malaysia)
Professor Alejandra Graciela Suarez (Argentina) Professor Leiv K. Sydnes (Norway)
Mr Cheng Tang (China)
Professor Natalia P. Tarasova (Russian Federation)
Dr Christopher Timperley (United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland) Dr Hans-Georg Weinig (Germany)
Dr Prashant Yajnik (India)
Dr Muhammad Zafar-Uz-Zaman (Pakistan) Professor Zuriati Binti Zakaria (Malaysia)
Mr Muhammad Setyabudhi Zuber (Indonesia)

*“Code” is used as a general term and includes the full range of such documents, from aspirational statements such as the Hippocratic Oath to codes that are enforceable, for example as part of a practitioner’s terms of employment.

A Forum on the Proposed Implementing Rules and Regulations of the Chemistry Profession Act (RA 10657)

DATE: 31 July 2015 (Friday)
TIME: 8AM to 12PM: Forum for Industry and Government
1PM to 5PM: Forum for Academe
VENUE: Multi-purpose Hall, PNP Camp Crame, EDSA, Quezon City

The Chemistry Profession Act (RA 10657) was signed into law on March 27, 2015. The Board of Chemistry, in cooperation with the Integrated Chemists of the Philippines, is inviting chemistry-related institutions, such as chemical laboratories, universities, and commercial entities, to attend this Forum on the proposed IRR for RA 10657.

Registration, comments and suggestions should be emailed by July 28 to: integratedchemists@gmail.com.
Registration fee for each half-day session: PHP 300 (to be paid on-site)
(Note: snacks and handouts are included; lunch is not included)

IRR (Draft 8)
Code of Ethics (Version 6)
Comment Form

In Pursuit of Knowledge: The Life of Dr. Gilbert Yu

By Charlene Tiausas

Professor Yu speaks in analogies. This is one of the more frequent observations discussed among his students. For the past few months, his lectures often included examples like noodles, door knobs, clays, among other things, to complement a complex concept. He immediately jumps to examples rather than dwell on generic definition. He emphasizes—more than anything—the need for the students to recognize the step-by-step story behind a certain phenomenon and not simply “settle” for the robotic motions of a plug-in-and-play formula. These certain quirks make even the simplest lectures effective. In an interview, Professor Yu implicitly reveals that this style of teaching has been a product of the many experiences he had with teaching, and also by being a student for the majority of his life.

Gilbert Yu

Born in 1978, Yu spent the majority of his pre-college years studying in Uno High School, a famous Filipino-Chinese school based in Manila.

Part of the pioneering batch, he took up BS Management of Applied Chemistry in Ateneo de Manila University. He particularly notes that the rest of his time not spent studying was dedicated to tutoring students as a part-time job. He remembers tutoring students in Chemistry and in Mathematics. While that took most of his time, he grew grateful for these experiences as these very much helped him gain the skills that would later on persuade him to teach after college.

Upon reaching the end of his undergraduate studies in 2000, Yu, while having taken up Management, decided to focus more on studying the sciences. His want of knowledge later on paved way for more years spent on education.

Needing more units to qualify in taking the board examinations, Yu had to take up a Master’s degree in Chemistry. Yu took his Master’s degree in Ateneo while taking a part-time job teaching Chemistry undergraduate students. This led him to graduate later than expected as he tried to juggle his teaching job, laboratory and thesis revision work. He conducted a research involving a more industrial take on Chemistry about a pigment additive in paints. He received his Master’s degree from Ateneo in 2005.

Deeming his Master’s degree still not enough yet to satiate his “raw” attitude towards chemistry, he travelled to Ontario, Canada and took another graduate study in McMaster University. This time, he studied chemistry in a more medically-focused context. His research focused on a possibility of making cross-linked silicone gels using a click chemistry reaction. He finished his Master’s degree in 2008, then eventually returned to the Philippines for a short time to teach in Ateneo once again.

By this time, Yu decided that “there was no going back.” Having practiced Chemistry for so long, he finally felt ready to take his PhD. With the help of people who believed in his capability to pursue a Doctorate degree and his determined mindset, Yu went off to Tokyo Institute of Technology in Japan in 2009. There, he explored in his research the role of Intermolecular Forces or Physical bonds in reactions of chemical compounds.

Yu finished his studies within the span of three years. He decided to stay in Japan to continue his laboratory work and accomplish some post-doctorate studies. On March 2014, Yu returned to the Philippines, arriving just in time to teach Chemistry undergraduate students for summer classes.

With most of his life dedicated to studying Chemistry, Yu expects that he would most likely stay in the Philippines for quite some time after experiencing “travel fatigue.” He tells that he had studied so much that he thought that it was time to focus on other parts of life. While he is still foreseeing possible research collaborations in the future, Yu is currently enjoying teaching and spending time re-acquainting himself with hobbies he lost track of during his studies. He plans on putting his Management degree skills to use once again and dreams of starting up a business. While plans of the future are at hand, he says that he has found solace in teaching as it seemed almost innate in him after taking part in it for so long. He liked getting ideas across to his students as much as they give him possible ideas for research and new takes on Chemistry concepts.

It is true, he imparts, that science encounters failure 99% of the time as many factors come into play. He cites his experiences in Chemistry as a continuous strife for that 1% chance of success, which can only be achieved if one learns from their own failures. His persistence over gaining appreciation of Chemistry gave him insights about life that can never be unlearned. In teaching students, he hopes to spark a similar reaction—one that will encourage further recognition and interest in Chemistry in the younger generations.

5th National Children’s On-the-Spot Chemistry Poster Making Competition Winners

By Edward Santos

In line with the objective of raising awareness in chemistry at a young age, the Philippine Federation of Chemistry Societies recently concluded its 5th National Children’s On-the-Spot Chemistry Poster Making Competition. This year, 12 universities from around the country hosted the elimination round of the contest. The following universities functioned as host schools:

  1. Ateneo de Davao University
  2. Ateneo de Manila University
  3. Central Luzon State University
  4. Central Philippine University
  5. De La Salle University
  6. Mindanao State University- IIT
  7. Silliman University
  8. University of the Philippines- Diliman
  9. University of the Philippines- Los Baños
  10. University of San Carlos
  11. University of Santo Tomas
  12. Xavier University

The contest is open to students from Grade 4-7 from public and private schools. They were given 2 hours and 30 minutes to create a poster having the theme “Chemistry and the ASEAN.” Every host school selected three (3) local winners, each winning PHP 2,000.00 and these winners automatically qualified for the national award. The board of judges for the national award consisted of Armand Guidote, Ph.D. (President, PFCS), Nick Tan (ICP, St. Scholastica’s College), Karen Santiago, Ph.D. (UST), and Danne Halzey Mantilla (DLS-College of St. Benilde). Vince Andrei Reyes (Holy Cross College) won first place, Angelica Torniado (M. Agoncillo Elementary School) won second place, while Gyla Jane Nismal (Sto. Domingo Elementary School) won third place.

Vince Andrei Reyes (Holy Cross College) FIRST PLACE

Vince Andrei Reyes
(Holy Cross College)

Angelica Torniado (M. Agoncillo Elementary School) SECOND PLACE

Angelica Torniado
(M. Agoncillo Elementary School)

Gyla Jane Nismal (Sto. Domingo Elementary School) THIRD PLACE

Gyla Jane Nismal
(Sto. Domingo Elementary School)

The awarding of the national winners will take place on April 15-17, 2015 at Ateneo de Davao University, during the 30th Philippine Chemistry Congress. Vince Andrei will be receiving PHP 7,000.00 cash prize, and round trip airfare for him and his coach to Davao together with accommodation. The 2nd and 3rd place winners will be receiving PHP 5,000.00 and PHP 3,000.00, respectively.

The 5th installment of the poster making competition was headed by Glenn Alea (DLSU), in partnership with C&E Publishing, Inc., CHEMREZ Technologies, Shell, and Boysen.