By Jan Patrick Calupitan
Dr. Marites P. Melancon, a US-based scientist, visited Philippine universities and research institutions last March 15 to Apr. 14, 2014 to share her expertise, strengthen research linkages, and generously conducted workshop-seminars. Dr. Melancon is an Assistant Professor in the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center where she specializes on developing novel diagnostic and therapeutic agents for cancer therapy based on nanotechnology. Nanotechnology is research field focusing on materials in the nanometer scale. At this level, materials have new emergent properties that promise a wired range of applications in medicine, energy, computer science and information technology.
Dr. Melancon gave lectures in the University of San Carlos, De La Salle University, Ateneo de Manila University, and The Medical City on nanotechnology-based innovations in the biomedical field. These include simultaneous detection and therapy of cancer using gold and magnetic nanostructures. She also facilitated a workshop on the synthesis of nanostructures at the Ateneo de Manila University on April 3 and 4, 2014. Participants learned the basics of making magnetic gold nanoparticles, which they used to image cancer cells. Researchers, medical doctors, and faculty members from The Medical City, University of the Philippines – Diliman, University of the Philippines – Los Baños, and Ateneo de Manila University benefited from the talk. “There are many opportunities for research in the biomedical field here in the Philippines,” she quoted in one of her lecture talks.
Dr. Melancon graduated bachelors in Chemistry from the University of San Carlos, MS Chemistry from the Ateneo de Manila University, and PhD in Biomedical Science from the University of Texas Health Science Center in Houston, Texas. Besides her numerous journal publications, she won several research awards, including the Specialized Programs of Research Excellence from the National Institutes of Health. She is presently a reviewer of various specialized journals in biomedicine, medical physics, and nanomedicine.
Besides having a hectic schedule in her visit to the country, she was able to attend the Philippine Chemistry Congress in Naga City on April 9-11, 2014 where she gave a presentation on polymeric materials. Her research visit made possible through the Balik Scientist Program of the Department of Science and Technology – Philippine Council for Industry, Energy, and Emerging Technology Research and Development (PCIEERD), which was hosted by the Chemistry Department of the Ateneo de Manila University thru Dr. Erwin P. Enriquez.