The Philippine Council for Health Research and Development of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST-PCHRD) funds a research which aims to develop a diagnostic kit for the detection of drug resistant Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV). Once made available in the market, this breakthrough technology will create a positive impact on the lives of people living with HIV not only in the Philippines but around the world.

“Having a test kit that will detect the resistance of HIV to drugs at the start of medical care allows doctors to decide on the best treatment options for their patients,” explained Dr. Edsel Salvaña, Project Leader from the University of the Philippines National Institutes of Health (UPNIH) in the recent installment of the Talakayang HeaRTBeat series organized by the Philippine Council for Health Research and Development (PCHRD) of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) on 21 May 2019 at the Luxent Hotel, Quezon City.

As explained by Dr. Salvaña, the problem with HIV is it can become resistant to medication even at the start of treatment. This means some drugs may not work on the patient. Knowing the resistance of HIV to drugs is very crucial especially for our country where there is only a limited number of antiretroviral drugs (ARVs) available.

Another challenge in the process of HIV diagnosis is the availability of only two organizations in the country that can test for the virus – namely the UPNIH and the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM) – it takes a long time to get the results, and the cost of the test itself is quite expensive.

The research project of Dr. Salvaña focuses on the use of an automated DNA sequencing tool that can potentially help diagnose HIV resistant cases faster and at a lower cost. The ultimate goal is to produce a kit that is accessible, affordable, and world-class possibly by 2023.  “There is no cure yet (for HIV). Kung masyadong mahal (yung tools), edi ibababa natin yung cost para we can also take care of the Filipino patients,” he stressed.

As of the latest, 42 HIV cases were said to be reported daily in the Philippines, which is higher than the data recorded in the same period last year.

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Written by Jwynne Gwyneth Macan

Overview

The Department of Science and Technology – Philippine Council for Health Research and Development (PCHRD), the University of Trieste (UNITS) and Fondazione Italiana Fegato (FIF) hereby commit to enter into an Agreement for the development of a Fellowship program focused on molecular hepatology within the PhD Program in Molecular Biomedicine of UNITS. This Fellowship program integrates basic research and clinics focusing on the study of molecular approaches to cancer biology, genetics, jaundice and metabolic diseases. The duration of the program is for 3 years.

 Applicant’s research interests must be aligned with the National Unified Health Research Agenda (NUHRA) and National Harmonized Research and Development Agenda.

 Objectives

 The PhD program aims to achieve the following objectives:

  1. Develop a pool of high-quality human resources in molecular hepatology in particular who will contribute to the country’s global competitiveness and economic development;
  2. Provide opportunities to deserving students to study and obtain PhD degrees in Molecular Biomedicine in reputable institutions abroad;
  3. Contribute to the country’s health research and technological innovation capabilities through training on biomedical research;
  4. Create the basis for a Filipino Liver Network integrating basic and clinical research in liaison with FIF.

 Capacity

 Two positions of PhD students will be available each year.

 Eligibility

 The applicant must:

  1. Be a Filipino citizen;
  2. Be in good health condition;
  3. Not be more than 40 years old at the time of application;
  4. Hold a Master's degree in a field relevant to health and biomedicine;
  5. Have an outstanding academic record;
  6. Passed the admission requirements for the PhD study;
  7. Passed the interview and other screening procedures;
  8. Conduct her/his research for the entire duration of the scholarship and of the PhD Program.

 Scholarship Privileges

  1. Tuition and other University fees;
  2. Living allowance;
  3. Book allowance;
  4. Bench fee;
  5. Insurance (occurring whilst carrying out the PhD activity);
  6. One round-trip economy fare from residence to place of study

Selection Procedure

1st Selection

Document Screening

Documentary evaluation of the form and other requirements by DOST-PCHRD

2nd Selection

Technical Interview

Technical interview by a panel composed of DOST-PCHRD Director, FIF Scientific Director (or a FIF delegate), or a member of the PhD Program in Molecular Biomedicine of the UNITS, and other health research experts to assess:

·        Academic background and learning ability

·        Capacity for completing the study

·        Possibility of contributing to the development of the country

·        Compatibility to the university course

The interview will take place at DOST-PCHRD. The cost of the procedure will be covered by PCHRD.

3rd and Final Selection

A panel from the PhD Program in Molecular Biomedicine (UNITS) will identify the successful PhD student(s) from among the candidates selected in the Technical Interview, based on their academic records and the selection criteria as established by UNITS.

Timeline

 For 2019 the schedule will be indicatively as follows:

May 30

Opening of the PCHRD call for applications

June 20

Application deadline

June 20- July 30

Document Screening and Announcement of the selected candidate(s)

August - September

Preparation of necessary documents (visa, insurance, bank account)

November 1

Start of PhD program

List of Application Documents (Forms) for PCHRD screening

  1. CV
  2. Accomplished application form with ID picture
  3. PSA Birth Certificate
  4. Valid NBI Clearance
  5. Endorsement Letter from two (2) former professors in their MS program
  6. Certificate of Employment (if employed, recommendation and permission to take a leave of absence from employer or head of agency while on scholarship)
  7. Medical Certificate as to health status from a licensed physician with his/her PRC license number indicated
  8. Certificate of Master Degree
  9. Admission to Graduate Studies/Graduate School
  10. Transcript of Records (certified true copy)
  11. Program of Study/Course Curriculum (if available or to follow)
  12. Re-entry Plan (narrative)
  13. Budgetary Requirements

Documents must be submitted to:

Address: Saliksik Building, DOST Compound, Gen. Santos Ave., Bicutan Taguig City 1631 Philippines

Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 


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Written by Jessica Marie Suerte
 

27 MAY 2019 – Balik Scientist Dr. Christian T. Gloria pays courtesy visit to Dr. Jaime Montoya, Executive Director of the Philippine Council for Health Research and Development (PCHRD) of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST).

Dr. Gloria as an expert in public health and health education is currently hosted by Angeles University Foundation (AUF) in Pampanga.

Hailing from the University of Texas (UT) in Austin, he majored in Science for Health Promotion and Fitness. He also pursued his master’s degree for Health Education, and doctorate degree for health behavior and health education at the same university. As a student in UT, he also worked as a teaching and research assistant, then moved to Hawaii Pacific University (HPU) to pursue professorship. His pro bono works include leadership works for Bright Smiles Hawaii (BSH) and the Hawaii Public Association (HPHA).

Dr. Gloria will work in collaboration with PCHRD as a consultant on the current CHED-Discovery-Applied-Research specifically for mental health under the Balik Scientist Program (BSP). In line with his expertise on mental health, he prefers to focus on positive emotions and coping methods – which can potentially increase one’s resilience against stress. His expertise will greatly contribute to the development and implementation of programs that can further promote understanding on mental health in the country.

The DOST’s BSP aims to encourage Filipino scientists or experts who work abroad to come back to the Philippines and share their expertise here for the scientific, agro-industrial and economic progress of the country.

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Written by Jwynne Gwyneth Macan

Following the visit of the Philippine delegation to Iran, several opportunities were explored in the area of research and innovations. The visit presented the growth and the development of Iran in producing not only local technological innovations but local brands of high technology products as well.

It is envisioned to be beneficial if the Philippines, through the Department of Science and Technology (DOST), leverages on the existing MOU with Iran to learn from their experience on how to fast track the development of local R&D capabilities resulting to an accelerated technology transfer, specifically in the field of nanotechnology and biomedical research. Biomedical Engineering is now one of the fastest growing fields in Iran wherein they have developed breakthrough innovations in the field of prosthetics, robotic devices, and medical devices to cure sleep apnea. Moreover, pre-clinical studies for drug discovery research are among important aspects in translating the safety and efficacy of potential therapeutics prior to being administered to subjects in clinical trials, this is also part of the forum agenda. Aligned with the priority areas identified by the National Unified Health Research Agenda (NUHRA) of Philippine Council for Health Research and Development (PCHRD), DOST ensures recognition to the innovations which will be presented in the forum.   

Experts coming from Iran will conduct a series of activities in the Philippines, with a focus on enhancing the nanotechnology and biomedical research capacity in the country. There will be a forum on biomedical devices and drug discovery research to discuss the latest innovations from Iran and identify possible collaboration between the research community of Iran and the Philippines. The forum will be attended by local and international partners of DOST. 

The forum will provide a venue for information exchange and collaboration between the research community of Iran, the Philippines, and other countries.





Details
Written by Lemuel Basierto

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