Famous Filipino Biologists and their Contributions

Although there are little opportunities for biologists in the Philippines, many Filipinos still pursued a career in the biological sciences. Many of them took advance studies abroad and returned home to serve our country. Through the years, many Filipino biologists became famous for their significant contributions in the field of biology. They used their expertise in developing our local industries, preserving our natural resources, increasing agricultural production, saving biodiversity, and improving the lives of our poor countrymen. Let us meet some of our famous biologists and learn their significant contributions to the field of biology and to our beloved country.

Carmen C. Velasquez

Education:

  • B.S. in Zoology, University of the Philippines (1934)
  • M.S. in Zoology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor (1937)
  • Ph.D. in Parasitology, University of the Philippines (1954)

Awards and Recognitions:

  • National Scientist Award
  • American Men and Women of Science
  • International Scholars’ Directory
  • International Who’s Who of Intellectuals
  • World Who’s’ Who of Women

Significant Contributions

  • She discovered new species of parasitic nematodes and trematodes in several species of fishes.
  • She published more than 40 pioneering research studies on parasitology, public health, aquaculture management, and conservation.

Eduardo Quisumbing

Education:

  • B.S. in Agriculture, University of the Philippines Los Baños (1918)
  • M.S., in University of the Philippines Los Baños (1921)
  • Ph.D. in Plant Taxonomy, Systematics and Morphology (1923)

Awards and Recognitions:

  • Distinguished Service Star for outstanding contribution to the field of systematic botany (1954)
  • Diploma of Merit on Orchidology (1966)
  • Fellow Gold Medal from the Malaysian Orchid Society (1966)
  • PhilAAS Most Outstanding Award (1975)
  • Gold Medal from the American Orchid Society
  • Saccolabium quisumbingii was named in his honor

Significant Contributions

  • He published more than 100 scientific articles on the taxonomy and morphology of tropical orchids.
  • He published a book on Philippine medicinal plants.
  • He rebuilt the herbarium of the National Museum of the Philippines after the World War II.

Prescillano Zamora

Education:

  • B.S. in Agriculture, University of the Philippines (1960)
  • M.S.  in Agronomy, University of the Philippines (1964)
  • Ph.D. in Holiculture, Rutgers University (1966)

Awards and Recognitions:

  • UP Professorial Chair holder (1977-80)
  • National Science Foundation Research grantee (1962-65)
  • Rockefeller Foundation fellow at Cornell University (1961-65)

Significant Contributions:

  • He formulated the universally accepted two-phase wall deposition concept based on his work on the xylem elements of vascular plants.
  • He discovered, identified and studied several species of Philippine ferns.
  • He published research papers on plant morphology and anatomy, pteridophyte biology and environmental conservation.
  • He contributed in the promotion of natural resources policy research in the Philippines.

Angel Alcala

Education:

  • B.S. in Biology, Silliman University (1951)
  • Ph.D. in Biological Sciences, Stanford University (1964)

Awards and Recognitions:

  • Ramon Magsaysay Award for Public Service (1992)
  • Pew Fellowship in Marine Conservation
  • The Field Museum Founders’ Council Award of Merit for contributions to environmental biology (1994)

Significant Contributions

  • His extensive exploration of Philippine forests and mountains led to the discovery several species of amphibians and reptiles.
  • He published research papers on the ecology and biogeography of Philippine amphibians and reptiles
  • He invented artificial coral reefs for marine rehabilitation in Southeast Asia.

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Asuncion Raymundo

Education:

  • B.S., University of the Philippines College of Agriculture
  • M.S., University of Hawaii
  • Ph.D.,  University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Awards and Recognitions:

  • National Research Council of the Philippines Distinguished Award in Biology
  • UPLB Outstanding Teacher Award
  • Crop Science of the Philippine Achievement Award in Research
  • PANTAS Award by Philippine Council for Agriculture, Forestry, and Natural Resources Research and Development (PCCARRD)
  • Academician of the National Academy of Science and Technology (NAST)
  • Outstanding Microbiologist Award given by the Philippine Society for Microbiology
  • UP Outstanding Professional Award in Natural Sciences
  • Republica Award given by the Commission of Higher Education

Significant Contributions:

  • She published more than a hundred research articles on microbial genetics, soil microbiology and plant pathology.
  • She found a way to fight destructive plant microbes such as Ralstonia solanacearum and Xanthomonas oryzae.

Gregorio Velazquez

Education:

  • B.S. in Botany, University of the Philippines ( 1925)
  • M.S. in Botany, University of the Philippines (1931)
  • M.S. in Phycology, University of Michigan (1937)
  • Ph.D. in Phycology, University of Michigan ( 1939)

Awards and Recognitions:

  • Distinguished Science Medal and Diploma of Honor from RP 1956
  • National Scientist Award (1982)
  • John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship (1956-57)
  • R.P. Cultural Heritage Award (1972)
  • Citations by the Carnegie Institute of Technology, USA
  • Emeritus Membership in the New York Academy of Sciences
  • Citations by the Max Planck Institute of Zellbiologie in Germany
  • World’s Who’s Who in Sciences in 1970
  • Republic of the Philippines Cultural Heritage award (1972)

Significant Contributions

  • He dedicated 30 fruitful years of study on Philippine algae from which he acknowledged local and international credit.
  • He pioneered extensive study and collection of Philippine blue-green algae.

Pedro Escuro

Education:

  • B.S. in Agronomy, University of the Philippines, Los Baños (1972)
  • M.S. in Plant Breeding, Cornell University, New York
  • Ph.D. in Genetics and Plant Breeding, University of Minnesota (1959)

Awards and Recognitions:

  • Presidential Plaque of Merit for outstanding accomplishments in rice improvement (1967)
  • Rizal Pro Patria award for outstanding contribution to rice breeding and genetics
  • University of the Philippines Distinguished Professional award in agriculture (1973)
  • Doctor of Science, honoris causa ( 1974)
  • Ayala award in agricultural science (1974)
  • National Scientist Award (1974)

Significant Contributions:

  • He has outstanding contributions in rice breeding and genetics including the development of pest-resistant and high-yielding varieties for commercial production.

Dioscoro Umali

Education:

  • B.S. in Agronomy, University of the Philippines College of Agriculture
  • Ph.D. in Genetics and Plant Breeding, Cornell University (1949)

Awards and Recognitions:

  • National Scientist Award (1986)
  • Distinguished Educator and Scholar Meritissimus
  • Five honoris causa degrees from local and international universities

Significant Contributions:

  • He is known for breeding improved varieties of food grains, legumes, fruits, and ornamental plants.
  • He was an active advocate rain fed and upland agriculture, social forestry, environmental conservation, and rural poverty alleviation programs.

Ricardo Lantican

Education:

  • B.S. in Agriculture, University of the Philippines (1954)
  • M.S. in Plant Breeding, North Carolina State College (1956)
  • Ph.D. in Plant Breeding Genetics, Iowa State University (1961)

Awards and Recognitions:

  • National Scientist Award (2005)
  • Elected into the National Academy of Science and Technology (NAST) (1988)

Significant Contributions:

  • He developed pest-resistant and high-yielding varieties of mungbean, soybean, and peanut through plant breeding.
  • He was noted for his study on extranuclear inheritance of susceptibility to the corn blight disease, considered first in the world.

Clare Rilloraza Baltazar

Education:

  • B.S.A. (Entomology), University of the Philippines (1947)
  • M.S. (Economic Entomology), University of Wisconsin (1950)
  • Ph.D. (Systematic Entomology), University of Wisconsin (1957)

Awards and Recognitions:

  • Rizal Patria Award in entomology (1980)
  • National Scientist Award (2001)

Significant Contributions:

  • She also discovered 8 genera and 1 subgenus of Hymenoptera, and 108 species of Philippine parasitic wasps.
  • She has numerous publications on Philippine insects especially on Philippine Hymenoptera

Benito Vergara

Education:

  • B.S. (Botany), University of the Philippines (1955)
  • M.S. (Botany), University of Hawaii (1959)
  • Ph.D. (Plant Physiology), University of Chicago (1960)

Awards and Recognitons:

  • National Scientist (1998)
  • BIOTA Achievement award (1980)
  • Outstanding Phi Sigma award (1977)
  • Fellow of the American Society of Agronomy (1986)

Significant Contributions:

  • He contributed significantly on rice research, particularly on studies on deep-water rice, flood-tolerant rice, and cold-resistant rice varieties, which are valuable to increased rice production.
  • He contributed in understanding basic principles of photoperiodism in rice plants.

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