Mr. Jayson R. Pucot, MSU-IIT’s MS Biology student, Ms. Jea Christine Escala, BS Biology alumna, and Prof. Cesar G. Demayo, faculty member of the Department of Biological Sciences and the Project leader of the Climate Change Research Group of the Premier Research Institute of Science and Mathematics (PRISM) won the Best Paper award during the recently concluded International Conference on Research, Innovation, and Investment (ICRII).
Their paper entitled Phytochemical Screening, GC-MS Analysis and In vitro Pharmacological Investigations of Myristica simiarum A.DC Bark Ethanolic Extract is co-authored by Dr. Mark Lloyd Dapar, faculty member of the Department of Biology of the Central Mindanao University in Bukidnon.
The virtual international conference that was held on May 17-20, 2021 gathered more than 300 participants from different countries across the globe, such as Australia, China, Germany, India, Japan, Kenya, Malaysia, Pakistan, Poland, Philippines, and Taiwan.
The country’s president, Hon. Rodrigo R. Duterte, gave his message during the conference’s Opening Ceremonies. Philippine Senator Juan Miguel F. Zubiri keynoted the Innovation and Investment Forum, and Paolo Benigno A. Aquino IV, author of Innovative Startup Act, talked about investments in innovation and entrepreneurship in the conference.
Winners for the Best Paper, Best Presenter, and Most Number of Delegates (institutional level) were announced during the Awards Ceremony. The Best Paper awardees hope that their paper gets published in the Mindanao Journal of Science and Technology (MJST), a scientific journal published bi-annually by USTP and indexed by Scopus and Clarivate Analytics.
ICRII is an annual gathering of international and local researchers, innovators, investors, policymakers, and leaders who come together to address innovations, existing and emerging trends, best practices, and other developments in specific fields and pursue advanced research and innovation frameworks. The conference covered presentations on the following topics:
Food Security and Safety
Energy Sufficiency and Security
Information and Communication Technology
Infrastructure and Transportation
Gender and Development
Science and Technology Education
Language and Communication
Social Science and Humanities
Innovation and Entrepreneurship
The ICRII was hosted by the University of Science and Technology of Southern Philippines (USTP) with this year’s theme The Emerging Role of Research, Innovation, and Investment in a Disruptive World.
Mindanao State University-Iligan Institute of Technology (MSU-IIT) has been named as a grantee by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) of a research and innovation grant that aims to help Philippine universities address challenges in the new normal.
The grant was given for an MSU-IIT research project that focuses on the conversion of waste from coconut oil processing into an economically viable substitute to imported chemicals used in insulating foam production, while also creating a higher-value pathway for the by-products of the researchers’ industry collaborator.
Chancellor Sukarno D. Tanggol received the certificate of recognition from the USAID on April 27 via Zoom during the launch ceremony of the agency’s Widening Applications of Research within the Pandemic (WARP) grant that is given through its Science, Technology, Research and Innovation for Development (STRIDE) program.
The research project titled Improving the Gardner Color Index and Homogeneity of a Developed Coconut Fatty Acid Distillate (CFAD)-based Polyol for Commercial Use, is conducted by two faculty members of the College of Engineering and Technology, Prof. Roberto M. Malaluan, PhD, and Prof. Arnold Lubguban, PhD., in collaboration with Chemrez Technologies, Inc. – a Philippine-based manufacturer of powder coatings.
“We are very honored and would like to express our sincere gratitude to USAID STRIDE for awarding us our second grant. It is a confirmation that our research is of value to others in the field and also a great motivation to continue the ever-growing search for alternative bio-based and industrially important polymers into the future,” said Malaluan and Lubguban.
Four other Philippine universities were also awarded the WARP grant for research and innovation during the pandemic. These higher education institutions are the University of San Carlos (Visayas), Don Mariano Marcos Memorial State University, La Union, University of the Philippines-Visayas, and Mariano Marcos State University, Ilocos Norte.
According to the US Embassy in the Philippines, the grants given under the WARP amounted to nearly P12 million in total.
[This article is based on reports submitted by the different cost centers of the Institute.]
PROMPTED by the current public health emergency and the limited capacities of Iligan’s hospitals and laboratories, MSU-IIT’s scientists, engineers, researchers, makers and innovators banded together to support the local government of Iligan in the fight against Covid-19 in the city.
By utilizing the available expertise in innovation and in science and technology, as well as taking advantage of the Institute’s facilities, the MSU-IIT innovators and research teams composed of its faculty and staff members, and its Covid-19 Task Force, have been producing disinfectants and fabricating face shields and DIY intubation protective gears for use by medical personnel and frontliners.
Ever since the coronavirus outbreak, the MSU-IIT team has been working tirelessly in devising new ways to help control the coronavirus outbreak in the city.
Production of Alcohol and Hand Sanitizers
In the very early stages of the pandemic, MSU-IIT, through its College of Science and Mathematics (CSM), Premier Research Institute of Science and Mathematics (PRISM), and the College of Engineering and Technology (COET), formulated 70% ethanol alcohol solutions, as well as hand sanitizers, which were distributed to the various barangays in the city, checkpoint areas, police stations, local hospitals, and in the campus.
The 70% ethanol alcohol solutions and alcohol-based hand sanitizers were intended for hand disinfection among the frontliners to prevent the spread of viruses and infections.
Face Shields and DIY Intubation Protective Gears, Air-purifying Respirator
The Institute’s Fabrication Laboratory (FabLab) Mindanao and the COET made face shields from the following materials: 3D printing spools, PVC/acetate sheets, plywood-sized acrylic sheets, and rubber bands.
These easy-to-clean face shields are simple, transparent screens that cover the face and help prevent infectious droplets from entering the eyes, nose, and mouth. Worn in conjunction with face masks, these face shields provide increased protection to the wearer.
MSU-IIT, through FabLab Mindanao, produced 2, 707 face shields; turned over 1,593 and 218 more from COET, to medical front liners and essential workers.
The FabLab Mindanao also donated an intubation box and a laryngoscope which are being tested to ensure its protective function and ease of use by medical consultants from the Iligan Medical Society.
In addition, the COET initiated a design and prototype of an improvised air-purifying ventilator/respirator to address the limited supply of ventilators in local hospitals. The COET is working together with Rothana Prototype Engineering and the Iligan Medical Society for the production of the said respirators.
Among the many tools at the disposal of MSU-IIT scientists to answer crucial Covid-19 questions are data-driven technologies and mathematics.
A research team inside the campus called MSU-IIT MOCOS (MOdelling COrona Spread) Team is using mathematics to understand the coronavirus outbreak.
The team’s output has been submitted to policymakers, including those from the local government of Iligan to help local leaders in making decisions and policies related to the fight against coronavirus.
The MSU-IIT MOCOS team is doing the numbers to work out how the virus spreads, and runs computer simulations using a mathematical model to ascertain patterns of the outbreak, and how effective control or preventive measures may be.
The MSU-IIT MOCOS team that is led by Vice Chancellor for Research and Extension Dr. Jinky B. Bornales is actually part of a bigger international research team known as the MOCOS Group that is composed of German and Polish scientists.
The MSU-IIT MOCOS team’s external expert is Dr. Wolfgang Bock of Germany’s University of Kaiserslautern who was a visiting professor of MSU-IIT.
The disinfection cabin known as CabinIITZ was one of the first innovations of the Institute at the start of the pandemic. The cabin was inspired by Vietnam’s mobile sterilization chamber.
Designed by the CabinIITZ Project Team, the portable disinfection cabin, made from local, available and less expensive materials (but can compete with the operating competency of the sterilization chamber in Vietnam), was designed in a way that it could easily be replicated by other communities and can be used by them as well.
The team’s project leader, Dr. Carl John Salaan, recognized the need to have a simple answer to address the spread of the coronavirus by putting up an easy-to-install disinfection cabin made from available materials in the community. It was designed to be manually operated and worked on a simple kinematic system.
Facebook, Google, and Web Portals
Advances in technology make it easy to post fake images and videos, and hasten the spread of fake news. Fake news articles about the coronavirus continue to spread, causing unnecessary fear among Iliganons and IITians.
To fight the coronavirus infodemic, the Institute, through the College of Computer Studies (CCS), launched a social media page for fact-checking services and for Covid-19 related news and information. The Facebook page named “IIT Fact-Check” (https://www.facebook.com/iitfactcheck/) aims to educate users of social media about fake news and how to verify the information they read circulating on the Internet.
When the Institute COVID 19 Task Force shared a survey on MSU-IIT Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) Survey, CCS converted the survey using Google Forms to easily distribute the survey among IIT constituents. The survey was able to gather more than 600 responses.
CCS and its alumni also developed a tracker site: https://covid19iligan.site/ for Covid-19 information dissemination which includes a list of essential stores, establishments, and delivery services operating within Iligan City.
KASAMA Connect (www.kconnect.ga)
The Institute’s supreme student council, the Kataastaasang Sanggunian ng mga Mag-aaral (KASAMA) puts up a support group chat feature in their Transparency Portal where they could virtually connect with students during the lockdown period.
The KASAMA Transparency Portal also includes Balik Lugar Tracker, a feature that provides information on students who are stranded in Iligan City and how many they are.
Other COVID-19 Initiatives
The Institute, through the MSU-IIT Psychosocial Hub, has been providing online psychosocial support to front liners, medical practitioners, health care workers, and MSU-IIT constituents who are experiencing stress during this Covid-19 pandemic.
The College of Arts and Social Sciences, College of Education, Office of Guidance Counseling, and Office of Medical and Dental Health Services provide assistance and support in running the MSU-IIT Psychosocial Hub.
Alagang Unilab Kits (containing vitamins, masks, gloves) and Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs) were distributed to six hospitals in Iligan City through the efforts of MSU-IIT’s PRISM.
The donations were made possible through Prof. Mylene M. Uy, PRISM Director, who communicated with UniLab, Inc. and requested donations of vitamins and supplements for front liners working in Iligan hospitals.
The six hospitals that benefited were the following – Gregorio T. Lluch Memorial Hospital, E & R Hospital, Adventist Medical Center, Iligan Medical Center, Dr. Uy Hospital, Inc., and Mercy Community Hospital Inc.
According to Prof. Uy, some kits and PPEs were also donated to the Northern Mindanao Medical Center in Cagayan de Oro City.
The Biotechnology Research Group led by MSU-IIT’s Biorisk Safety Officer Prof. Franco G. Teves and PRISM faculty researchers have been tapped to help in the conduct of crash course training on the qPCR (quantitative polymerase chain reaction) process among medical doctors and front line medical technologists of Region X.
Prof. Uy (PRISM) and another faculty member, Prof. Eulalio Creencia, have been tapped as technical consultants by the Department of Agriculture of Misamis Oriental for its plan to set up a bioethanol plant using biomass as raw materials like the wastes from abaca fiber production, pineapple peels, and the like. Prof. Uy and Prof. Creencia submitted their concept note and budgetary requirements for the project.
The CSM, through Mr. Jaime Guihawan of the Department of Biological Sciences, produced Geographic Information System (GIS) maps that provided locations of persons under investigation (PUI) and persons under monitoring (PUM) using data from the Iligan City Health Emergency Management and Surveillance Unit. The maps included information on mortality and recovery rates in the city and helped in contact tracing and determining the spread of infection. The maps are being updated and circulated to the public.
The Institute’s Covid-19 Task Force that is led by Biorisk Safety Officer Prof. Teves, and which regularly meets with MSU-IIT Chancellor Sukarno D. Tanggol, has been constantly assessing the pandemic situation in the city. It has been formulating pandemic-related plans for the university.
The said Task Force has also been providing valuable information to help the local government make proactive measures to contain the coronavirus outbreak in the city.
MSU-IIT submitted recommendations to the City Mayor’s Office regarding the extension of the Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) to protect the gains made by the city’s overall response to the pandemic.
The Institute also shared information and submitted recommendations when the city was mulling the transition to General Community Quarantine after the lifting of ECQ on April 30.
Chancellor Tanggol said that MSU-IIT will always have a responsibility to its surrounding community to come up with ways to help, especially during a public health emergency.
“If you look at the infographics on our website, we have a list of what we have offered, and continue to offer, to our public. In particular, we have been advising and providing scientific data and analysis to LGU Iligan,” he said.
“We have also been strict in implementing protocols in the campus to contain and control the spread of the virus,” he added.
SPEAKING before hundreds of business leaders, key players, stakeholders, government leaders, and policy-makers attending the 28th Mindanao Business Conference (MinBizCon) that was held inside the Institute, Chancellor Sukarno D. Tanggol issues an invitation for them to form partnerships with MSU-IIT that could help them to innovate and improve their products and services.
“In terms of innovation, innovating for the products and the services that you provide, it is my suggestion that you partner with a university,” Tanggol told the members of industry at the Institute Gymnasium on September 13.
“Like any university, we provide programs, and the more relevant to you are our business-related programs,” he said.
Tanggol was at the MinBizCon to deliver a plenary talk entitled, Business Development Through Innovation: The Role of the Academe.
To make his case, Tanggol highlighted the fact that MSU-IIT is an innovation hub, and pointed out the existing innovation ecosystem in the Institute that is composed of the following:
Fabrication Laboratory (FabLab) Mindanao;
Technology Business Incubator (TBI):
Premier Research Institute for Science and Mathematics (PRISM);
Knowledge and Technology Transfer Office (KTTO); and
Technology Application and Promotions Unit (TAPU)
The Institute’s KTTO, established in 2017, is there precisely to manage the transfer of knowledge and technology generated inside MSU-IIT to its partner industries.
Today, MSU-IIT functions as a meeting place for technology seekers and technology developers and where partners from the industrial sector and others from the surrounding community can sit down and discuss research and other collaborative projects.
Tanggol expressed gratitude to MSU-IIT’s partners like DOST, DTI, CHED, USAID Stride for their current investment and support, particularly in the establishment of the facilities inside the campus and implementation of projects.
Tanggol, while underscoring the importance of strengthening collaborations between industry and the university, ended his talk with unsolicited advice for the businessmen.
“In the final analysis, you should be more concerned with the needs of the people rather than their wants. More than the wants are the needs of the society,” Tanggol concluded.
MEETING over coffee and kakanin, the MSU-Iligan Institute of Technology and its institutional partners brainstormed and shared ideas on how to optimally collaborate through innovation initiatives to achieve significant impact in Mindanao.
The brief meeting which was held at the Institute’s Fabrication Laboratory (FABLAB) Mindanao on the afternoon of September 13, 2019 were attended by the Institute’s Chancellor Sukarno D. Tanggol, Prof.. Evelyn Creencia, Director for Research, and Assoc. Prof. Lemuel Clark Velasco, FAB LAB Manager, together with representatives of MSU-IIT’s partner institutions: Regional Director Alfonso Alamban of the Department of Science and Technology-Region 10; Regional Director Linda Boniao of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI)-Region 10; CHED-Region 10 Supervisor Desiderio Apag, III; Director Ruel Paclipan of DTI-Lanao del Norte; and DTI FAB LAB Coordinator Nancy Echavez.
Joining the meeting also was Deputy Chief of Missions of the US Embassy, John Law. In the meeting, he expressed his happiness that they can partner with universities and agencies, like MSU-IIT and FabLab Mindanao, in finding ways of unleashing the potential of other people.
During the exchange of ideas, Tanggol expressed the importance of continuing the kind of relationship that the Institute and the agencies currently have. He hoped that the institutional partners continue to share financial resources that can support MSU-IIT’s and FabLab Mindanao’s projects and programs.
“We can use our resources, our talents, our faculty members, our students in trying to create [a] better society,” he added.
The performance of the Institute as well as that of the FabLab Mindanao banks not only on the support of the local government but also on the support of its collaborators and partners, Tanggol said.
FabLab Manager Velasco hoped that through the meeting MSU-IIT and its partners can explore more opportunities; and that by next year, FabLab Mindanao can get more projects.
FabLab Mindanao has been working with DTI on projects focusing on business, with DOST on projects related to science and researches, and CHED on projects related to teaching.
According to Velasco, DTI, DOST, CHED want to explore projects on community development and innovation center capacity building.
“Since there are a lot of innovation centers in the Philippines established by DTI, DOST, CHED, they want to piece them all together and capacitate them, Velasco said.
Currently, FabLab Mindanao is working on three projects for the out-of-school youth, children, women, and differently-abled people, and training them to be employed in the laboratories.
Velasco wishes that by 2020, FabLab Mindanao can capacitate other fabrication laboratories in the Philippines, and that the consortium will be created to unify efforts as there are many and different initiatives.
“Hopefully, MSU-IIT will be at the center to unify them through the consortium and lead others,” he said.