Building Mindanao’s public health with UP Mindanao’s NICER Center

Written by Rene Estremera. Posted in News

COVID19 INSIGHTSresize50The University of the Philippines (UP) Mindanao will soon build a center for a decision-support system for public health focusing on Southern Philippines. A first in Mindanao, the center will gather information on infectious diseases and use advanced scientific approaches to better understand public health risks.

Data analytics, mathematical modeling, genomics research, and quantitative risk analysis will be used to analyze and gather evidence to support proposed policies. The focus will be on more accurate disease prediction, improve the recovery prospects of infected individuals, and evaluate risk in communities through animal and water studies. Local practices and attitudes will also be given equal consideration in making recommendations. The center will adopt the OneHealth model that encourages multiple disciplines working locally, nationally, and globally to attain optimal health for people, animals, and the environment. The maps and data products will be made available to the public and other sectors to help create policies and decisions related to disease prevention and public health. The centers activities will be undertaken in partnership with the public sector and civil society organizations.

This promising UP Mindanao-proposed center is close to reality after being approved by the Department of Science and Technology (DOST). Program leader Dr. May Anne Mata of UP Mindanao reported that DOST Undersecretary Rowena Cristina Guevara conveyed the DOST Executive Committee decision through an approval letter dated 08 October 2020. UP Mindanaos proposal is being considered for funding under the DOSTs Niche Centers in the Regions (NICER) program,” Dr. Mata stated. We have renamed our NICER program as Center for Applied Modeling, Data Analytics, and Bioinformatics for Decision-Support Systems in Health,' or AMDABiDSS-Health,” she stated.

The NICER center is a part of the Mindanao Health Initiatives of UP Mindanao, which includes a proposed College of Medicine and a city hospital to be undertaken in partnership with the Davao City Government.

The initial projects of the Center for Applied Modeling, Data Analytics, and Bioinformatics for Decision-Support Systems in Health are:

1. Predictive Modeling and Viral Phylodynamic Analysis on the Spatial and Temporal Patterns of Disease Outbreaks with considerations for Control and Logistics applied in Mindanao region. Project Leader: May Anne E. Mata, PhD, UP Mindanao

2. Risk Management and Enhanced Survival Analysis Integrated through Longitudinal Infectious Disease Data and Statistical Epidemiological Model using Clinical Risk Factors. Project Leader Dr. Gernelyn T. Logrosa, PhD, Malayan Colleges Mindanao

3. Vulnerability Assessment Tool: A Decision Support System for Pre-Emptive Preparedness on Emerging Infections Among Animal Reservoir in Urban Green Spaces. Project Leader: Von Carlo P. Dela Torre, MSc., UP Mindanao

4. Integrated Wastewater-Based Epidemiology and Data Analytics for Community-Level Pathogen Surveillance and Genetic Tracking. Project Leader: Lyre Anni Espada-Murao, PhD, UP Mindanao/PGC Mindanao.

NRCP Biological Sciences webinar, 30 November 2020

Written by Rene Estremera. Posted in News

NRCPRSIZE50[UPDATE, 30 November 2020]

 Faculty members Cyrose Millado (Dept. of Bio. Sci. and Environ. Studies) and Kriza Calumba (Dept. of Food Sci. and Chem.) are inducted as members of the National Research Council of the Philippines in the Biological Sciences Division virtual meeting on 30 November 2020. 

In the Scientific Webinar, Assoc. Prof. Lyre Anni Murao gave a talk, "Covert Battles: Are Wildlife Viruses Really Wild?" She said that about sixty percent of the emerging infectious diseases that are known so far are zoonotic in nature and that majority of these originated from wildlife. "The transmission of pathogens from animals to humans occurs in a multi-stage process. Nevertheless, less than .1% of the known animal pathogens can cross the species barrier and infect humans. There is a covert battle going on between the pathogen and the host and the outcome is determined by the barriers versus the driving forces that may favor transmission," she said.


The National Research Council of the Philippines Biological Sciences Division (Division V) will be having its first virtual meeting of the year on 30 November 2020, from 9:00 am to 12:00 noon. 

Part 1, the Scientific Webinar will feature talks by experts. Associate Professor Lyre Anni Murao of UP Mindanao, also the program director of Philippine Genome Center Mindanao, will deliver a  talk on, "COVert BATtles: Are Wildlife Viruses Really Wild?"  Associate Professor Rina Opulencia of the UP Los Baños Institute of Biological Sciences will speak on "Microbial Flora of the Philippine Native Swine in Quezon Province." Finally, Dr. Marian De Leon, UP Los Baños University Researcher and Curator of the Museum of Natural History will talk on "Microbes in Philippine Caves: A Continuous Research Investigation and Assessment."

Part 2 will be the Oath Taking of New Associate Members, and Part 3 will be the Business Meeting.

Slots are limited and priority will be given to Division V members but interested persons are welcome to attend. Register at

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