Madayaw News

Outstanding Niche Center in the Region (NICER) for R&D

Written by Rene Estremera on . Posted in Madayaw News



 The University of the Philippines Mindanao together with its co-implementing agency, Malayan Colleges Mindanao, A Mapúa School, and collaborators of the Center for Applied Modeling, Data Analytics, and Bioinformatics for Decision Support Systems in Health (AMDABiDSS-Health) were awarded as an Outstanding Niche Center in the Region (NICER) for Research & Development in the Science for Change Program Summit-Mindanao Cluster organized by the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) on 27 May 2022 in Davao City.

AMDABiDSS-Health was awarded for its “enhanced disease surveillance via phylogenomics, epidemiology, and data analytics, successfully demonstrated during the time of the COVID-19 pandemic, and its partnership with the Department of Health-Davao Center for Health Development to produce data-driven response in mitigating the transmission of COVID-19,” said the DOST statement.

UP Mindanao chancellor Prof. Lyre Anni Murao, AMDABiDSS program leader Prof. May Anne Mata, and project leader Von Carlo dela Torre received the awards for UP Mindanao and Malayan Colleges Mindanao, A Mapúa School, during the event.

The DOST’s NICER program aims to reduce inequality in regional development by funding unique R&D among higher educational institutions in the regions. “This is significant for being the first health-related NICER in Mindanao and the first NICER in UP Mindanao,” said Prof. Mata.

“I am pleased with this recognition because even though we are a small campus, our efforts are able to contribute to the well-being of our fellow Filipinos, beginning with our neighboring Mindanao regions,” said Chancellor Murao.

AMDABiDSS-Health had its beginnings at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic when UP Mindanao scientists produced research notes on managing the spread of infection as recommendations for public officials. From these beginnings, expanded with the participation of Malayan Colleges Mindanao, A Mapúa School (MCM), a four-project proposal won funding approval from the DOST’s Phil. Council for Health Research & Development (DOST-PCHRD)

PPASTOL, the project led by Prof. Mata, is developing a [mathematical] tool to predict the time and geography for possible outbreaks of infectious diseases such as COVID-19, dengue, tuberculosis, and other infectious diseases. 

RESILIEMC, the project led by MCM’s Prof. Gernelyn Logrosa, is creating a decision-support system platform to help hospitals prioritize medical interventions and for local governments to implement risk management through health-risk maps. 

VATAS, led by Asst. Prof. dela Torre, is creating a tool to assess risk of emerging infectious diseases in animal reservoirs and urban green spaces. 

The iWAS project, led by Prof. Dann Marie del Mundo, aims to detect SARS-CoV-2, the virus in COVID-19, in community wastewater systems.

In its first year, AMDABiDSS-Health has established partnerships with local governments (2), the academe (7, plus 2 upcoming), government offices (4, and 4 more upcoming), and other institutions (5).

Products undergoing development are the risk and hotspot maps, a vulnerability scoring index tool, a validation of a LAMP assay for CoronaVirus detection, a molecular community tracker, and an interdisciplinary journal.

Policy recommendations based on initial findings, and other technical services, were discussed and acted upon in local government and development council meetings. 

People were served through online information dissemination programs (about 1,000-1,500 persons), trained through online workshops (145), provided COVID-19 situational reports (79), and COVID-19 maps (64). 

Persons who received training were senior high school and college student interns (>100), thesis students (>10), MS students (4), PhD students (2), pediatric physicians (3), faculty members (7), and wildlife assessment & animal disease surveillance trainees (3), from Region IX, X, and XI only.

Publications produced included published articles (2), articles under review or in pre-print (2), ongoing working papers (10), and paper presentations in local/national (8) and international conferences (10).    

Patents for modules and services of AMDABiDSS-Health include spatiotemporal maps, data analytics, forecasts, genome-based epidemiology, agent-based modeling simulation, vaccination rollout system, health-risk maps and bowtie models, and wastewater-based epidemiology.


In the photo above (left to right): AMDABiDSS-Health Senior SRS Zython Paul Lachica, DOST-XI ARD Kenneth Barroga,  AMDABiDSS-Health Program Leader Prof. May Anne Mata, UPMin Chancellor Prof. Lyre Anni Murao, DOST Undersecretary Rowena Cristina Guevara, Davao del Norte State College Prof. Mark Ronald Manseguiao, DOST-PCHRD Senior Project Manager Gabriel Galinato, AMDABiDSS-Health VATAS Project Leader Von Carlo dela Torre, DOST-PCHRD Program Manager for Omic Technologies for Health Jose Joy J. Gepanaga


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