Ehime University Initiates Establishment of an EU Satellite Office at Central Luzon State University, Philippines
Ehime University-Center for Marine Environmental Studies (EU-CMES) represented by the head of the Molecular Ecology and Health (MEcoH) Laboratory, Dr. Kozo Watanabe and JSPS Postdoctoral Fellow Dr. Khristina Judan Cruz visited the Central Luzon State University, Science City of Munoz, Nueva Ecija, Philippines last October 12-13, 2022 for initial talks on the establishment of an EU satellite office in CLSU as well as the possibility of a cross-appointment of CLSU faculty members to EU. Dr. Watanabe and Dr. Judan Cruz discussed future EU-CLSU activities with CLSU President Dr. Edgar A. Orden, Vice President for Academic Affairs Dr. Renato G. Reyes, Dean of the College of Science Dr. Evaristo A. Abella, Dean of the College of Fisheries Dr. Ravelina R. Velasco and Director for Freshwater Aquaculture Center-CLSU Dr. Karl Marx A. Quiazon. A Memorandum of Understanding between the two universities was signed last January 22, 2022 to establish and strengthen International Collaboration for academic and research activities.
Dr. Watanabe also visited several research projects and facilities in CLSU such as the CLSU Nanotechnology Facility and the Freshwater Aquaculture Center. The visit coincided with the CLSU Research Innovation and Development (RIDe) Festival that highlighted quality outputs of the university’s research and development projects.
Current research collaboration between MEcoH and CLSU includes the genome-wide scan of genetically-improved tilapia particularly the FaST strain developed by CLSU, and integrating nanotechnology with bioactive compounds for anti-quorum sensing and anticancer evaluations.
Dr. Kozo Watanabe, head of the Molecular Ecology and Health (MEcoH) Laboratory, Ehime University (EU), together with Dr. Yasutsugu Suzuki (Project Associate Professor) and Ms. Irish Coleen Asin (PhD candidate) from the same laboratory visited the National Institute of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology (NIMBB), University of the Philippines Diliman (UP Diliman), Quezon City, Philippines last October 10, 2022.
The representatives from Ehime University as well as Dr. Thaddeus Carvajal, Associate Professor at De La Salle University, met with Dr. Ma. Anita Bautista, Professor and Principal Investigator of the Functional Genomics Laboratory (FGL) of NIMBB-UP Diliman, for a talk on possible future collaboration between Ehime University and NIMBB. Also present in the meeting were Ms. Adria Lao (PhD candidate), Ms. Coleen Pangilinan (MSc candidate), and Mr. Aldwin Adiong (BSc candidate) of FGL-NIMBB who have presented their past and current research works on mosquito viral metagenomics and metatranscriptomics. Overall, this kick-off meeting provided an opportunity to build good rapport from both sides, and to set out and discuss various areas for collaborative work on mosquito research projects.
Dr. Watanabe, Dr. Suzuki, and Ms. Asin have also been a given a tour of the facilities of NIMBB as well as the University of the Philippines System – Philippine Genome Center during this fruitful visit.
Representatives from Ehime University (EU) and De La Salle University (DLSU) celebrated the official opening of the EU-DLSU International Collaborative Research Laboratory (ICRL) located at the George S.K. Ty Advanced Instrumentation Bldg, DLSU Laguna Campus on Tuesday morning, 11 October 2022. The ribbon-cutting ceremony was led by Dr. Kozo Watanabe, Professor of Molecular Ecology and Health (MEcoH) Laboratory at the Center for Marine Environmental Studies (CMES), EU, and Dr. Jonathan Dungca, Vice President for Laguna Campus and Dean of the College. Also present were Dr. Divina Amalin, Director of the Center for Natural Sciences and Environmental Research (CENSER), Drs. Ma. Luisa Enriquez, Mary Jane Flores, Thaddeus Carvajal, faculty members at the Department of Biology, DLSU, and members of the Biological Control Research Unit, CENSER. Also present are Dr. Yasutsugu Suzuki, Associate Professor of EU-CMES, and Ms. Irish Coleen Asin, PhD candidate from UE-CMES.
The ceremony was followed by a tour of the facilities at the ICRL. The laboratory is equipped with advanced research infrastructure in line with its vision to “be the leading research unit dedicated to advancing, applying and facilitating high standards of research practice for Philippine and Japanese students, faculty and staff of both universities.” Under the mentorship of recognized scientists from EU and DLSU, the ICRL will provide a hub in conducting high-quality collaborative research between Filipino and Japanese students, faculty, and staff.
A seminar session was also conducted wherein Dr. Kozo Watanabe first discussed the functions and roles of the EU-DLSU ICRL. Dr. Thaddeus Carvajal and Dr. Yasutsugu Suzuki also delivered their talks on “The Importance of Studying Vector Biology & Ecology of Mosquito-borne Diseases for Designing Appropriate Vector Control Strategies” and “Understanding Mosquito-virus Interactions Toward Vector Control”, respectively. The seminar was livestreamed and was attended by participants online.
The ICRL is a product of a long standing cooperation between the two universities that started in 2016. In October 21, 2021, the Memorandum of Agreement was signed by Dr. Nishina Hiroshige, President of EU, and Br. Bernard Oca, President of DLSU, to start the establishment of ICRL (then known as the Ehime University Satellite Office Philippines). Currently, the ICRL implements several privately and publicly funded research projects, and houses the Center for Vector of Diseases of Public Health Importance in the Philippines for Region IV, a niche center under the DOST Science for Change Program.
On 17th - 22nd September 2022, Professor Kozo Watanabe visited two universities in Bangladesh -Dhaka University, at Dhaka city and Mawlana Bhashani Science and Technology University (MBSTU), at Tangail city. Professor Watanabe attended in several meetings and seminars organized by both universities and discussed about the possible way of future collaborations.