Cebu Normal University’s (CNU) fourth-year Bachelor of Science in Biology major in Zoology representatives bagged 1st place in the 8th Central Visayas Health Research and Innovation Conference (CVHRIC) on May 10–12, 2023, at the Siquijor State College (SSC).
Organized by the Central Visayas Consortium for Health Research and Development (CVCHRD) with the theme “The Roles of Academe, Industry, and Government in the Attainment of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals,” the event was attended by esteemed scientists, professionals, and students.
It featured research activities such as infographics, infomercials, poster presentations, and the oral presentation of research.
The winning experimental study entitled, “Cinnamomum cebuense L. Phytochemicals as Targeted Therapy for Hepatocellular Carcinoma: In Silico and In Vitro Evaluation” was led by Normalites Beatrice Rae Datiles, Happy Marie Abad, Vanessa Ompong, Gianne Abay, and Daryl Bace.
In an interview with Ang Suga, Datiles shared that their research focused on using the extract of an endemic plant species, the Cebu Cinnamon, to evaluate its potential as an anticancer agent, particularly against hepatocellular carcinoma.
The study used computer-aided methods with an experimental assay to evaluate whether the compounds found in this plant have anticancer properties and toxicity.
Despite the challenges and lack of prior training in silico methods, the team overcame these obstacles through the guidance and support of their advisers, Dr. Jay Picardal and Mr. Seagal Asjali, MSc., RChem.
“Participating in this big research event was overwhelming, yet exciting and fulfilling. It has opened doors for us to continue our research endeavors and contribute to the scientific community locally, nationally, and globally. This is just a stepping stone towards our personal and academic growth,” Datiles said.
Meanwhile, Research Institute of Tropical Biology and Pharmacological Biotechnology (RITBPB) Director and thesis adviser Dr. Jay Picardal, MS, Ph.D. believed that their research students stand out due to their strong theoretical understanding of the research problem.
He emphasized the importance of having a working knowledge of literature, experimental design, research protocols, and data analysis tools and being ready for open forum discussions.
Assistance for research initiatives
Picardal also shared that he plans to continue supporting research endeavors by providing technical assistance related to biological experimentations.
“However, given the lack of manpower in the office, the response to queries and clarifications is dependent on my available time. For this academic year, I already provided help to some medical students, biology majors, and science education majors who intend to conduct life science experiments,” he added.
Picardal encouraged thesis advisers to make students appreciate the scientific method, provide the needed theoretical understanding of the topic, assist them in hypothesis generation and testing, reach out, and employ independent learning approaches.
“As mentors, our major role is to assist and provide guidance, and we must extend the extra mile to be more understanding, patient, and considerate,” he said.
Words by Alea Marie Bareng
Photos grabbed from Jay Picardal and CNU-Biological Society