Filipino students to present research in Intel science tilt

By Nikka Garriga

MAKATI CITY, METRO MANILA—Eight young Filipino students will represent the country at this year's Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (Intel ISEF).

The delegates will present their own research studies that aim to build awareness in prevalent social, ecological and economic issues.

One of the participants, 17-year old Elson Ian Galang, will present an eco-friendly and economically-competitive version of a fabric made of fibers from fragrant screw pine or pandan.

Elson hopes to establish pandan fiber as a viable alternative to synthetic polyester in the Philippine fabric and garments industry.

Fifteen year-old Ven Gabriel Tan focused his study on the potential of herbal plants as source of copper ions in mined-out and heavy metal amended soil. The research focuses more on global resource conservation and pollution prevention efforts.

Tan, the youngest among the delegates, aims to offer mining communities a potential solution to address the issues of mining waste and contaminated soil.

Meanwhile, the team of Hazel Anne Hernandez, Julian Paolo Biyo, and Paul Caesar Flores will present their work on coral transplantation.

The group was awarded the Most Promising Young Scientists in the recently-held SEAMEO Young Scientists Congress. They hope to provide environmental and economic support to communities who rely on coral reefs for livelihood using bamboo and concrete materials for conservation efforts.

The work of 16 year-olds Bryce Años, Lanz Gabriel Jabla and Carla Lazara looks into the potential of sea hare ink to help treat diseases involving atrophy, the deterioration of a body part or tissue.

Sea hares are medium to large-sized sea slugs that secrete ink as a potent deterrent to predators.

“Sea hares may not the prettiest or most powerful of animals, but through our research, we found their potential to make a significant contribution to science and medicine,” Lazara said.

The Intel ISEF is the world's largest international pre-college science competition, providing an annual forum for more than 1,500 high school students from 65 countries to present their independent research.

Last year, Miguel Arnold Reyes bagged the second grand award in the Materials and Bioengineering Category and also got an asteroid named after him.

This year's delegates will compete in two team categories and two individual categories in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania from May 13 to 18.

(Photo courtesy of Intel Philippines)

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