The Department of Science and Technology – Philippine Nuclear Research Institute (DOST-PNRI) congratulates Dr. Lucille Abad, Scientist I and head of the PNRI Chemistry Research Section, for receiving the Outstanding Research and Development Award for Applied Research (Julian A. Banzon medal) for her outstanding research on “Radiation Modified Carrageenan as Plant Food Supplement (CPFS)” that proved to be effective as plant growth promoter. The award was given during the opening ceremonies of the 2017 National Science and Technology Week on July 11, 2017 at the World Trade Center in Pasay City.
In a world where economic progress is driven largely by the ever-increasing efficiency and quality of raw materials and finished products alike, Dr. Abad. stands out as one of the Philippines’ leading innovators in the field of chemistry today.
A Scientist I under the Scientific Career System with a Ph.D. in Nuclear Engineering and Management from the University of Tokyo, her devotion to the potentials of radiation technology has allowed Dr. Abad and her team of researchers under the Department of Science and Technology - Philippine Nuclear Research Institute (DOST-PNRI) to develop effective products that will serve agricultural, industrial, medical and environmental purposes alike through the use of natural polymers.
Dr. Abad is looking forward to the potential of radiation processing in improving the quality of a variety of products, from industrial semiconductors, wires and cables to more domestic materials such as abaca fibers and other fabrics. Among the radiation processed products she has developed her projects is the well-tested carrageenan plant food supplement.
Made from a common ingredient derived from red seaweed, the formula was turned into an agricultural miracle by ionizing radiation, allowing a few liters to increase the yield of entire hectares of ricefields by over 20 percent while also making them more resistant to bacterial leaf blight and tungro bacilliform virus infestations. This product is currently also being tested in other crops such as mungbean, peanuts, pechay and leafy vegetables with great potential of having exceptionally high increase in yield.
The carrageenan plant food supplement was not the first time that Dr. Abad worked on carrageenan using radiation processing. PNRI’s previously developed carrageenan polyvinyl-pyrrolidone hydrogel wound dressing is also made from similar materials and is a medical marvel for healing burns, wounds and bedsores while keeping the soothing sensation of its gel structure. She started this work early in 2000, adapted from her studies as a fellow at the Technical University of Lodz, Poland.
A prolific contributor in her field, she has authored several publications in refereed journals and has given lectures/seminars and poster presentations to both local and international audiences. Currently, she has one patent and a utility model and three pending patents on record.
Her vision coupled with her no-nonsense work ethic has already earned Dr. Abad and her team many awards, including the 1st prize in the Annual Aquatic Technology Competition and Marketplace of the Natural Aquatic Resources Research Development System in 2006; 2nd place in the Likha Award in the Health, Education and Environment category of the DOST National Inventor’s Week in 2000; 3rd prize in Best Research sponsored by PCASTRD in 2001; 3rd place in the 1982 NSTA Outstanding Research Award (a slot as a national finalist in the 1st ASEAN Search for Young Scientist in 1989).
Dr. Abad’s various publications in ISI journals have also made her the recipients of the DOST International Award for four consecutive years. More recently, Dr. Abad won first place during the poster competition at the International Meeting on Radiation Processing (IMRP) in Vancouver, Canada, having bested the submissions of researchers from over 80 countries. She has also established herself with linkages with the International Atomic Energy Agency as well as various nuclear institutes especially in Asia, attending international conferences, meetings and expert missions/consultancies, along with fellowships in Japan, Poland and USA.
Certainly, there is more to Dr. Abad than her laurels. From her humble beginnings in Cebu City, she obtained her Bachelor of Science in Chemistry at the University of San Carlos and her Master’s degree in the same field at the University of Santo Tomas. She rose through the ranks under the then-Philippine Atomic Energy Commission (now PNRI) in 1982, and she has long since proven herself as a leader and administrator, currently heading PNRI’s Chemistry Research Section. In 2011, she was conferred with the Dangal ng Bayan Award by the Civil Service Commission as a testament to her achievements as a public servant and a true scientist for the people.