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2011 NAST Outstanding Young Scientist: REGINA C. SO, Ph.D. (Chemistry)

One of the recipients to receive the Outstanding Young Scientist (OYS) award for 2011 as given by the National Academy of Science and Technology Philippines (NAST Phl) is Dr. Regina So, in recognition of her significant contributions in the design and faster synthesis of biologically important unique sphinganine-containing glycosphingolipid analogs used in elucidating the relationship between the structure of glycosphingolipids and the type of immune response they generate.  The mentioned award is given to outstanding young individuals not more than 40 years old (in the year of the award) who has made significant contributions to science and technology.

Dr. So received her B.S. degree in Chemistry from the De La Salle University in Manila (1996). She joined Professor Amy R. Howell’s group at the University of Connecticut in 1998. She also worked at the Department of Chemical Development in Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals with Dr. Carl A. Busacca on asymmetric catalysis before she finished graduate school. After finishing her Ph.D. in 2003, she joined Professor Mukund P. Sibi’s group as a postdoctoral research associate where she worked on the synthesis of P, N ligands and their application in asymmetric catalysis.

In 2005, Dr. So joined the Department of Chemistry at the Ateneo de Manila University as an Assistant Professor, later an Associate Professor in 2009, teaching undergraduate and advanced organic chemistry lecture and laboratory classes and Science and Society.

She also handled important positions in the department, like being Associate Chair of the department and moderator of Ateneo Chemistry Society from 2007 to 2009, and then Chair of the department from 2009 to 2011.

Dr. So is also the founding member of Global Young Academy, which is active in the area of Science Education and Science and Society Group. She is also a member of the National Research Council of the Philippines (NRCP) and the Kapisanan ng mga Kimiko sa Pilipinas. Moreover, Dr. So has successfully mentored a number of undergraduate and graduate students in Chemistry. She also won the NAST Talent Search for Young Scientist 1st place (2007) and obtain her doctoral dissertation fellowship, University of Connecticut.

She has published worked on the synthesis of sphinganine-ocontaining glycosphingolipids. She has also published articles related to functional materials, like silica sol-gel microcapsule for the controlled release of insect repellant on cotton, molecular recognition properties of Arteminisin-imprinted polymer microspheres, and overcoming multidrug resistance of breast cancer cells by the micellar Doxorubicin nanoparticles of Mpeg-PCL-Graft-Cellulose with a collaborator in Taiwan.

Her research group at Ateneo currently delves on the preparation of novel functionalized materials for natural products separation, environmental and biomedical sensors and devices. She and co-workers have developed molecularly imprinted polymers (MIPs) as functional materials for the separation of artemisinin, as catalysts for the production of monolaurin, and as sensors for the detection of environmental pollutants and histamine as well as fluorescent films and modified-cationic polythiophenes for sensors to detect tuberculosis. Her research outputs have been published in international and national refereed journals. Luningning Samarita, Executive Director, NAST

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