Olivera is 1st Filipino in U-S Science body

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WOW, this is amazing! A filipino scientist as part of the US Science body!  That’s wonderful news and great for the Philippines as well and for the next generation of Filipinos!  Thanks goes to Good News Pilipinas for this story – see below:

Dr. Baldomero Olivera

Filipino biologist Dr. Baldomero Olivera has given the Philippines another international recognition in the field of the sciences.

Dr. Olivera is the first Filipino member of the United States National Academy of Sciences.

The NAS has 72 new members, including Olivera, and 18 foreign associates from 15 countries, bringing the total number of NAS active members to 2,150 and 404 foreign associates.

Olivera is a distinguished professor of biology at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City, Utah, USA.

NAS said the new members were elected “in recognition of their distinguished and continuing achievements in original research.”

NAS, established in 1863, is a private organization of scientists and engineers dedicated to the furtherance of science and its use for the general welfare.

Olivera is a corresponding member of the Philippine National Academy of Science and Technology (NAST). He graduated summa cum laude from the University of the Philippines (UP) in 1960 with a Bachelor of Science degree Major in Chemistry and finished his doctorate degree, also in Chemistry, from the California Institute of Technology in 1966.

Olivera received the Philippine Legion of Honor (Rank of Grand Officer or “Marangal na Pinuno”) Presidential Award given by President Arroyo in January 2008 in recognition of his significant contributions and and achievements in the field of marine science, including the 2007 Harvard Scientist of the Year given by Harvard University.

The multi-awarded scientist is famous for his research on neuropharmacology using the venom of conesnails, particularly his discovery on its “combination of drug therapy,” as it can lead its prey to a sedated, quiescent state.

One of his students who worked in his laboratory was able to develop a conesnail toxin which is now used to treat pain in cancer patients.

Consnails’ venom, which has been found to be as deadly as the king cobra, has the capability to paralyze its prey by interrupting communication between nerve and muscle and by blocking electrical signals in nerves. Seventy percent of untreated human stinging cases were found to be fatal.

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