UPLB expert first Filipino recipient of Japan's Young Asian Biotechnologist Prize

Published June 5, 2021, 1:24 PM

by Ellalyn De Vera-Ruiz


A researcher of the National Institute of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology (BIOTECH) has been named as a recipient of the Young Asian Biotechnologist Prize (2021) by the Society for Biotechnology, Japan (SBJ).

Dr. Rodney H. Perez, the first Filipino to receive the award, was recognized for his exemplary research in the fields of food microbiology, microbial technology, and biotechnology.

He has been studying and researching microorganisms and bacteriocins for the past 10 years.

“It is really a great honor to be the first Filipino recipient of this highly prestigious award. This award is a huge honor not just for me but also for my family, colleagues at BIOTECH, and even for the UPLB (University of the Philippines Los Baños) community, as well,” Perez said in a statement on the UPLB website.

Perez is set to receive the award at the 73rd SBJ Meeting on Oct. 27, 2021.

The Young Asian Biotechnologist Prize is given to scientists under 45 years of age who have outstanding achievements in the field of biotechnology in private or governmental organizations in Asia.

Perez is a senior university researcher at BIOTECH for the past five years.

He specializes in the study of bacteriocins and antimicrobial peptides that kill bacterial strains associated with food spoilage and food-borne infections.

The UPLB said his most notable scientific achievement is the elucidation of the biosynthetic mechanisms of multiple bacteriocins including a circular bacteriocin from a novel lactic acid bacterium.

“The COVID-19 (coronavirus disease) pandemic has made the implementation of research projects more difficult. This award is very important to me as a young scientist because this gives me an extra motivation, a needed push to continue working hard and be innovative in implementing my research activities, and finding ways to meet the objectives and targets of the project,” Perez said.

“The idea that my research will, one day, make a significant and meaningful impact on the lives of ordinary Filipinos, motivates me. This can only happen if I generate effective products out of my research, which I truly believe will happen in the very near future. Any award or recognition is just a bonus,” he added.

Perez graduated cum laude in BS Food Technology from the Visayas State University in 2004.

He finished his Ph.D. in Microbial Technology and MS in Bioscience and Biotechnology from Kyushu University in Japan in 2014.