United Nations selects USC research team for exclusive fellowship program

The United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA) selected a joint team from the University of San Carlos (USC) and its SVD sister school, Holy Name University (HNU), as the recipient of the HyperGES Programme, a capacity-building fellowship related to space education and research. 

The joint team is composed of Rommel G. Bacabac, Ph.D., a full professor at the USC Department of Physics, Hyacinth N. Suarez, Ph.D. (HNU), Mary Diane A. Pilapil (USC), and Mark Adones P. Lingaro (USC).

Dr. Bacabac is also the program leader of the USC Medical Biophysics Group (MBG) Center for Tissue Engineering and Biological Soft Materials, which is designated as a Niche Center for Research in the Regions (NICER) by the Philippines Department of Science and Technology.

MBG Program Leader Dr. Rommel Bacabac (main photo) heads the joint team for HG-CELLS. He is joined by (at right, from the top) Dr. Hyacinth Suarez, Mary Diane Pilapil, and Mark Adones Lingaro.

As the team leader, Dr. Bacabac expressed his gratitude for the opportunity to perform their HG-CELLS. “The design of our intended experiment is based on the collaborative effort of our institutions, which highlights a direction for developing functional materials from our marine resources, while using appropriately chosen technologies that are inherently inter-disciplinary. This impacts the way we will do research from now on,” Dr. Bacabac opined. “We hope to inspire many young minds in our community, recruit more students to continue being curious, and find more industry partners to continue developing relevant technologies using our very own rich resources.”

Meanwhile, UNOOSA Director Aarti Holla Maina shared her excitement for USC’s research team to conduct hypergravity experiments at the Large Diameter Centrifuge (LDC) facility at the European Space Research and Technology Centre (ESTEC) of the European Space Agency (ESA) located in The Netherlands. “I am excited to select the joint team from the Philippines, which has a very interesting idea with a concrete link to improving bone implant technology and contributing to a better life here on Earth,” said Director Maina. 

The European Space Agency will also be supporting USC’s research team. “As ESA we are pleased that we can contribute to wider global education and space technology-related developments through this UNOOSA-ESA HyperGES programme. The selected team will be supported during the preparations for this study, with our ESA gravity experts providing assistance during the remote and hands-on execution of the work,” ESA’s European Space Research and Technology Centre (ESTEC) Director of Technology, Engineering and Quality Dietmar Pilz said. 

USC has also expressed its support. According to Fr. President Francisco Antonio T. Estepa, this opportunity will inspire future scientists and researchers. 

“We are delighted that UNOOSA and ESA are supporting our experiment HG-CELLS for testing the adaptation of bone cells to hypergravity, attached to 3D-printed scaffolds,” Fr. Estepa said. “This experiment will use locally produced biomaterials and will inspire future generations of young scientists in our community.”

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