Title of Talk:  Alternative Source of Energy: The Bioethanol Program of MMSU

Shirley Agrupis

President, Mariano Marcos State University

Shirley C. Agrupis is a professor and the current President of Mariano Marcos State University. A seasoned researcher, she has various awards, the most recent being the prestigious William D. Dar Research Leadership Award from the Philippine Association of Research Managers. She was also recognized as Most Outstanding Ilocano 2019 for varied achievements as an educational leader, and received the Gantimpala Agad Award from the Civil Service Commission for leading MMSU in producing alcohol as disinfectant at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. As research project leader, she steered various research projects on bioethanol, which eventually paved the way for the establishment of the National Bionergy Research and Innovation Center at MMSU. Prior to her appointment as MMSU President she also served as MMSU’s Director for External Affairs and Partnerships (EAP). It was during this time that she started a fruitful and dynamic acquaintance with Dr. Joey Comiso, who was then one of the MMSU’s first DOST Balik-Scientists. 


Title of Talk: Conservation of Marine and Terrestrial Ecosystems in the Philippines Based on Select Cases

Lemnuel Aragones

Director & Professor, IESM UP Diliman

Lem V Aragones is currently the Director and a Professor in the Institute of Environmental Science & Meteorology (IESM), University of the Philippines, Diliman, Quezon City. His main research interest is on marine mammals, particularly dolphins, whales, and dugongs. He received his PhD from James Cook University in 1998 under the supervision of Professor Helene Marsh. Before his stint at UPD, he served also as a faculty member in the Institute of Biological Sciences at UPLB for 15 years. In 2001, Lem received the Outstanding Young Scientist Award from the National Academy of Science & Technology for his major contributions on dugong and sea turtles research. He has been with IESM since 2006 and has expanded his research concerns from marine to terrestrial. As Director of IESM, he has hosted Dr. Joey Comiso in various capacities: as visiting professor, ‘balik’ scientist as well adjunct professor. Recently, he collaborated with Dr. Comiso on examining the implementation of the National Greening Program in the northern Philippines using satellite data.



Title of Talk: Glocal Monitoring with remote sensing and SNS 

Kohei Cho

Executive Director & Professor, Tokai University Research & Information Center

Kohei Cho finished his master course on remote sensing at Chiba University in 1981. After working for ten years at the Remote Sensing Technology Center of Japan, he joined Tokai University. He has been the General Secretary of the Asian Association on Remote Sensing (AARS) since 2009, and has published more than 100 papers on remote sensing in national and international journals and proceedings. He also co-authored 15 books on remote sensing and image processing. His scientific interest includes, but not limited to sea ice monitoring using passive microwave sensors and disaster monitoring from space. For many years, he has worked with Dr. Joey Comiso on sea ice monitoring using the Japanese passive microwave sensors AMSR, AMSR-E, and AMSR2. Prof. Cho is also leading the Glocal (combination of ‘global’ and ‘local’) Monitoring Project. The main objective of the Glocal Monitoring Project is to integrate global monitoring using remote sensing with local monitoring using SNS for disaster monitoring. He is conducting this project with international cooperation, including the University of the Philippines, Diliman.



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Title of Talk: Microbial Symbionts of Shipworms Thriving in Unique Habitats:

OMICS & Drug Discovery

Gisela Concepcion

Emeritus Professor, UP Diliman / President, Philippine-American Association of Scientists and Engineers

Gisela P. Concepcion is President of the Philippine-American Academy of Science & Engineering or PAASE, an organization that consists of over 380 Ph.D. scientists and engineers and M.D.s of Philippine descent based in the Philippines, the U.S.A, and other countries. Dr. Concepcion was recently named Professor Emeritus of the University of the Philippines. She retired in December 2019 as Professor of The Marine Science Institute in UP Diliman where she taught graduate courses and led research programs on marine biodiversity and marine natural products drug discovery, and for which she has produced numerous publications with collaborators on anticancer, anti-infective, and neuroactive marine compounds in international, peer-reviewed journals. She was ranked Scientist 3 in UP's Scientific Productivity System; she became an Academician of the National Academy of Science & Technology or NAST in 2008, and a Fellow of The World Academy of Sciences or TWAS in 2015. She ran a weekly column called STAR SCIENCE in the newspaper The Philippine Star for 10 years to help improve science literacy in the country. Dr. Concepcion also served as Vice President for Academic Affairs or VPAA of the University of the Philippines System from Feb. 2011 to Feb. 2016. 


Title of Talk: Why worry about Philippine sustainability?

Lourdes Cruz

Emeritus Professor, UP Diliman / National Scientist, National Academy of Science and Technology

Lourdes J Cruz is a National Scientist of NAST, Professor Emeritus of the Marine Science Institute of UP Diliman and Scientist-in Residence of De La Salle University.  She is the Project Leader of the DOST-funded Future Earth Philippines Program that was implemented by NRCP in collaboration with NAST.  One of the two pioneers in the biochemical characterization of neuropeptides of Philippine Conus marine snail venoms, she has won several local awards and four international awards including the 2010 L’Oreal-UNESCO Award For Women in Science Award (FWIS), the IFS Sven Brohult Award, and the FASAS 2001 Asian Outstanding Scientist & Technologist Award.  She was President of the National Research Council of the Philippines in 2012-2014 and served as member of the Regional Committee for Asia and the Pacific of the International Council for Science (ICSU-RCAP) in 2012- 2018. She also helped in the establishment of the “Sustainability Initiative for the Marginal Seas of South and East Asia” (SIMSEA).  In 2001, she established the Rural LINC program to harness science and technology to help alleviate poverty in poor rural communities and indigenous tribes in Bataan through livelihood activities in conjunction with biodiversity conservation and reforestation activities.


Title of Talk: Rediscovering Laguna de Bay: An Introduction of the Book Dedicated to the Future Generations of Filipinos

Maria Victoria Espaldon

Professor, School of Environmental Science and Management or SESAM, UP Los Banos

Vicky Espaldon is UP Scientist III and Professor 12 at the School of Environmental Science and Management or SESAM, University of the Philippines Los Banos (UPLB).  She is former Vice Chancellor for Research and Extension, 2011-2014, former Dean of SESAM (2006-2011) and member of CHED Technical Committee for Environmental Science since 2007.  She is at the forefront of research in the area of climate change adaptation, human dimensions of environmental changes; social safeguards and impact assessment and ecosystem assessment. In 2015, she was awarded the UPLB Outstanding Researcher in the Social Sciences and the Environmental Science Award Special Citation by the National Academy of Science and Technology (NAST).  She has also been recipient of unique honor from colleagues in biodiversity conservation and has an endemic plant named after her—Hoya espaldoniana.  At present, she is Program Leader of DOST-PCAARRD-funded SARAi (Smarter Approaches to Reinvigorate Agriculture as an Industry), which aims to address climate change risks to agriculture using state of the art science and technologies in the country.

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Title of Talk: The On and Off Again Weddell Polynya

Arnold Gordon

Professor, Earth and Environmental Sciences and Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, Columbia University

Arnold L. Gordon, a Columbia University Professor, Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences and at Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, Palisades NY, is a field-going physical oceanographer, whose research is directed at the ocean's stratification, circulation and mixing and its place in the Earth's climate system. He investigates a diverse range of regions, from the cold Southern Ocean to the warm tropical seas of the Indian Ocean and Maritime Continent, and their linkage through interocean exchange.




Title of Talk: Impacts of Climate and Environmental Changes in the Mediterranean

Manfred Lange

Emeritus Professor, Energy, Environment and Water Research Center, Cyprus Institute, Cyprus

After serving as Director of the Arctic Center in Rovaniemi, Finland between 1992-1995 and as Professor of Geophysics at the University of Münster in Germany from 1995-2007, Manfred A. Lange was appointed as founding Director of the Energy, Environment and Water Research Center (EEWRC) at the Cyprus Institute in Nicosia, Cyprus ( He is currently Professor emeritus at EEWRC and Director of the Future Earth MENA Regional Center and the MENA Regional Nodal Office for the Global Land Programme. He serves on the Steering Committee of the Mediterranean Experts on Climate and Environmental Change (MedECC) and is a member of Future Earth’s Executive Leadership Team. His main research interests include the assessment of climate change impacts with a focus on water- and energy security, renewable energy sources and energy- and water use efficiency in the built environment.


Title of Talk: Change and variability in Antarctic sea ice: Implications and challenges

Rob Massom

Principal Research Scientist, Australian Antarctic Division, Australia

Rob Massom is a principal research scientist at the Australian Antarctic Division in Tasmania (Australia), studying the sea ice environment using satellite and other data.  His passion for polar research began in 1980 when he joined the Scott Polar Research Institute in Cambridge University (UK).  Since then, he has participated in 15 major sea-ice field research campaigns in both the Arctic and Antarctic. Following his PhD in 1989, he was very fortunate to spend 3 wonderful years as a postdoctoral research fellow at NASA Goddard Space Flight in the USA where he was mentored by Dr Comiso (to whom he owes a great deal).  His ongoing adventure then took him to Tasmania, where he now leads cross-disciplinary sea-ice research activities within the Australian Antarctic Program.

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Title of Talk: A Satellite Record of Arctic Sea Ice

Claire Parkinson

Senior Scientist, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

Claire Parkinson is a climate scientist at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, where she has worked since July 1978. Her research has centered on sea ice and climate change, using satellite passive-microwave data and, to a lesser extent, computer modeling. Since 1993, she has also been Project Scientist for the Earth-observing Aqua satellite, launched in 2002. She is a member of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences and has written books on satellite Earth observations, climate change, and the history of science. She has known and worked with Dr. Joey Comiso since her first month at NASA in 1978.



Title of Talk: What can we learn from matching aerial and satellite data of sea ice with ground truth?

Peter Wadhams

Emeritus Professor, Applied Maths and Theoretical Physics, Cambridge University

Peter Wadhams is Emeritus Professor of Ocean Physics at the Dept of Applied Maths and Theoretical Physics at Cambridge University. Before that he was Director of the Scott Polar Research Institute. He has worked with Joey for many years going back to the 1970s, and his work focuses on sea ice properties and thickness (including submarine voyages to the Arctic), and on the validation of satellite passive microwave data. At present he is a visiting professor at Turin Polytechnic, Italy.