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The Department of Biology of Ateneo de Manila University in Katipunan Ave., Quezon City hosted this year’s PSM Cluster 2 symposium. Held at the Ricardo and Dr. Rosita Leong Hall last January 19, 2013 with the theme

Harnessing Microbes as Catalysts of Industrial Development and Environmental Sustainability”

the symposium brought together seven distinguished speakers from the academe and research institutions. Dr. Leslie Michelle M. Dalmacio of UP Manila and a NAST Outstanding Young Scientist, talked about the microbiome perspective in health and diseases. Two speakers explored the microbes in our aquatic environment. Prof. Mary Ann G. Santos, M.Sc., discussed the interactions between toxic dinoflagellates and their associated bacteria while Dr. Rey Donne S. Papa introduced to us the zooplanktons in limnic ecosystems. Both were faculty members of the University of Santo Tomas. The least explored group of Archaea in Philippines and their genetic manipulation were presented to the participants by Dr.  Rina B. Opulencia of IBS-CAS, UPLB. Two speakers highlighted the importance of microorganisms to the industry.  Prof. Olivia C. Emata, MSc, DPAM, from DTRI, UPLB presented ways to harness microbes for the dairy industry while Dr. Delia C. Ontengco, FPAM, of ICCT Colleges Foundation and UST Graduate School, talked about the relationship between microbes and the pharmaceutical industry. One of the highlights of this year’s cluster 2 symposium is an American Society for Microbiology (ASM) co-sponsored webinar on emerging trends in environmental microbiology. The lecture was delivered live via the internet by Prof.  James M. Tiedje, Ph.D., Treasurer of American Society of Microbiology and University Distinguished Professor of Microbial Ecology at the Center for Microbial Ecology, Michigan State University, USA. This is the first time PSM held a live webinar to invite distinguished and world-renowned speakers from the international scientific community to talk about relevant topics and updates in the fast-growing field of microbiology. This year’s cluster 2 symposium was indeed a major success with 290 participants. Twelve members upgraded their membership to life. Sixty eight new members also joined the society.