A Biological Engineering graduate of Mapúa Institute of Technology placed first among five finalists during the Magsaysay Future Engineers/Technologists Award of the National Academy of Science and Technology last December 5.
Jacqueline De Vera, a Biological Engineering graduate, researched on solutions to biofouling problems common among biomaterials.
Jacqueline S. De Vera was able to win the top prize with her winning research paper entitled Self-cleaning surface control of Polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) grafted-onto pH-sensitive Zwitterionic Poly(GMA-SBMA-DMAEMA) Copolymer, a research aiming to solve the biofouling problem common among biomaterials seeking application on medical devices. Dr. Lemmuel Tayo, head of the Biological Engineering program of the School of Chemical Engineering and Chemistry, served as De Vera’s adviser. Two other Mapúans, Victor J. Lau Jr. and Gregory Emmanuel J. Mendoza, were also among the finalists.
Biofouling is the nonspecific adsorption of proteins, cells and microorganisms onto the material surface hindering the performance and efficiency of a biomaterial, in this case the PDMS.
“To solve the biofouling problem, I took a thin film layer of the PDMS membrane and turned it into a surface that resists contamination or a self-cleaning surface,” De Vera said. Self-cleaning surfaces resist adhesion to contamination by simply washing the material with a high pH solution.
De Vera presents her paper Self-cleaning surface control of Polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) grafted-onto pH-sensitive Zwitterionic Poly(GMA-SBMA-DMAEMA) Copolymer during the Magsaysay Future Engineers/Technologists Award of the National Academy of Science and Technology at Luxent Hotel, Quezon City.
“The main highlight of my research is the self-cleaning surface’s performance against E. Coli bacteria,” she added. Due to the biomaterial’s ability to resist microorganisms, it will become reusable thus it will become cost-effective, De Vera’s research showed.
“Taking advantage of the principle of reusability and cost effectiveness, this can be applied to other PDMS materials used in the medical field such as in micro tubing, skin grafting and implants, among others,” De Vera said.
De Vera’s research is just one of the research projects on membrane technology being done in Mapúa, wherein membranes are developed for applications in environmental engineering, science, and biomedical engineering.
In December 2014, Mapúa signed a five-year memorandum of agreement with the Center for Membrane Technology of the Chung Yuan Christian University (CMT-CYCU). Under the MOA, Mapúa and CMT-CYCU will do collaborative research, joint publications, shared intellectual property, use of equipment, and exchanges of student and faculty researchers.
The Institute also established a partnership with the KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm, Sweden for membrane research on seaweed and bamboo.