Pursuant to RA 11035 “Balik Scientist Act” administered by the Department of Science and Technology (DOST), the Partido State University is fortunate to host its first Balik Scientist, Dr. Irene B. Rodriguez. The aim is to reinforce the research culture at PSU by capacitating faculty researchers with working skills along with Marine Biology and its allied programs and to promote sustainable utilization and management of coastal and marine resources. It will be attained by mentoring faculty researchers in packaging research proposals, developing publishable research-based manuscripts, and conceptualizing science-driven community extension projects that are relevant to the communities served by PSU. Dr. Rodriguez will also contribute to the network expansion of the University’s faculty researchers. It is expected that continuous exposure to the said network can further enhance the capacity of the faculty researchers in their respective fields of specialization.
Dr. Rodriguez is a long-term Balik Scientist Program (BSP) Awardee. She started her stint as Balik Scientist in 2019 with University of the Philippines Diliman Marine Science Institute (UP-MSI) as the host institution. At present, she is an Associate Professor at the same institution where she leads, among others, the establishment of the Metallomics and Inorganic Biogeochemistry Facility for Research and Development. Her research interest at UP-MSI will aid in the better understanding of the “cellular metal economy” in micro- and macroalgae and may be used to develop platforms for sustainable bio-based applications. The extension of her BSP Award for another year starting this September 2021 is co-hosted by UP-MSI and Partido State University since part of her objective is to establish a collaborative network between these two institutions.
Prior to her engagement as Balik Scientist, Dr. Rodriguez was a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Research Center for Environmental Changes in Academia Sinica, Taipei, Taiwan. Her postdoctoral training has exposed her to international experts on the GEOTRACES program—an international collaboration of scientists working on trace metal cycling, distribution, and isotopic fractionation. She is a graduate of Dr. rer. nat. Chemistry at Karl-Franzens University Graz, Graz, Austria. She took her MSc in Chemistry at the University of the Philippines Diliman and BSc in Chemistry at the University of the Philippines Los Baños. Her areas of expertise are Marine Biogeochemistry, Metallomics, Environmental Analytical Chemistry, and Environmental Biotechnology.