UP professor awarded for groundbreaking crop research

MANILA, Philippines — A professor from the University of the Philippines Los Baños was conferred in late September the Crop Science Society of the Philippines Honorary Fellow for his pioneering breeding research and contributions to crop science.

Glenn Gregorio, director of the Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture, has been teaching at UP Los Baños for almost two decades. He is a UP Los Baños professor since 2018.

As a senior plant breeder at the International Rice Research Institute between 2009 and 2015, Gregorio led the development of at least 20 rice varieties tolerant to abiotic stresses.

His studies on genetics and molecular mapping for salinity tolerance were instrumental in producing the first batches of salt-tolerant rice varieties in the Philippines, as well as other countries in Asia and Africa.

The iron-enhanced rice variety developed by Gregorio and his team were proven to significantly boost the total body iron levels in the blood of women.

Iron is vital in blood production and is needed to produce hemoglobin, a protein in red blood cells that delivers oxygen to the rest of the body.

Gregorio was awarded during the 25th Federation of Crop Science Societies in the Philippines and first Federation of Plant Science Associations of the Philippines Scientific Conference in Davao City on September 19.

Gregorio said that being honored with a prestigious award may intimidate someone from making the same bold risks, but he swore to continue making strides in new directions.

"[S]ucceed or fail, we always learn. Explore, dare, be different and take risks for the sake of science," Gregorio said.

He also told young crop scientists not to be discouraged by the failure and disappointment that come with experimentation.

"[C]ontinue to explore and enjoy, to try and to be ready, to fail and learn from it," he said.

"But, at the same time, be patient. Perseverance is the key."