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Dr. Marian P. De Leon, Director, Museum of Natural History, University of the Philippines Los Baños

Dr. Marian P. De Leon 
Director
Museum of Natural History
University of the Philippines Los Baños

"Fulfilling responsibilities with pride to Grow Locally and Globally"

Dr. Marian P. De Leon, a Registered Microbiologist (RMicro) and Certified Biosafety Officer (CBO), completed her PhD at the Department of Material and Life Science of Osaka University’s Graduate School of Engineering in 2008.

 

Searching for new lines of antibiotics for emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases in her home country

After completing her PhD at OU, Dr. De Leon was recognized and awarded a Special Citation by the National Academy of Science and Technology of the Philippines in the Talent Search for Young Scientists for her research at OU on protein engineering of Tk-subtilisin from hyperthermophilic archaeon. She devoted herself to the pursuit of research on caves in the Philippines and their microbial diversity in hopes of producing new lines of antibiotics for emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases in the country. This pioneering work led to strong collaborations and partnerships with high profile experts from numerous research institutes both locally and internationally. Holding positions as an academic member at universities such as the University of the Philippines Los Baños and Osaka University, Dr. De Leon has also worked diligently to mentor young scientists.

 

Serving her university and her country as a scientist, educator, and administrator

Looking back on her days at OU,
Dr. De Leon appreciates the learning and challenges she experienced in her graduate pursuits at Osaka University, as they lead to her growth both as a person and as a professional. Her discipline to persevere, her commitment to see tasks through, her passion to learn, and her drive to push forward are just some of the values she gained while studying in Japan. These, along with Japanese core values like respect for superiors and working harmoniously in a group while knowing and understanding one’s roles and responsibilities, are the values she strives to live by today.

As the 12th Director of the University of Philippines Museum of Natural History (UPLB MNH), she oversees museum operations while serving as a university researcher and curator of the Microbial Culture Collection, training and mentoring researchers and students from both inside and outside of the university. It is her belief that each position she holds, both as a research and as an administrator, has its own mission and sense of fulfilment. As a researcher and scientist, she explores the potential and applications of rarely- and barely-seen microbes, while as an administrator, her role is to see the bigger picture of how the potential of each person can be fully developed and put toward common goals, such as protecting the UPLB MNH‘s priceless natural heritage collections, conserving biodiversity, mentoring future scientists and researchers, and creating a community with appreciation for science and nature, all of which are reflected in UPLB MNH’s mission: “Bringing nature closer to people, and bringing people close to nature.”

 

"To my dear young fellows - If given a chance to work globally,
grab the opportunity and take it as a gift!"

Here’s an inspiring message from Dr. De Leon to students and junior colleagues who are about to take flight into a globalizing society:

If you are given the chance to work in global market or organizations, grab the opportunity and take it as gift. It is a gift to learn and explore other inspiring and new cultures, a gift to know who you are and what you can do best for others, a gift to love and appreciate yourself and what you have, a gift to know and have new friends who can be your collaborators or partners and a gift to make yourself a better person, a better researcher, and a better leader. Do not take setbacks as delays to your plans; these are just part of the preparations necessary to welcome something bigger and better. Learn, live, and love each day!

All photos courtesy of Mr. Florante A Cruz

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