DOST-PCHRD MD-PhD scholars continue research overseas amid pandemic

Department of Science and Technology- Philippine Council for Health Research and Development (DOST-PCHRD) MD-PhD in Molecular Medicine scholars presented updates on their dissertations during the first MD-PhD Sandwich Program Colloquium held online last 8 September 2020.

The MD-PhD in Molecular Medicine Program is a joint initiative between DOST-PCHRD and the University of the Philippines Manila (UPM) which aims to train aspiring physician-scientists for careers dedicated to the advancement of health through biomedical research.

To encourage students to conduct their research in universities abroad and expose them to international research environments, the DOST-PCHRD offers grant support to qualifying students through the Sandwich Program.  Currently, there are nine MD-PhD scholars under the Sandwich program who are completing their research in different universities abroad. 

The DOST hopes to strengthen the country’s human resource in the field of health R&D through these capacity building efforts. “We believe that investing in the human resource for health will contribute to the country’s national development programs, global competitiveness, and economic development,” said DOST Undersecretary for Research and Development Rowena Cristina Guevara. 

Recognizing the pressing need to build a robust and competent health research community in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, DOST-PCHRD Executive Director Dr. Jaime Montoya expressed the Council’s commitment in supporting the scholars through the Sandwich program. “We know that all of you have the biggest potential to be researchers of the future,” Dr. Montoya said in his message to the scholars.

With the addition of seven new scholars last August 2020, MD-PhD in Molecular Medicine program coordinator Dr. Lesilie Michelle Dalmacio hopes that the works of the ongoing scholars will serve as a guide for the new batch in looking for their niche in health research. She then recognized the resilience displayed by the scholars saying, “The continuation of your research and for completing your research during this challenging time gives us more confidence that you will be leaders in health research in the country.”

To date, the MD-PhD program has produced 15 graduates and is currently supporting 32 scholars from batches seven to ten.