Dr. Claro N. Mingala is one of the recipients of this year’s Outstanding Young Scientist (OYS) award in recognition of his significant studies on the immunology of water buffaloes by evaluating the immune responses at the molecular level, providing the baseline information necessary for the development of DNA-based technologies in the production of vaccines, diagnostic tools, and therapeutic agents. The said award, spearheaded by the National Academy of Science and Technology, Philippines (NAST Phl) is given to young individuals not more than 40 years old (in the year of the award) who has made significant contributions to science and technology. His studies also include epidemiological assessment and diagnostic identification of important water buffalo diseases such as Trypanosomiasis, Mastitis, Cryptosporidiosis and viral diseases.
His career started as an animal health consultant in UNIVET, a private veterinary pharmaceutical company. He joined the Philippine Carabao Center (PCC) in 1996 and stayed with the agency holding various positions such as technical staff in PMED, GIP coordinator, Animal Health coordinator, ISO Lead Auditor and as JICA-WBBCIP project counterpart expert before his graduate studies in Japan in 2004.
Dr. Mingala’s studies aim to elucidate the differences in the immune responses of swamp-and riverine-type water buffaloes. He did an initial epidemiological survey followed by analysis of cytokine expression dynamics and evaluation of possible effects of nucleotide polymorphisms in the cytokine expression. This molecule-epidemiological and immunological study is a comparative evaluation of the pathogen-host immune system interaction and disease progression between swamp-and-riverine water buffaloes. It is feasible that the identified polymorphisms include additional control elements such as modifiers or enhancers that explain water buffalo could be more disease tolerant than the riverine-type water buffalo.
The identification of genetic factors, .which influence disease resistance and susceptibility may lead to development and wise formulation of an effective disease prevention and control strategies to increase production and propagation of water buffaloes. Suffice to say that identification of a more resistant or tolerant species to diseases would be more economically viable especially to rural farming communities and the whole livestock industry of the country.
He participated in various trainings locally and abroad sponsored by JICA (Japan), MTCP (Malaysia), FAO-APHCA, and OIE. Recently, he participated in the WHO/TDR Protocol Development Workshop in Nairobi, Kenya. He is an a.ctive member of the Philippine Veterinary Medical Association, the Philippine Society of Animal Science, the Philippine College of Ruminant Practitioners, the Nueva Ecija Veterinary Medical Association, Society for the Advancement of Veterinary Education and Research and mthe Asia Pacific – International Molecular Biology Network.
Dr. Mingala earned his Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) and Master of Veterinary Studies (MVSt) at the Central Luzon State University under the CSC MS Local Scholarship Program, and his Ph.D. in Veterinary Science at the Graduate School of Veterinary Medicine in Hokkaido University, Japan under the Monbukagakusho (Japanese Government) Scholarship Grant. He specializes in the field of large ruminant immunology, epidemiology, and virology.
Currently, he is doing collaborative researches with the RITM and WHO/ TDR on Schistosomiasis vaccine studies, the Japanese Center for Zoonoses Control on Mycobacterium TB research and the US-PL480 funding on Animal Health Biotechnology capacitation. Luningning Samarita, Executive Director, NAST