Physics faculty honored at University Scholarly Work Awards 2018


From left to right: University President Fr. Jose Ramon T. Villarin, SJ, Physics Department Chair Dr. Raphael A. Guerrero, Dr. James Bernard B. Simpas, Dr. Ma. Obiminda L. Cambaliza, Dr. Christian Lorenz S. Mahinay, Dr. Michael R. Mananghaya, SOSE OIC Dean Dr. Nina Rosario L. Rojas, and Loyola Schools Vice-President Dr. Maria Luz C. Vilches.

by Quirino Sugon Jr

Last 08 May 2018, 3:00 pm, 8 Physics faculty members received the Scholarly Work Publications Awards in categories A1 (PHP 50,000) and A2 (PHP 35,000) during the University Scholarly Work Awards 2018 at Room 413 Convergence Technology Center (CTC 413) of Ateneo de Manila University. The awardees are Dr. Joseph Raphael R. Bunao (1 + 0), Dr. Ma. Obiminda O. Cambaliza (8 + 0), Mr. Ivan C. Culaba (0 + 1),  Dr. Raphael A. Guerrero (3 + 1), Dr. Christian Lorenz S. Mahinay (0 + 1), Dr. Michael R. Mananghaya (3 + 0), Dr. Gemma Teresa T. Narisma (2 + 0), and Dr. James Bernard B. Simpas (1 + 0) (Table 1).  Their research papers may be grouped according to 5 different fields: Theoretical Physics (1 + 0), Atmospherics (10 + 0), Photonics (3 + 1), Vacuum Coating and Plasma (0 + 1), and Materials Science (3 + 0) (Table 2).

  • Category A1 (50,000 PHP). Peer-reviewed research article, or literary/creative work (short story, creative non-fiction or essay, play, or poetry, including translations of these) published in a journal and indexed in the Thomson Reuters (ISI) and in the Scopus database. Peer-reviewed books, including literary/creative single-author novel or anthology (of short stories, creative non-fiction or essays, plays, or poetry, including translations of these), published by a reputable international publisher and indexed in the Thomson Reuters (lSI).
  • Category A2 (35,000 PHP). Peer-reviewed books, literary/creative single-author novel or anthology (of short stories, creative non-fiction or essays, plays, or poetry, including translations of these), published by a reputable national publisher. In cases where the book is subsequently included in the lSI and Scopus Indices, an additional cash award of P15,OOO will be given to the author/authors following guideline C.1.d on eligibility. • Per article included in peer-reviewed conference proceedings (for oral presentations only).

Overall, for Publication Category A1, the Physics Department published 17 papers from 8 faculty members out of 89 distinct authors, which gives a faculty per paper ratio of 0.47 and an author per paper ratio of 5.24. On the other hand, for Publication Category A2, the department published 2 papers from 3 faculty members out of 5 distinct authors, which gives a faculty per paper ratio of 1.50 and an authors per paper ratio of 2.50. (Table 3)


Faculty Category A1 Category A2
Bunao 1 0
Cambaliza 8 0
Culaba 0 1
Guerrero 3 1
Mahinay 0 1
Mananghaya 3 0
Narisma 2 0
Simpas 1 0

Table 1. Number of papers published per publication category for each Physics faculty

Research Area Category A1 Category A2
Theoretical Physics 1 0
Atmospheric Science 10 0
Photonics 3 1
Vacuum Coating & Plasma 0 1
Materials Science 3 0

Table 2. Number of papers published per publication category for each Physics research area

Category Papers Faculty Authors Faculty per Paper Authors per Paper
A1 17 8 89 0.47 5.24
A2 2 3 15 1.50 2.50

Table 3. Number of papers published, number of all publishing faculty, number of authors for all papers, number of faculty members per paper, and number of authors per paper for each publication category


1. Dr. Joseph Raphael R. Bunao

  • Bunao, J.R. (2017). Spacetime quanta?: the discrete spectrum of a quantum spacetime four-volume operator in unimodular loop quantum cosmology. Classical and Quantum Gravity, 34, 035003. [Category: A1]

2. Dr. Maria Obiminda R. Cambaliza

  • Richardson, S.J., Miles, N.L., Davis, K.J., Lauvaux, T., Martins, D.K., Turnbull, J.C., McKain, K., Sweeney, C., Cambaliza, M.O.L. (2017/10). Tower measurement network of in-situ CO2, CH4, and CO in support of the Indianapolis FLUX (INFLUX) Experiment. Elementa Science of the Anthropocene, 5: 59. [Category: A1]
  • Salmon, O.E., Shepson, P.B., Ren, X., Marquardt Collow, A.B., Miller, M.A., Carlton, A.G., Cambaliza, M.O.L., Heimburger, A., Morgan, K.L., Fuentes, J.D., Stirm, B.H., Grundman, R., II, Dickerson, R.R. (2017/09). Urban emissions of water vapor in winter. Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres, 122(17), 9467-9484. [Category: A1]
  • Lavoie, T.N., Shepson, P.B., Cambaliza, M.O.L., Stirm, B.H., Conley, S., Mehrotra, S., Faloona, I.C., Lyon, D. (2017/07). Spatiotemporal Variability of Methane Emissions at Oil and Natural Gas Operations in the Eagle Ford Basin. Environmental Science and Technology, 51(14), 8001-8009. [Category: A1]
  • Cambaliza, MOL, Bogner, JE, Green, RB, Shepson, PB, Harvey, TA, Spokas, KA, Stirm, BH, Corcocan, M. (2017/07). Field measurements and modeling to resolve m2 to km2 CH4 emissions for a complex urban source: An Indiana landfill study. Elementa Science of the Anthropocene, 5: 36. [Category: A1]
  • Miles, N.L., Richardson, S.J., Lauvaux, T., Davis, K.J., Balashov, N.V., Deng, A., Turnbull, J.C., Sweeney, C., Gurney, K.R., Patarasuk, R., Razlivanov, I., Cambaliza, M.O.L., Shepson, P.B. (2017). Quantification of urban atmospheric boundary layer greenhouse gas dry mole fraction enhancements in the dormant season: Results from the Indianapolis Flux Experiment (INFLUX). Elementa, 5, Article number 27. [Category: A1]
  • Heimburger, A.M.F., Harvey, R.M., Shepson, P.B., Stirm, B.H., Gore, C., Turnbull, J.C., Cambaliza, M.O.L., Salmon, O.E., Kerlo, A.-E.M., Lavoie, T.N., Davis, K.J., Lauvaux, T., Karion, A., Sweeney, C., Brewer, W.A., Hardesty, R.M., Gurney, K.R. (2017/06). Assessing the optimized precision of the aircraft mass balance method for measurement of urban greenhouse gas emission rates through averaging. Elementa, 5, Article number 26. [Category: A1]
  • Davis, K.J., Deng, A., Lauvaux, T., Miles, N.L., Richardson, S.J.,Sarmiento, D.P., Gurney, K.R., Hardesty, R.M., Bonin, T.A., Brewer, W.A., Lamb, B.K., Shepson, P.B., Harvey, R.M., Cambaliza, M.O., Sweeney, C., Turnbull, J.C., Whetstone, J., Karion, A. (2017/05). The Indianapolis Flux Experiment (INFLUX): A test-bed for developing urban greenhouse gas emission measurements. Elementa, 5, Article number 21. [Category: A1]
  • Kecorius, S., Madueño, L., Vallar, E., Alas, H., Betito, G., Birmili, W., Cambaliza, M.O., Catipay, G., Gonzaga-Cayetano, M., Galvez, M.C., Lorenzo, G., Müller, T., Simpas, J.B., Tamayo, E.G., Wiedensohler, A. (2017). Aerosol particle mixing state, refractory particle number size distributions and emission factors in a polluted urban environment: Case study of Metro Manila, Philippines. Atmospheric Environment. 170, 169-183. [Category: A1]

3. Ivan B. Culaba

  • Penado, K.N.M., Mahinay, C.L.S., Culaba, I.B. (2018/01). Effect of atmospheric plasma treatment on seed germination of rice (Oryza sativa L.). Japanese Journal of Applied Physics, 57(1), Article number 01AG08. [Category: A2]

4. Dr. Raphael A. Guerrero

  • Asuncion, A.J., Guerrero, R. A., (2017/05). Generating superimposed Bessel beams with a volume holographic axicon. Applied Optics, 56(14), 4206-4212. Pada, C.T., Guerrero, R.A., (2017/05). Fluid-enhanced tunable diffraction with an elastomeric grating. Optical Engineering, 56(5), Article number 054101. [Category: A1]
  • Patacsil, C., Calupitan, J.P., Enriquez, E., Guerrero, R.A., (2017). Electrowetting Actuation of Polydisperse Nanofluid Droplets. Advances in Materials Science and Engineering, Volume 2017, Article number 2532173. [Category: A1]
  • Guerrero, R.A., Pada, C.T. (2017). Transmission mode of a deformable diffraction grating with a refracting fluid layer. Optics InfoBase Conference Papers Volume Part F50-Freeform 2017, 2p. [Category: A2]

5. Dr. Christian Lorenz S. Mahinay

  • Penado, Mahinay, and Culaba 2018. (See Ivan B. Culaba) [Category: A2]

6. Dr. Michael R. Mananghaya

  • Mananghaya, M.R. Santos, G.N., Yu, D.N., Stampfl, C. (2017/12). Hydrogen Adsorption on Nearly Zigzag-Edged Nanoribbons: A Density Functional Theory Study. Scientific Reports, 7(1), Article number 15727. [Category: A1]
  • Mananghaya, M.R. Santos, G.N., Yu, D.N., (2017/09). Solubility of amide functionalized single wall carbon nanotubes: A quantum mechanical study. Journal of Molecular Liquids, 242, 1208-1214. [Category: A1]
  • Mananghaya, M.R. Santos, G.N., Yu, D.N., (2017/08). Nitrogen substitution and vacancy mediated scandium metal adsorption on carbon nanotubes. Adsorption Journal of International Adsorption Society, 23(6), 789-797.

7. Dr. Gemma Teresa T. Narisma

  • Cruz, F.T., Narisma, G.T., Dado, J.B., Singhruck, P., Tangang, F., Linarka, U.A., Wati, T., Juneng, L., Phan-Van, T., Ngo-Duc, T., Santisirisomboon, J., Gunawan, D., Aldrian, E. (2017/12). Sensitivity of temperature to physical parameterization schemes of RegCM4 over the CORDEX-Southeast Asia region. International Journal of Climatology, 37(15), 5139-5153.
  • Ngo-Duc, T., Tangang, F.T., Santisirisomboon, J., Cruz, F., Trinh-Tuan, L., Nguyen-Xuan, T., Phan-Van, T., Juneng, L., Narisma, G., Singhruck, P., Gunawan, D., Aldrian, E. (2017/03). Performance evaluation of RegCM4 in simulating extreme rainfall and temperature indices over the CORDEX-Southeast Asia region. International Journal of Climatology, 37(3), 1634-1647.

8. Dr. James Bernard B. Simpas

  • Kecorius et al 2017. (See Dr. Maria Obiminda O. Cambaliza)

Distinguished Physics students recognized in SOSE Awards 2018


From left to right: 1. Dr. Marilou Vilches, Vice President for the Loyola Schools, 2. Dr. Raphael Guerrero, Chair of the Department of Physics, 3. Aliena Mari P. Miranda, BS Physics with Materials Science and Engineering, Honorable Mention, Departmental Awardee, 4. Dr. Evangeline P. Bautista, Dean of the School of Science and Engineering

by Quirino Sugon Jr

The School of Science and Engineering (SOSE) of Ateneo de Manila University held a Recognition Program for Distinguished Students last 22 May 2018, 4:00 PM, at the Convergent Technologies Center (CTC 413-414). The opening prayer was led by MS Atmospheric Science student Angela Monina T. Magnaye followed by the Opening Remarks by Loyola Schools Vice President Dr. Maria Luz C. Vilches.  The recognition ceremony proper has four categories, with one student chosen per category to give a response: (1) Renzo Ramirez (BSM AMF) for Student Athletes and Performers, (2) John Michael H. Bernil (BS Biology) for Competition Winners, (3) Neicy Marie F. Pilarca (BS MIS) for Student Leaders, and (4) Vanessa T. Siy Van (BS Health Science), Class Valedictorian and Summa Cum Laude, for Honor Students. Dr. Evangeline P. Bautista, Dean of the School of Science and Engineering, gave the Closing Remarks. Mr. Ronald Allan C. Cruz, Assistant Professor of the Department of Biology, served as emcee.

From the Department of Physics, 11 students received awards, consisting of 8 undergraduates and 2 graduate students. The Departmental Awardee is Ms. Aliena Mari P. Miranda (BS Applied Physics MSE), Honorable Mention of Class 2018 and Finalist of BPI-DOST Science Awards 2018. She served in the Council of Organizations of Ateneo (COA) as Cluster Head for Analysis and Discourse and as Vice President for Organizational Strategies and Research (2017-2018). She also served the Ateneo League of Physicists (LeaPs) as its Vice President for Internal Affairs (2016-2017) and President (2015-2016).

Below are the Message of the Dean, the Program of Activities, and the List of Awardees.


We congratulate all the students in this list as we recognize how each of you truly personifies the spirit of magis. The school of Science and Engineering is proud of how you have excelled in academics, research, leadership, competition and sports. It is thus with confidence and excitement that we let you, a relatively small group of scientists, mathematicians and engineers, loose in a country which is only beginning to truly appreciate the value of science and engineering. We trust that you will grow to be successful scientists and engineers and at the same time stay true to being what Ateneo molded you to be—men and women for others.

Evangeline P. Bautista, PhD
Dean, School of Science and Engineering


  • National Anthem
  • Opening Prayer: Angela Monina T. Magnaye, MS Atmospheric Science
  • Opening Remarks: Maria Luz C. Vilches, PhD, Vice-President for the Loyola Schools
  • Recognition of Student Athletes and Performers. Response: Renzo Ramirez, BS/M Applied Mathematics with Specialization in Mathematical Finance; Captain, Blue Babble Battallion
  • Recognition of Competition Winners. Response: John Michael H. Bernil, BS Biology, Young Entrepreneurs Society Philippines, 3rd Startup Summit, Finalist, 2018
  • Recognition of Student Leaders. Response: Neicy Marie F. Pilarca, BS Management Information Systems; SOSE Representative, Sanggunian ng mga Mag-aara ng mga Paaralang Loyola ng Pamantasang Ateneo de Manila
  • Recognition of Honor Students. Response: Vanessa T. Siy Van, BS Health Science, Valedictorian, Summa Cum Laude
  • Closing Remarks: Evangeline P. Bautista, PhD, Dean, School of Science and Engineering
  • Photo Opportunities
  • Emcee: Ronald Allan L. Cruz, Assistant Professor, Department of Biology


A. Student Athletes

B. Competition Winners

C. Student Leaders

Council of Organizations of Ateneo (COA)

  • Hakeem Jimenez (BS Physics): Science and Technology Cluster, Ex Team Project Head (2016-2017),
  • Aliena Mari P. Miranda (BS Applied Physics with Materials Science and Engineering): Analysis and Discourse Cluster, Cluster Head Vice President for Organization Strategies and Research (2017-2018)

Youth for Christ-Ateneo (YFC-A)

  • Kerwin G. Caballas (BS Physics): Associate Vice President for Evangelization (2015-2016), Vice President for Creatives (2016-2017)
  • Ralph Locsin (BS Physics): Associate Vice President for Special Projects (2016-2017)

Ateneo Blue Repertory (blueREP)

  • Keith Nealson M. Penado (BS Physics): Actor

Ateneo League of Physicists (Ateneo LeaPs)

  • Tarjata Angelika R. Conde (BS Physics): President (2016-2017)
  • Aliena Mari P. Miranda (BS Applied Physics with Materials Science and Engineering): Vice President for Internal Affairs (2016-2017), President (2015-2016)
  • Kim Nicole V. Pena (BS Physics): Vice President for Communications and Media (2017-2018)
  • Keith Nealson M. Penado (BS Physics): Vice President for Marketing (2016-2017)
  • Nymark Kho (BS Physics): Vice President for Marketing (2014-2015)

Ateneo Toushin

  • Ramon Rafael D. Tonato (BS Physics): Vice President for Creatives

D. Honor Students

Honorable Mention

  • Aliena Mari P. Miranda (BS Applied Physics with Materials Science and Engineering)

E. Scholars

Accelerated Science and Technology Human Resource Development Program

  • Darwin D. Perez (MS Atmospheric Science)

F. Departmental Recognition

Department of Physics

  • Aliena Mari P. Miranda (BS Applied Physics with Materials Science and Engineering)

Student awardees and faculty members of the Department of Physics of the School of Science and Engineering during the SOSE Awards 2018. Check out our other photos in our Facebook page.


BS Physics-MSE student Aliena Miranda of AdMU receives award at MSE Summit 2018 research fair in UP Diliman


Aliena Mari P. Miranda (BS Applied Physics-Materials Science Engineering, 2nd from the left) during the awarding ceremonies at the Materials Science & Engineering Summit 2018 at University of the Philippines-Diliman

by Quirino Sugon Jr.

Aliena Mari P. Miranda (5 BS Applied Physics with Materials Science Engineering) of Ateneo de Manila University was awarded Best in Oral Presentation (undergraduate cluster) at the Materials Science and Engineering Summit 2018 Research Fair held last 16-17 March 2018 at the Engineering Theater of the University of the Philippines-Diliman. Miranda’s research was entitled, “Green synthesis of Fe2O3/graphene and MnO2/graphene nanocomposites for supercapacitor electrodes,” under the supervision of Dr. Erwin P. Enriquez of the Department of Chemistry of Ateneo de Manila University. Of the five participants in the Research Fair,  four are from Ateneo de Manila University. The two-day summit, with the theme “Sinagtala: A Focus on the Innovations of Philippine Materials,” has four events: Olympiad, ProdExpo, Career talks, and Research Fair.

Below is an interview with Aliena Mari P. Miranda by Ateneo Physics News:

1. How did you arrive at Ateneo de Manila University from high school?

I’m from Pasig City Science High School. I entered the Applied Physics/MSE program because I was interested in working on nanotechnology. Studying in a science high school helped cultivate my interest in the sciences, and luckily I was granted a scholarship to the Ateneo so I could pursue this interest.

2. What is the significance of your research?

With rampant pollution and limited resources, there is high interest in producing energy storage using environmentally-friendly methods and abundant materials. One device of interest is the supercapacitor, which, unlike the conventional dielectric capacitor, makes use of an electrolyte separated by a porous membrane. The electrodes have to be conductive, and have to have a high surface area to increase the energy it stores. Metal oxides such as iron oxide and manganese oxide have high specific capacitances but they suffer from low conductivity and low surface area. To address this, these metal oxides can be deposited in nanoparticle form onto graphene to increase their surface area and conductivity. The research shows that effective supercapacitor electrodes made of metal oxide-graphene nanocomposites can be created using green synthesis methods such as direct exfoliation and microwave-assisted hydrothermal synthesis, addressing the need to replace energy-intensive methods and toxic reagents. It also shows that iron oxide and manganese oxide increase the specific capacitance of graphene as the nanocomposites had higher specific capacitances compared to plain graphene.

3. Is this research a continuation of your BS Applied Physics thesis?

This research isn’t a continuation of my BS Applied Physics thesis, so the toughest part was getting used to the lab protocols for working in a chemistry laboratory. Working in a chemistry laboratory taught me to be more meticulous with my work especially since the reagents and tools we were using could be expensive.

I did my Applied Physics thesis under Dr. Christian Mahinay at the Vacuum Coating and Plasma laboratory where I worked on the characterization of DC-magnetron argon plasma using a Langmuir probe that I designed. I decided to start a different study for my MSE thesis because I was interested in Dr. Enriquez’s work on supercapacitors. Luckily, Mark Cabello, a previous graduate student, had been working on creating metal oxide graphene nanocomposites but they were designed for dye-sensitized solar cells, so Dr. Enriquez advised me to work from there to develop supercapacitor electrodes.

4. What motivated you to join the contest?

I was motivated to join the contest because my friends and I joined the quiz bee in the same summit two years ago. Our professor in an MSE class, Dr. Jose Mario A. Diaz, told us we’d get bonus points if we won the quiz bee. Unfortunately, we didn’t win then, so I kept my eye on the summit and decided my MSE thesis was good material for the research fair. A block mate, and an org mate joined the research fair as well so we cheered for each other during the oral presentations.

Students should be encouraged to talk about their work with others so that they can get feedback from people other than their peers and teachers in their school. We got to interact with students from different universities and learn about their work, and it helped build this sense of community knowing that science is alive and well all around the country, although it could be better if more support was given and more resources were shared. One of the professors commented that I could approach them to use their facilities since I was having difficulties with characterization. Events like this MSE Summit gives me hope that science can flourish as a field in the Philippines.

5. Were you able to make it to the BPI-DOST awards?

Yes, I am one of the two awardees from the Ateneo to the BPI-DOST Science Awards. They decided to cut the nominees from three last year down to just two this year so the competition was tougher. I thought I wouldn’t make it because one of the panelists commented he didn’t understand my methodology, but somehow it worked out in the end. The results have not been announced online but we were emailed letters last week. The other awardee is Kariz Bautista, a fourth year BS Chemistry/MSE student who worked on modified nanocellulose derived from hyacinths under Dr. Jose Mario Diaz. The awarding ceremony is on 5 June 2018.

6. What are your future plans in 5 years?

I’m currently waiting for the results of my application for the Japanese Government (MEXT) Scholarship. My blockmate and I have passed the second screening, which was under the university we’re applying to, and now we’re waiting for the results of the third screening under the Japanese Government. In the meantime, I plan to finish my reading list and pick up a few online classes. If I don’t get into the scholarship, I plan on working in the construction industry.

7. Was your paper already published?

No, my paper has not been published yet. I haven’t had the time to make my work suitable for publication, and there’s still a lot to do.

8. Any parting words?

Getting started seems tough but it’s a crucial step. Don’t let your inhibitions get the best of you. I started studying physics not really knowing what I got myself into, but I braced myself for the ride. I can’t say I’ve always been passionate for physics, but sometimes you just have to grit your teeth and work through it.


Certificate of Recognition of Aliena Mari P. Miranda for winning the Best in Oral Presentation (Undergraduate Cluster) at the MSE Summit 2018 Research Fair in University of the Philippines-Diliman last 16-17 March 2018.

Ateneo Physics faculty Dr. Gemma Narisma appointed as next Executive Director of Manila Observatory


Dr. Gemma Teresa T. Narisma, 12th Director of Manila Observatory (Photo courtesy of Manila Observatory)

In a memo dated 24 October 2017, Fr. Jose Ramon T. Villarin, Chair of the Board of Trustees of Manila Observatory, announced the appointment of Dr. Gemma Teresa T. Narisma as the incoming Executive Director to serve for a three-year term from 1 January 2018 to 31 December 2020. Dr. Narisma currently serves as Associate Director for Research and Head of the Regional Climate Systems Program of Manila Observatory, while teaching as Associate Professor at the Department of Physics of the School of Science and Engineering in Ateneo de Manila University.  As Fr. Villarin noted:

Dr Narisma earned her BS in Applied Physics and MSc in Environmental Science degrees from the University of the Philippines, Diliman. She received her PhD in Atmospheric Science from the Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia. She later joined the Centre for Sustainability and the Global Environment) SAGE at the University of Wisconsin, Madison as Research Associate. For her exemplary contributions to science, she was awarded NAST Outstanding Young Scientist in Atmospheric Science in 2012 and the TOWNS Foundation Ten Outstanding Women in the Nation’s Service in 2013.

Recently, Dr. Narisma was featured in a children’s book, Beyond the Storm, which is part of the Women of Science series written by Dr. Ma. Mercedes T. Rodrigo, a Professor of the Department of Information Science and Computer Systems (DISCS) of Ateneo de Manila University. The Women of Science series was published by Bookmark, Inc. and was launched at the Rizal Library of Ateneo de Manila University last 20 May 2017.

Dr. Narisma shall succeed Dr. Antonio La Viña who was appointed last 6 October 2017. In his Facebook page, Director La Vina wrote that Dr. Narisma shall be the 12th Director of Manila Observatory starting from 1865:

I am the 11th and Gemma is the 12th director in 152 years of continuing research, unbroken even by revolutions (1896, 1986) and two world wars. Out of the 12, four have been lay persons. The other two are Santiago Simpas and my immediate predecessor Toni Yulo-Loyzaga.

Aside from Padre Faura, other legendary scientists have worked in the Observatory: Fr. Jose Algue, SJ, who followed Faura, is also commemorated through a Tondo street; Fr. Manuel Selga, SJ, who relinquished his Spanish citizenship to continue to work in the Philippines; and Fr. Francis Hayden, SJ, whose work is honored by Georgetown University who has named its Observatory for him.

More recently, Fathers Francis Glover, Victor Badillo, Dan McNamara, Peter Walpole, and Jett Villarin, all Jesuits, worked in or led MO. Currently, Fr. Sergio Su, healthy and still as sharp as ever at 95 years old, is the only Jesuit working full time with us. What was once a vibrant Jesuit community of scientist-priests is now a group of lay scientists, majority of whom are women and many in their 20s and 30s. We are now working to transform this group to a strong Ignatian community dedicated to do science that matters for the country and especially the poor, motivated by a desire to do our work on climate change and disaster risk science excellently for the greater glory of God.

“As a scientist-leader, Dr Narisma is expected to execute the strategic plans of the Observatory and to ensure its maximum impact and sustainability in the next ten years,” wrote Fr. Villarin, SJ.

Brain-on-a-chip for understanding cortical circuit formation and function: a talk by Dr. Vincent Daria of Australian National University

ateneophysicsnews_vincent_daria_brain_chip_event_20170707 (2)

by Marienette Morales Vega

The Department of Physics would like to invite you to the talk “Brain-on-a-chip for understanding cortical circuit formation and function” by Dr. Vincent Daria, Group Leader of Neurophotonics Laboratory at the Eccles Institute of Neuroscience of Australian National University to be held on 17 July 2017, Monday, 11:00 a.m. at CTC 118.

Title: Brain-on-a-chip for understanding cortical circuit formation and function


We aim to understand the formation and function of brain circuits by growing neurons on nanostructured semiconductor devices (a.k.a. Brain-on-a-chip). We artificially grow brain cells on a semiconductor wafer patterned with nanowire scaffolds. From a fundamental perspective, we aim to investigate the structural significance of nanoscale topographies for guiding neurite outgrowth. To correlate the circuit function on the neurons grown on-a-chip with that of certain areas in the brain, we need to analyse the function of single neurons and population of neurons forming circuits in living mammalian brain slices and that of an intact rodent brain. To achieve this, we use novel photonic technologies not only to visualize these neurons but also to stimulate and record neuronal activity to understand the input/output transfer function of neurons and circuits. Understanding neuronal and circuit function is in itself a grand challenge and has attracted major research thrusts worldwide. Hence, correlating the input-output transfer function of neuronal of circuits from both living brain and that of neurons grown on-a-chip can lead to new insights on how the brain functions during learning, memory and information processing.

About the Speaker

Vincent Daria earned his PhD in Applied Physics from Osaka University, Japan. From 2001 to 2004 he pursued postdoctoral work at the Risoe National Laboratory (Denmark) where their group pioneered the use of dynamic multi-beam optical tweezers for manipulating arrays of microscopic objects and cells simultaneously. From 2004, he established a research group at the University of the Philippines to work on ultrafast lasers in combination with spatial light encoding for multi-beam optical tweezers combined with non-linear optical processes. Such technique was applied to fs-laser surgery and manipulation of cells and 3D holographic micro-fabrication via photopolymerization. In 2007, he joined the physics department at the Australian National University (ANU) where they initially designed a unique microscope capable of probing living cells and neurons in the brain. In 2010, Dr. Daria moved his laboratory to the John Curtin School of Medical Research to fully engage their collaboration with neuroscientists and apply their holographic two-photon microscope for simultaneous photostimulation of synapses and multi-site Ca2+ imaging of neuronal networks in living brain tissue. The success of this venture enabled the group’s expansion where they continuously received highly competitive funding from the Australian Research Council and the National Health and Medical Research Council. He is currently the group leader of the Neurophotonics Laboratory at the Eccles Institute of Neuroscience at ANU. He continues to teach optics and laser courses as well as maintain collaborations with researchers from the Research School of Physics and Engineering at ANU.

Marienette Morales Vega, Ph. D.
Assistant Professor, Physics Department
Materials Science Laboratory
Head, NanoSpectroscopy Group
Ateneo de Manila University
Faura Hall 318