U.P. Alum Wins Harvard Scientist of the Year Award

(Editor’s note: Below is a reprint of the online article from The Harvard Crimson posted March 18, 2007 on UP High School valedictorian and  UP Diliman BS Chemistry 1960 summa cum laude Dr. Baldomero “Toto” Olivera.)

Crimson Staff Writer

March 18, 2007 — Students, administrators, and professors gathered to honor the Harvard Foundation for Intercultural and Race Relations’ 2007 Scientist of the Year, Baldomero M. Olivera, at a reception in Pforzheimer House this past Friday.

Dr. S. Allen Counter, left, Director of the Harvard Foundation, presents an award to biologist Dr. Baldomero Olivera, right, Distinguished Professor of Biology at the University of Utah in Pforzheimer House Friday.

The event kicked off the Foundation’s annual Albert Einstein Science Conference: Advancing Minorities and Women in Science, Engineering and Mathematics, which took place on Saturday.

Past Scientists of the Year have included Mae C. Jemison, the first black female astronaut, and Jaime Escalante, a mathematics teacher famous for training and encouraging Latinos in Los Angeles to take and pass the Advanced Placement Calculus exams.

Olivera, a professor of biochemistry and neuroscience at the University of Utah, was born and raised in the Philippines, where he attended college. After completing doctoral work at the California Institute of Technology and postdoctoral work at Stanford University, Olivera began doing research on the deadly cone snails that live in the Southeast Asian island.

His research, which now includes many more types of cone snails, has led to a better understanding of the nervous system and the development of new commercial drugs, such as potent painkillers that are administered to patients who do not respond to morphine.

Director of the Foundation Dr. S. Allen Counter, associate professor of neurology at Harvard Medical School, said Olivera’s work has the potential to “explain some behaviors…[and] help us treat and cure many diseases.”Marlowe A. Rillera ’09, co-president of the Harvard Philippine Forum, called the award “a symbol that Filipinos are getting out there and making a difference in the world.”

Author: Web Admin