Contributed by Dr. Jovita Movillon

This year there are three alumni conferred by UPLB in their respective specializations namely Dr. Joel L. Cuello, Global Biosystems Engineering Education and Research; Dr. Benito O. De Lumen, Biotechnology Research and Enterprise Development; and Jesus V. Melgar, Food Technology and Manufacturing.

They were awarded during the Alumni Fellowship and Awards Night held last October 9, 2013 at the E.B. Copeland Gymnasium.


B.S. Sugar Technology, 1961
2013 The UPLB Outstanding Alumnus Award in Food Technology & Manufacturing
2013 CEAT Distinguished Alumnus Award in Food Technology & Manufacturing

For his essential role in the planning, installation, and early-stage operation of the Food Technology Pilot Plant;
For his singular role in conceiving and spearheading the landmark production of Philippine canned tuna, leading to its development as a competitive export in the world market;
For his leadership in a still immature Philippine food processing industry in bringing about modernization of equipment, updated methods, and clear guidelines on product standards; and
For having represented the Philippines with goodwill in international discussions concerning the viability of Philippine food products for world export and in providing expert advice on a foreign country’s offshore fish-handling facilities.

This recognition is most timely in the light of the recent relatively high growth rate of the Philippine economy but without impact on poverty. If the Philippines were to reduce poverty, we must 1) rehabilitate the industrial sector, and 2) modernize the agricultural sector. UPLB alumni have made and continue to make their mark on the modernization of agriculture. It is opportune that we highlight the significant UPLB alumni contributions to industry.


B.S. Agricultural Engineering, cum laude, 1984
2013 The UPLB Outstanding Alumnus Award in Biosystems Engineering in Global Education and Research
2013 CEAT Distinguished Alumnus Award in Biosystems Engineering in Global Education and Research

As UPLB charters new paths towards internationalization and interdisciplinary approaches and strategies in its quest for development, it is noteworthy that some alumni have already succeeded in such endeavor and Dr. Joel L. Cuello is among those shining examples of UPLB alumni with global distinction.

For his technical expertise and outstanding contributions in both engineering and biology which helped promote the application of engineering design in various agricultural and biological systems with emphasis on optimizing biological and agricultural productivity while fostering resource sustainability. 
For his contributions in global engineering education: as a Professor of Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering & Director of the Global Institute for Strategic Agriculture in Dry Lands (GISAD) at The University of Arizona,U.S.A.; as a lifetime Visiting Professor at Zhejiang University in Hangzhou, China; as a Faculty Fellow at the Innovation Center of the Ateneo de Manila University; and as a valuable resource person in redesigning the UPLB-CEAT Ag. Engineering to the current Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering curricular program.

Dr. Cuello has been invited as keynote speaker in many countries: Brazil, China, South Korea, Israel, Palestine, Germany, United Kingdom, Canada, Chile, Mexico, Norway, Philippines, India, Italy, Jordan, Egypt, Japan, Australia, Spain, Singapore, Qatar and Saudi Arabia. He is an active member of many scientific and professional societies; has served as officer of technical committees for the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers (ASABE) and the Institute of Biological Engineering (IBE). He is currently serving as President of the Arizona Chapter of the ASABE.


B.S. Sugar Technology, 1962
2013 The UPLB Outstanding Alumnus Award in Enterprise Development in Biotechnology

Dr. Ben O. de Lumen co-founded Filgen Biosciences, Inc. in 2000, a start-up biotech company given exclusive license by University of California Berkeley Office of Technology Licensing to commercialize lunasin technology; currently Board Chairman; has 106 publications in peer-reviewed journals and 36 patents on lunasin approved in several countries.

Lunasin (from the Filipino word lunas for cure) was discovered in the laboratory of Professor Ben O. de Lumen at the Department of Nutritional Sciences and Toxicology, UC Berkeley. Lunasin is a novel anti-cancer peptide (small protein) composed of 43-amino acids. This unique sequence includes 8 aspartic acid residues at the carboxyl end, preceded by a cell adhesion motif (RGD) and a predicted helical region that has a sequence similar to proteins known to bind to chromatin. Initially discovered in soybean, Lunasin is now found in a number of seeds such as wheat, barley, amaranth, black nightshade, pinto bean, corn and rye. 
Filgen is partnering with companies in the Philippines to commercialize lunasin technology. It is truly fulfilling for Prof. de Lumen that Lunasin will soon be available to the general public as an anti-cancer agent.

Prof. de Lumen is a recipient of many honors including Awardee in Science & Technology, Philippine Development Forum (2010), Outstanding Professional in Biological Sciences, University of the Philippines Alumni Association (2005), Sir Fredric McMaster Fellow, Australia (2004), Twenty Outstanding Filipino-Americans in US & Canada (2004), NSF-CGP Fellow, University of Tokyo (1996), University Fellow in Agricultural Chemistry, UC Davis (1970) and EJ Wickson Memorial Fellow in Agricultural Chemistry, UC Davis (1969). He was elected Fellow of American Association for the Advancement of Science in 2011. He is a member of several professional and honor organizations including AAAS, American Society for Cell Biology, American Association for Cancer Research, American Chemical Society, Institute of Food Technologists, Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi and Sigma Xi.

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