Dr. Relicardo M. Coloso: 2016 PFCS Awardee for Chemical Research

In a nutshell, the story of Dr. Relicardo M. Coloso’s career is that of a boy who grows up in Iloilo, leaves the comforts of home for further education and training, and returns to his hometown as an accomplished scientist. Dr. Coloso is currently based in Iloilo as a Scientist of the Nutrition and Feed Development Section, Aquaculture Department, Southeast Asian Fisheries Development Center (SEAFDEC).

To the scientific community, Reli is known for his work on fish nutrition, nutritional biochemistry, and feed development for food species e.g. milkfish, tiger shrimp, Asian sea bass, grouper, and mud crab. His work is described in several scientific papers (>40) published in international journals and proceedings. He has also co-authored a textbook on Nutrition in Tropical Aquaculture which was awarded the 2004 Outstanding Book Award by the National Academy of Science and Technology.

He holds adjunct faculty appointments at the Central Philippine University and the University of the Philippines in the Visayas, both in Iloilo.

His academic credentials include a PhD in Nutritional Sciences (Cornell), a MS in Chemistry (Univ. Of the Philippines – College of Medicine), and a BS in Chemistry cum laude (Univ. of the Philippines, Diliman). He has also held research fellowships at Cornell, the New Jersey Medical School, and at the Institute of Marine Biochemistry (Aberdeen, Scotland).

Reli is also an avid student of cultures other than of our own, and makes it a point to visit less-travelled destinations.

Acceptance Speech

Good evening everyone!

Thank you very much for this wonderful award from colleagues and peers in the field of chemistry represented by the Philippine Federation of Chemistry Societies (PFCS). When I was growing up and coming from a small town Iloilo was then, I initially found the chemistry subject at the PSHS very challenging and difficult that I almost gave up. With excellent guidance and mentoring from my chemistry teacher the subject became much more interesting and she made me realize that chemistry is an important stepping stone to other fields because it is at the core of most of them. And of course, that if I was good at it, I would surely grab a college science scholarship which was a really big incentive for a student in secondary school to try harder. And she was right after all. Much later on, my undergraduate and graduate professors, taught me the virtues of determination, hard work, patience, and perseverance that are needed in one’s professional life in research here in the country be it in biochemistry, aquaculture or other fields of endeavor. They all made me realize that success in our chosen work does not come easy. It takes a lot of determination and hard work to achieve more and a lot of patience to stay the course.

You all heard me talk about our research work this morning. Aquaculture research, when it started, was way behind agriculture research by more than three decades and work here in Southeast Asia started even much later than that. Suffice it to say that our small group was fortunate enough to have had the opportunity to pioneer in tropical aquaculture nutrition research here in Southeast Asia. Our efforts led to the better understanding of the nutrient requirements, feed development and feeding of our economically important tropical aquaculture species such as milkfish, prawn, tilapia, and a few other species.

I have so many people to thank for. Our group was fortunate to train with the world’s best fish nutritionists who were so generous with their knowledge and time. Secondly, I want to thank my science mentors from elementary school all the way to graduate school and scholarship sponsors particularly the PSHS, DOST, PCAARRD and Fulbright scholarships, for giving me the educational opportunities and ample scientific training needed to become a productive researcher in this field. I also want to thank SEAFDEC Aquaculture Department that nurtured us and gave us the job that supported our families all these years and the many generous funding agencies that financially supported our work. Colleagues, research assistants, graduate students, and support staff at work, not to mention even the drivers, who drove us back and forth to our research stations and field sites to do our research, as well as to many close friends who gave support, unselfishly lent their precious time and ideas and shared many happy moments. For my family, I thank them for the love, support and understanding for the many times and years I had to be away to complete my training and do my work at SEAFDEC. I am truly grateful, too, to Dr. Nestor Valera, who was one of those who convinced me to join SEAFDEC in its formative years and for nominating me to the Awards Committee, and to the Federation for this precious award. To the Lord up there, thank you for all the blessings big and small all these years and for holding us in the safety of your hands. Finally, to all of you, tonight is nothing without your love and support for our chemistry societies and for what they stand for, thank you for being here. May you continue to lend your strong support to the Federation and our chemistry societies and help promote their advocacies. May you enjoy the rest of the evening and the rest of the Congress.

Thank you for this award and good evening!