Cecilia Conaco, PhD

Assistant Professor

Email: cconaco@msi.upd.edu.ph

Cecilia is fascinated by neuronal development and early animal evolution. She is also interested in the regulatory networks that control gene expression dynamics underlying the ability of many marine organisms to rapidly respond and adapt to their environment.

2012 Post-doctoral Scholar, Neuroscience Research Institute, University of California, Santa Barbara
2007 PhD Molecular and Cellular Biology, Stony Brook University, New York

Andrian Gajigan

Research Assistant and Graduate Student

Email: andriangajigan@gmail.com

Adi is interested in open ocean microbes and ocean biogeochemistry in the Philippine Pacific seaboard. He is also involved in studying the effects of changing ocean regimes to marine organisms, specifically corals and sponges, using a genomics approach.

2012 BS Biochemistry, University of the Philippines, Manila

Jeric Da-anoy

Research Assistant and Graduate Student

Email: jpd05230821@gmail.com

Jeric is interested in looking at the transcriptome dynamics of resilient and susceptible corals when thermally challenged. He hopes to gain insights into how we can improve coral reef restoration efforts in the Philippines.

2013 BS Marine Biology, Mindanao State University, General Santos City

Stephanie Faith Ravelo

Graduate Student

Email: stephravelo7@gmail.com

Faith is studying the physiological and molecular responses of Symbiodinium, the symbiotic dinoflagellate of corals. She is hoping to gain insight into the genetic mechanisms that make some groups of Symbiodinium more resilient to thermal stress.

2012 BS Biology, Mindanao State University, Iligan Institute of Technology

Michael Angelou Nada

Graduate Student

Email: mlnada@up.edu.ph

Mike is interested in studying the functional role of microbes and their contribution to the adaptive capacity and evolutionary success of sponges. He hopes to better understand the complex relationship between sponges and their microbial symbionts and determine how these associations influence processes in the marine environment.

2012 BS Biology, Southern Luzon State University

Chyrene Moncada

Graduate Student

Email: chyrenemoncada@gmail.com

Chy is studying microbial communities in areas with submarine groundwater discharge (SGD). She aims to identify terrestrial pathogens that may have been introduced into the marine environment through SGD and to detect functional genes vital to biogeochemical cycling in these sites.

2014 BS Biology, University of the Philippines, Diliman

Jake Ivan Baquiran

Graduate Student

Email: bokbaqui26@gmail.com

Jake is interested in studying how the sponge and its microbial community will vary with the biogeochemical characteristics of its environment. He aims to identify shifts in sponge-associated microbial taxa between eutrophic (aquaculture) and oligotrophic (coral reef) areas.

2013 BS Biology, Polytechnic University of the Philippines, Manila

Krista Iris Melgarejo

Graduate Student (co-advised with Dr. Giovanni Tapang, National Institute of Physics, University of the Philippines, Diliman)

Email: kvmelgarejo@up.edu.ph

Krista is interested in looking at the effects of environmental stress on the giant clam, Tridacna gigas, by looking at their gene expression responses. She hopes that this will contribute knowledge to restocking and monitoring efforts. Aside from her love for molecular biology and biotechnology, she has a growing interest in oceanographic instrumentation, a field which she thinks will play a vital role in research for countries like the Philippines.

2013 BS Food Technology, University of the Philippines, Mindanao

Lab Alumni


Christine Guzman

Research Assistant

UP System Balik PhD (2013-2014) and EIDR (2014-2016) Projects

Current affiliation: PhD student at Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology


Leomir Diaz

Graduate Student

Master's thesis: Influence of thermal stress on a coral-associated bacterial community (February 2016)



Alexis Guerrero

Research Assistant

DOST Coral Genomics Project (2014-2015)