Maribel M. Zaporteza
University Researcher III
University of the Philippines, Los Baños
Project Title: Multiple-target Gene Editing in Zea Mays for Decreased Phytic Acid Content, Herbicide and Insect Tolerance
U.S. Affiliation: University of Hawaii, Manoa
Dr. Maribel Zaporteza is the ad hoc Deputy Program Director of the Philippine Genome Center for Agriculture Programs at the University of the Philippines – Los Baños (UPLB). She has a PhD in Molecular Biosciences and Bioengineering from the University of Hawaii in the United States and obtained her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from the UPLB. She has extensive academic experience in genetics, molecular biology, and biotechnology. She is an accomplished researcher and academic. Her published work and oral presentations are mostly on genomics and plant biotechnology.
Dr. Zaporteza plans to conduct a research that will help her explore various gene editing tools for the improvement of important crops in the Philippines. She has nominated to further study the CRISPR-Cas system and its variations, which is the fastest, most innovative tool that enables site-specific mutations in genomic sequences. Dr. Zaporteza will be using Zea mays as her model crop, which can stand as a model organism for other monocot crops and agronomic crops produced in large quantities. The research will enable a more enhanced CRISPR-Cas system that can support genetic manipulation and genetic variation in plant crops, which is a primary requirement for crop improvement and sustainable agriculture. The research can greatly impact Philippine agriculture as it can push for improved crop yields and tolerance to pests and diseases. She plans to conduct the study at the Agronomy Department of the Iowa State University, which can provide the necessary technical assistance and help her achieve her research goals.