Dr. Baltazar D. Aguda (BSACh 1978 cl)

UP-Philippine Genome Center Executive Director Baltazar Aguda has passed away.

Aside from his administrative post, he was also Research Professor, University of the Philippines System. He earned his BS Agricultural Chemistry degree from UP Los Baños and his PhD in Chemistry from the University of Alberta (Canada). Dr. Aguda was a multidisciplinary scientist who started his scientific career as a theoretical-physical chemist investigating the nonlinear dynamics of complex biochemical reaction systems, developing methods for predicting interaction network instabilities and the construction of predictive computational models. For the past 16 years, he focused on the applications of his methods to understanding how certain perturbations of gene & molecular interaction networks could lead to cancer. His initial contributions included seminal papers on checkpoints in the mammalian cell cycle. He and his co-workers published mechanistic models of other cellular processes associated with hallmarks of cancer, and in 2008, his book Models of Cellular Regulation was published by Oxford University Press.

More recently, Dr. Aguda authored or co-authored a series of highly-cited papers on microRNAs – as biomarkers of human disease and their roles in the regulation of cancer networks.

The ultimate goal of Dr. Aguda’s research program was the control of gene & molecular networks that are deregulated during malignant transformation. He advocated the paradigm of network pharmacology that proposed targeting gene networks using combinations of drugs instead of the old one drug-one target strategy.

Dr. Aguda held faculty positions in Canada (Laurentian University) and the USA (Boston University School of Medicine), and senior research or visiting faculty positions at Singapore’s Biopolis (Bioinformatics Institute), Ohio State University (Mathematical Biosciences Institute), and the National Cancer Institute (National Institutes of Health, USA). As part of his services to his scientific community, he refereed papers for at least 33 international scientific journals, reviewed research grant proposals for at least 9 international granting agencies, organized or co-organized many international conferences. Dr. Aguda delivered lectures at Harvard University (USA), Caltech (USA), Weizmann Institute (Israel), University of Cambridge (UK), and Humboldt University (Germany).