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Dr. Roel R. Suralta, one of the country`s pioneering researchers in root studies based in Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice), was conferred Scientist I by the Philippine Scientific Career Council (PSCC).

Suralta was given the rank for publishing eight papers in the Institute for Scientific Information (ISI)-indexed plant science journals and paper presentations in international and local scientific conferences.

His papers highlight adaptive root system developmental responses (root plasticity) under drought and fluctuating soil moisture conditions, and hybrid rice seed production.

PSCC, an evaluating body established by the Civil Service Commission and the Department of Science and Technology, recognized Suralta’s contribution in the still limited researches on root plasticity.

Suralta, a 2010 Outstanding Young Scientist in the Philippines, said his studies revealed that root plasticity in terms of promoted lateral root production or root branching is one of the key root traits of rice plants that enables them to cope with drought.

“Understanding root trait responses and drought tolerance under unfavorable rice field conditions such as in rainfed lowland ecosystem and characterizing these areas are important research activities. Results of these studies help breeders in determining the ideal root ideotypes and the genes that control these traits, thus, increasing crop’s productivity in each characterized stress-prone areas,” he said.

Before becoming a scientist, Suralta had received international and local awards, which include, among others, Japan International Awards for Young Agricultural Researchers in 2011; Talent Search for Young Scientist, 2009; and best paper award (Upstream Research) by the Federation of Crop Science Societies of the Philippines, 2009.

Based on the 2006 Merit System for the Scientific Career System constitution and by-laws, criteria in conferring the scientist rank in the Philippines include scientific discoveries and inventions or technology, machine, or utility model patents, comprehensive documentation of research accomplishments for the last 10 years, and published papers in ISI-listed journals.

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Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice) is a government corporate entity attached to the Department of Agriculture created through Executive Order 1061 on 5 November 1985 (as amended) to help develop high-yielding and cost-reducing technologies so farmers can produce enough rice for all Filipinos.

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Philippine Rice Research Institute