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Thursday, February 28, 2013

Dr. Purugganan and Brain Drain.*

Photo courtesy of nyu.edu
Its refreshing to read an article about a very distinguished Filipino in the US, Dr. Michael D. Purugganan, a scientist, biologist, evolutionary Geneticist, Professor of Genomics and Dean of Science at New York University. 

Before he joined, NYU Dr. Purugganan was the William Neal Reynolds Distinguished Professor at North Carolina State University. As the world's leading authority on plant molec...ular evolution and genomics, he has published over 100 research papers. 

Born and raised in Manila, Dr. Purugganan is a BS Chemistry graduate of UP and completed his MA in Chemistry at Columbia University and Ph D in Botany at University of Georgia, both in the US. With numerous international awards and recognitions, he was cited for excellence in Science and Technology by the Ayala Foundation USA/Phil Dev. Foundation. 

In a recent interview, Dr. Purugganan said " While as a scientist I take a global worldview, several of my recent research projects are done in collaboration with scientists and laboratories in the Philippines. In fact, some of my recent research, such as my current interest in rice, stems from growing up in the Philippines where rice in the major staple. I think that my unique perspective - growing up in Manila, has shaped who I am as a Scientist. But even beyond that, even as I work in the US, I still think myself as a Filipino. While I have an international outlook as a person, it is grounded in my roots in the Philippines. Just leaving home to study and establish myself in the US was a great challenge. We come from such a distinct culture, and while we may think we know American culture, there are a lot of subtleties you have to get used to. But this challenge make us stronger - it gives us the ability to be comfortable in different cultures, which is important in today's global village." 

What reinvigorating words from a highly intellectual Filipino. (Maybe this will provide a wisp of fresh wind after watching our Senators fiercely fighting over their rights and authorities to spend the Filipino people's money.)

Many of us wonder why numerous intellectual Filipinos go out and distinguished themselves in other countries. While many of our leaders have orated about the "brain drain" problem of our country, absolutely nothing has been done about it. I think you will agree with me when I say that most of our countrymen go out because other countries provide the challenges and opportunities that our country failed to give. I am sure most politicians will disagree with what I have said. Why? I will leave the answer to my friends who will have the time to read this.

*First posted on FB

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