Maria Corazon Abogado De Ungria
University Researcher & Laboratory Head
DNA Analysis Laboratory, Natural Sciences Research Institute (University of the Philippines)
Director, Program on Biodiversity, Ethnicity and Forensics
Philippine Genome Center
Institute of Biology, University of the Philippines
Contact me for
- Providing an expert opinion
- Outreach activities
- Conference presenting
- Opportunities to collaborate
My research focuses on furthering the development of forensic sciences, particularly forensic genetics, in the Philippines. We are continuing the work at the DNA Analysis Laboratory, Natural Sciences Research Institute, and partnering with the Philippine Genome Center and the Institute of Biology, all agencies of the University of the Philippines. We actively seek to engage in active research that involves validating forensic methods that would enhance the use of DNA in investigations. I am particularly interested in improving how sexual assault cases are investigated, identifying bodies recovered from disasters and extrajudicial killings, reopening cases of wrongful convictions, and presenting expert evidence in courts.
In partnership with other institutes and universities, we hope to offer more science-based forensic courses to postgraduate students, serving as a springboard for further studies overseas. When these graduates return to the Philippines, we envision a more dynamic forensic science community composed of forensic practitioners from different fields that would actively assist in adopting forensic sciences in criminal and civil investigations. The overall goal is to strengthen the Philippine criminal justice system for the benefit of all.
In addition, I am keen on studying the genetic diversity of different Philippine populations, including small indigenous communities. In the expanding realms of genomic research, we must include all Philippine groups in our forensic and population databases to ensure that science's benefits reach everyone, 'leaving no one behind'. We openly collaborate with international partners so that the applications of knowledge extend beyond Philippine borders.
On a personal basis, I am committed to ensuring that all our work follows all ethical and legal requirements. We know the contribution of research as a platform for change. So I work to ensure that we value the people (scientists and the participants) and the environment in our research and extension activities while respecting institutional mandates and jurisdictions. It is only in adopting a human rights and nature-conscious approach can we say that we have truly used DNA as a catalyst for change, for a better tomorrow.