Dr. Leni Yap-Dejeto, Professor, UP Visayas Tacloban College
Anyone can do research, but it takes passion and dedication to be a researcher. With her years of research exposure, Dr. Leni Yap-Dejeto takes us to her world, the world of science and research.
With considerably overwhelming things around us, it is understandable to often consider changing or choosing a more practical career path. However, it is not like that for Dr. Leni Yap-Dejeto who decided to take the path of becoming a biologist. As background, she is a graduate of BS in Biology and took her Masters in Marine Biology at the UP MSI. She then took her Doctor of Philosophy in Aquatic Bioscience in the University of Tokyo. Currently, she is the program coordinator in biology at the University of the Philippines Tacloban College, teaching undergraduate and graduate courses as well as an affiliate faculty in UPOU once in a while. Her research interests are phytoplanktons and taxonomy which are geared towards harmful algal blooms that are responsible for red tides.
Ever since she started her career, she already knows that she will be a researcher. When she took BS in Biology, most people would say that she will push through to study medicine, but for her, she is geared towards research–she is made for research.When asked if what makes her push this field, “You do what you enjoy most, it’s just a plus that you can earn from it”, she said. During her time as a student, in order to be exposed to research, she helps graduate students with their research experiments without compensation. Now, studies are already being funded by different agencies, may it be privately or by the government. For her, it is a good thing that researchers are compensated though having little delays from time to time. With this current situation, she still believes that more funding in research is needed in order to meet our country’s full potential. To discover more and to reach greater communities.
One of her remarkable research endeavors is the mussel glycogen project. But according to her, at first, it was just a segue from her main research interest— the study of harmful algal blooms. Green mussels are one of the highly affected species during red tides and the local mussel industry suffers the consequences of this phenomenon. With the heeding calls of the communities on how to address this as well as with her love for research, Dr. Yap-Dejeto and her research team found ways on how to make use of these affected green mussel stocks, thus the emergence of the mussel glycogen project. This project is part of the Mussel Biotech Program with the project leader, Dr. Sharon N. Nuñal. The project commenced last January 2019 and concluded last December 2021. The main objective of their study is to extract glycogen and eventually utilize the extracted glycogen. This research project was presented and pitched to various stakeholders last October 14, 2022 during the Idea to Impact Investors’ Forum 2022: Mussel Industry.
Working with a diverse set of people in each project makes every research experience a unique one. Dr.Yap-Dejeto shares the same sentiments when it comes to her research projects, she gets to work with people of different backgrounds and ways of thinking. Sometimes it may cause a little inconvenience and will definitely result in a clash of ideas, which she believes is inevitable. Added to that, towards the end of their research project, they were even caught by the pandemic, but these challenges did not hinder them in achieving their objectives and they even surpassed it.