"I am glad that I am back to dancing without knee pains,” said Ms. Estela Ababao, 64, when asked how Axis Knee System changed her life.

As Estela recalls, for 13 years before having knee problems, she never missed a day at the dance studio. Aside from being a way to relieve stress from a day of doing house chores, dancing is also her way to stay fit.

After developing degenerative arthritis five years ago, dancing became really challenging for Estela. Her movement became severely limited that even walking and climbing stairs became arduous activities. According to Estela, the excruciating knee pains brought her sleepless nights which made her hopeless that she cannot go back to her favorite activity again.

One day while browsing through Facebook, Estela came across the Axis Knee System. She became interested with Axis Knee because its price is half compared to existing knee replacement implants in the market. What fascinated her more is the fact that the technology is locally made by a Filipino, Dr. Ramon Gustilo and Engr. Jude Sasing. The Axis Knee is made to fit the Asian knee-sized, thus, promises faster recovery. She did some research and found that she can get her surgery in The Medical City, Ortigas, Pasig City.

Last 25 January 2019, Estela underwent the knee replacement surgery using the Axis Knee System with the help of Dr. Herminio Valenzuela, Dr. Adriel Eulalio Guerrero, and Dr. Marie Antionette Dizon. A day after her surgery, Estela started her physical therapy which lasted for three months. Then, she’s fully recovered within six months.
Now, Estela has been able to return to her zumba and ballroom dancing sessions without any knee-pains. “I am able to do what I do best without being restricted by pain,” she said.

Grateful that she was able to find an affordable, quality solution to her health problem, Estela salutes all Filipino inventors whose works are for the benefit of all. She said, “Maraming salamat sa mga Pilipinong imbentor. Ngayon alam ko na bakit mahalaga ang research.”

Currently, the Axis Knee System invented by Dr. Gustilo and Engr. Sasing is being manufactured by the Orthopaedic International, Inc., and continues to provide comfort to Filipinos around the country. The Philippine Council for Health Research and Development of the Department of Science and Technology supported the development of this technology to make life better for Filipinos.

The Feasibility Analysis of Syndromic Surveillance using Spatio-Temporal Epidemiological Modeler (FASSSTER) will undergo enhancements to create a predictive model for COVID-19 which allows forecasting of possible cases in a given area at a specified period of time. Data generated from this model will support the decision making of the Department of Health, local government units, and healthcare facilities, in terms of resource planning and other measures to mitigate the spread of the virus. 

Developed by Dr. Ma. Regina Justina E. Estuar of Ateneo de Manila University and her team, with support from the Department of Science and Technology’s Philippine Council for Health Research and Development (DOST-PCHRD), FASSSTER serves as a hub for different data sources, providing a rich layout of integrated information that facilitates understanding of the spread of diseases.

At the moment, FASSSTER is used for creating predictive models and visualizing possible scenarios of outbreaks of Dengue, Typhoid Fever, and Measles, at specified time periods. It uses data from the Department of Health’s Philippine Integrated Disease Surveillance and Response (PIDSR) system, Electronic Medical Records, and SMS-based reports of primary care facilities.

The latest addition to the technology is its TUGON feature, an SMS-based reporting feature which allows staff from Rural Health Units and Barangay Health Stations to report cases of Dengue, Measles, and Typhoid Fever through text commands. 

To date, FASSSTER had been deployed and tested in the Department of Health Regional Office VI where 17 Rural Health Units (RHUs) have been trained in the use of the SMS-based reporting system for surveillance of Dengue, Typhoid Fever, and Measles.  

One of the strategic objectives of Philippine National Health Research System (PNHRS) for 2019-2022 is to strengthen the capacity of the network to support health research. To address this objective, the PNHRS Capacity Building Committee (CBC) created the Collaborative Research and Capacity Building Initiative which will integrate the capacity building efforts of the implementing agencies, regional consortia, and member institutions. Harmonizing the efforts in research capacity will result in better use of resources which will contribute to the development of evidence-informed health decisions, programs, and policies.


The Collaborative Research and Capacity Building Initiative has the following objectives:

  • Promote partnership and collaboration among researchers/research and development institutions in health research capacity building;
  • Harmonize R&D capacity building efforts through interregional and interdisciplinary collaborative research;
  • Optimize resources for health R&D capacity building programs for researchers and research and development institutions; and
  • Develop more relevant and quality health researches aligned with National Unified Health Research Agenda (NUHRA) and Regional Unified Health Research Agenda.


Priority Areas for Funding

For its initial phase, the initiative accepts proposals on control and prevention of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and schistosomiasis.

The program must have at least 2-3 of the following research project components: (1) clinical/epidemiology/diagnostics, (2) use of ICT, (3) health social science, and (4) health policy and systems research.


Minimum Requirements for the Proposals

All proposals submitted for funding must comply with the following requirements:


  • Must involve the Research and Development Institution’s (RDI) or Higher Education Institutions’ (HEIs) faculty/researcher and early career scientists
  • Must include a mechanism for sharing of resources (expertise, data/information, facilities) for research
  • Must be collaborative, interregional, and interdisciplinary, involving 2-3 RDIs/HEIs through letter of support or willingness to collaborate
  • Must include plans for research dissemination, utilization, and translation
  • Duration: 1-2 years (PNHRS implementing agencies and counterpart implementing RDIs/non-RDIs shall provide funding for approved proposals for 1-2 years, subject to monitoring and evaluation and annual review)


Who may submit

Principal investigators must be a Filipino with at least a Master’s Degree in a relevant field and employed in universities/colleges, research agencies/institutes, hospitals, and other health related agencies who are members of the Regional Health Research and Development Consortia (RHRDC) are eligible to apply for the research grant.

How to submit 

Interested lead proponents must submit their capsule proposals using the DOST-PCHRD forms to regional health research development consortium (RHRDCs).

Deadline of submission of capsule proposal to consortium is now extended until July 31, 2020.

**Qualified capsule proposals will be endorsed by the RHRDC concerned to PNHRS CBC secretariat. The successful proponents will be invited to join a write-shop for the development of the full proposal.


For inquiries, you may email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


The Department of Science and Technology – Philippine Council for Health Research and Development (PCHRD), the University of Trieste (UNITS) and Fondazione Italiana Fegato (FIF) enter into an Agreement to develop and implement of a program focused on molecular hepatology within the PhD Program in Molecular Biomedicine of UNITS. This Fellowship program integrates basic research and clinics focusing on the study of molecular approaches to cancer biology, genetics, jaundice and metabolic diseases. The duration of the program is for 3 years.

Applicant’s research interests must be aligned with the National Unified Health Research Agenda (NUHRA) and National Harmonized Research and Development Agenda.


The PhD program aims to achieve the following objectives:

  1. Develop a pool of high-quality human resources in molecular hepatology in particular who will contribute to the country’s global competitiveness and economic development;
  2. Provide opportunities to deserving students to study and obtain PhD degrees in Molecular Biomedicine in reputable institutions abroad;
  3. Contribute to the country’s health research and technological innovation capabilities through training on biomedical research;
  4. Create the basis for a Filipino Liver Network integrating basic and clinical research in liaison with FIF.


Two positions of PhD students will be available each year at UNITS (Subject to the availability of funds)


The applicant must:

  1. Be a Filipino citizen;
  2. Be in good health condition;
  3. Not be more than 40 years old at the time of application;
  4. Hold a Master's degree in a field relevant to health and biomedicine;
  5. Have an outstanding academic record;
  6. Passed the admission requirements for the PhD study;
  7. Passed the interview and other screening procedures;
  8. Conduct her/his research for the entire duration of the scholarship and of the PhD Program.

Scholarship Privileges

  1. Living allowance (20,000€/year);
  2. Book allowance (500€/year);
  3. Bench fee (4,000€/year);
  4. Health and accident insurance; and
  5. One round-trip economy fare from residence to Italy.

Selection Procedure

1st Selection

Document Screening

Documentary evaluation of the form and other requirements by DOST-PCHRD

2nd Selection

Technical Interview

Technical interview by a panel composed of DOST-PCHRD Director, FIF Scientific Director (or a FIF delegate), or a member of the PhD Program in Molecular Biomedicine of the UNITS, and other health research experts to assess:

·         Academic background and learning ability

·         Capacity for completing the study

·         Possibility of contributing to the development of the country

·         Compatibility to the university course

The interview will take place at DOST-PCHRD.

3rd and Final Selection

A panel from the PhD Program in Molecular Biomedicine (UNITS) will identify the successful PhD student(s) from among the candidates selected in the Technical Interview, based on their academic records and the selection criteria as established by UNITS.

List of Application Documents (Forms) for PCHRD screening

  1. CV
  2. Accomplished application form with ID picture
  3. PSA Birth Certificate
  4. Valid NBI Clearance
  5. Endorsement Letter from two (2) former professors in MS program
  6. Certificate of Employment (if employed, recommendation and permission to take a leave of absence from employer or head of agency while on scholarship)
  7. Medical Certificate as to health status from a licensed physician with his/her PRC license number indicated
  8. Certificate of Master Degree
  9. Admission to Graduate Studies/Graduate School
  10. Transcript of Records (certified true copy)
  11. Program of Study/Course Curriculum (if available or to follow)
  12. Re-entry Plan (narrative)
  13. Budgetary Requirements (attach at least 3 airfare canvasses and website references for items requested)


The Call for Applications for the PhD Program in Molecular Biomedicine this year (2020) has been deferred and will be rescheduled early next year. For interested applicants, please watch out for our 2021 Call for Applications.


For inquiries, please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


To help policymakers create better and evidence-based strategies in addressing the COVID-19 pandemic, Filipino researchers are investigating the coronavirus transmission patterns among confirmed cases and their contacts in the country. 

A study is now underway which will yield data on transmission dynamics, secondary infection rate, and clinical attack rate of the disease among close contacts and symptomatic proportion of COVID-19 cases in the Philippines.

The study will use samples from the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM) in its aim to supply the Department of Health useful data which can improve national efforts in case isolation, contact tracing, and disease control and prevention.

The project is led by Dr. Mayan U. Lumandas of RITM and is funded by the Department of Science and Technology through the Philippine Council for Health Research and Development (DOST-PCHRD). 

Aside from virus transmission patterns, three ongoing research projects on COVID-19 are also being supported by the Council, one of which is the COVID-19 detection kit created by the UP National Institutes of Health which is expected to be distributed to various healthcare facilities by the end of March. 

A web- and mobile-based surveillance and response tool called FASSSTER is also being enhanced to visualize real-time updates on the numbers of COVID-19-related information in the country. Lastly, DOST-PCHRD is also supporting research that tests the antiviral properties of lauric acid and its derivatives against coronavirus.

For more details on PCHRD-supported projects on COVID-19, you may visit www.pchrd.dost.gov.ph.