The Institute of Chemistry (IC) has a new director in the person of Dr. Hidelisa Padua Hernandez effective August 28, 2012 – the eighth director of the institute and the fifteenth to lead the unit since its establishment as a department in 1910. She succeeded Dr. Milagros M. Peralta whose term as director officially ended July 30, 2012. A simple turnover ceremony of was held at IC last September 14, 2012.


Ma’am HPH or Ma’am Heidi, as she is fondly called by her colleagues and students, is currently Professor 1 of Chemistry. She obtained her BS Agricultural Chemistry from UPLB in 1977 and was employed that same year as instructor of chemistry. She then obtained her MS Agricultural Chemistry from UPLB in 1983 and her Doctor of Philosophy (Chemistry) from the Louisiana State University in 1988. Prior to her appointment as director, she has served as Division Head of the Organic Chemistry and Natural Products Division of IC since December 1, 2004.

She also heads the Graduate School (GS) Standing Committee on Physical Sciences and the IC Student Welfare Committee. She is also a member of the UPLB University Council Curriculum Committee, UPLB Committee on Natural Products Research, Development & Extension, CAS Committee on Student Welfare and Discipline and GS Academic Advisory Council. She is also an active member of the Kapisanang Kimika ng Pilipinas-Southern Tagalog (KKP-ST) where she served as President in 1999 and currently a board member of the organization.


    Highlights of her employment record include her being Deputy Director of IC (May 1, 1999 to November 30, 2002), Collaborative Research Scientist at the Department of Biochemistry and Entomology of the International Rice Research Institute (August 19, 1991 – June 30, 1993), IC Coordinator for Instruction (December 1, 1990 to December 31, 1993 and May 1, 1996 to April 30, 1999) and Senior Visiting Researcher at the Department of Botany, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada (May 28 to October 22, 1990).


    Aside from her teaching and administrative duties and responsibilities, Dr. Hernandez is also deeply involved in research especially in the field of natural products and in devising cost-effective organic chemistry experiments. She has served as project leader for a couple of researches and her on-going ones include the Isolation and Characterization of Components from Propolis of Philippine Trigona and Microscaling of Organic Laboratory Exercises. She also plans to conduct research in the development of bioactive materials for crop protection and water treatment.


    Dr. Hernandez’s dedication to her profession has produced a number of local and international publications and merited her several awards and distinctions, most notable of which are the 2003 UPLB Distinguished Alumnus Award for Teaching and the 2002 KKP-ST Distinguished Achievement Award in Teaching. She is also a recipient of professorial chair lecturer awards and best scientific paper awards.