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Scientist from the Philippines Conducting Research at WC

Dr. Alice Acabal Exploring Herbal Drugs to Control Worm Infections in Goats

March 1, 2012

Dr. Alice Acabal conducts research in one of WC's chemistry labs.

Dr. Alice Acabal conducts research in one of WC's chemistry labs.

The realization that we live in a truly global society becomes readily apparent when one learns that Wilmington College has a connection to the health of goats in the Philippines.

Filipino chemist Alice Martinez Acabal, Ph.D., has been a mainstay in WC’s chemistry laboratories since arriving in September as a Fulbright Senior Scholar.

Her Fulbright grant is to conduct research on the development of herbal drugs for the management of common strongyle worm infection in goats.

Acabal explained that goats are an important source of meat and milk in the Filipino diet and worm infections greatly decrease goat productivity. Thus, locally produced herbal drugs to control worm infections could improve the economic condition of Filipinos, especially the comparatively low-earning, backyard farmer.

She learned about Wilmington College from Alfred Conklin, Ph.D., professor of chemistry and agriculture at WC, who, years ago, was a visiting Fulbright Scholar at Visayas State University in the Philippines, where Acabal is an associate professor in the Department of Pure and Applied Chemistry.

“Al was my colleague when he was at our school in the Philippines,” she said, noting that she also developed a friendship with Conklin’s Philippines-born wife, Petra. “I wanted to be in a school in the United States with someone I knew, so Al and Petra make me feel very comfortable about being at Wilmington College for my first visit to the United States.”

Acabal noted that, as a Fulbright Scholar, Wilmington has provided a good fit.

“We were encouraged to go to a school — not like Cornell or Harvard — but one that is not very well known but has facilities that cater to my needs,” she said. “The College’s chemistry labs have fulfilled my needs very well.”

Acabal said her research has included taking extracts from leaves she brought from the Philippines and isolating compounds.

She conducted lab work from September through January with February and her final month, March, set aside for preparing comprehensive reports on her research, which has piqued the interest of numerous science faculty members in Kettering Science Hall, not the least of whom are chemistry faculty Dore Meinholtz, Ph.D., and Michael Goldcamp, Ph.D., professor and associate professor, respectively.

“I’ve interacted a lot with Dore and Michael, and we’ve worked well together,” she said.
Acabal noted how she arrived in Wilmington last fall with some concern about Ohio winters, but has been pleasantly surprised with what — so far — has been an especially mild season.

“At first I was very anxious about the weather because I come from a very hot country,” she said, noting that this was her first time actually touching snow. With the white stuff appearing in one-inch increments as it has this winter, southwest Ohio has provided her with a measured introduction.

Also, the 30-second daily commute from her College-owned house that is literally a stone’s throw from Kettering Hall has enhanced her American experience.

“I am enjoying my time here at Wilmington College,” she added.