Community, Profiles

Distinguished Scientist Makes Philippines Proud

Dr. Herbert Gaisano (inset) gives an experts’ lecture at the 2008 Nobel Forum at Karolinska Institute, in Stockholm, where 2013 Nobel Laureate for Medicine James Rothman (first row, third from left) gives his keynote. Leading scientists invited to the forum gathered after the event. Dr Gaisano is the only Asian in the group. Joining them is 1991 Nobel Laureate for Medicine Erwin Neher (second from left).

Dr. Herbert Gaisano’s significant contributions to the advancement of medical science is recognized worldwide. He is among the world’s top five scientists in two fields: distortion of pancreatic enzyme secretion and dysregulated insulin secretion. This leads to pancreatitis and diabetes, respectively.

This year marks 40 years of Gaisano’s contributions to science since he received his medical degree in 1981 from the University of the Philippines (UP), where he finished his Bachelor of Science degree, magna cum laude in 1977.  He completed his postdoctoral training in Internal Medicine and Gastroenterology in 1990 at the Mayo Clinicin the United States. Mayo Clinic is one of the most advanced medical institutions in the world.

He was conferred with the Order of Ontario Knighthood in 2016 by the Canadian government, where he presently resides. But though Canada is his country of residence, Gaisano, a Chinese Filipino born in Cebu, remained true to his roots and retainedhis Filipino citizenship.  

Gaisano is one of UP’s Ruby Jubilarians celebrating 40 years since finishing medical school. And his alma mater,as well as our country, hail him as an exemplar of Filipino achievements in science at the world stage and recognize him as one of her proudest sons.   

Three decades of research contributions have generated a prodigious number of manuscripts in leading scientific journals – 215 in the last count – which has garnered Dr. Gaisano a long track record of recognition and distinction as listed below: 

2020 Canada Research Chair in Diseases of the Endocrine and Exocrine Pancreas from the Federal Government

2016 Order of Ontario (Canada’s second highest honour, next to Order of Canada)

2013 Fellow, Canadian Academy of Health Sciences (equivalent to U.S. National Academy of Medicine)

2012 Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Award (Federal award for contributions to diabetes research)

2010 Canadian Association of Gastroenterology, Research Excellence Award 

2008 University of the Philippines Alumni Association (Toronto) Centennial Distinguished Graduate Award

2006     Most Outstanding Researcher, University of the Philippines Medical School Alumni Association

2003     Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation Award

1997 Canadian Association of Gastroenterology Young Investigator Award

1996     Eli Lilly – Banting and Best Research Award

1994 Young Investigator Award, American Pancreatic Association

1994 American Gastroenterology Association Research Scholar Award


Want to be inspired by another accomplished Chinoy? Check out the story of Jowan Sia, who finished 850 university courses during lockdown.

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