Marigold G. Lao, a VSU fresh grad, recently made buzz after presenting her study at the 2023 ASEAN Conference on Medicinal Forest Trees last September 5, 2023, in Clark Pampanga. Her research revolves on the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activities of peptide-rich extracts of "Kolong-kugon", a study that can potentially open new doors towards more opportunities in the future - not just for VSU, but for the Philippines.

Being a woman of science

Lao always had that inquisitive nature present in many great scientists since she was still a young girl. She would read science books and be fascinated with scientists and their discoveries and inventions. After a good read, she would always tell herself that she wanted to be like them someday.

The path towards becoming a scientist is filled with realizations that truly propelled her into pursuing her interests more. This has also pushed her to embrace the discipline more. Lao states, “putting theories into application then seeing what I can discover out of it is an interesting venture to take."

Her research on Kolong-kugon

According to her, what motivated her to carry out her research is the possibility of kolong – kugon as a medicinal plant in our country as well as the growing concern of people consuming plants, thinking that they are medicinal despite insufficient evidence.

This research allowed her to connect with not just other academic institutions in the Philippines, but from other countries as well. In addition, she believes that the results garnered from the research about the plant would be helpful to our society since it provides additional information about its medicinal potential. 

Further, Lao is grateful for the people who have rallied behind her back and offered her support in making this achievement possible. Marigold asserts, “I really believe that surrounding yourself with people who are as passionate as you are, will truly help you discover the hidden potential that is already inside you."

Not an easy road, just a persistent pilgrim.

To dream is one thing, to fulfill that dream is another. Thus,  Lao says that it is important to take a break every once in a while, especially during times when everything gets quite overwhelming. In her case, she engages in meaningful conversations with friends and asks advice from mentors, during the good and tough times of her research journey. And for her, it is essential to reserve a ‘me-time’ and have a quiet time with God.

To students, especially aspiring scientists, Marigold Lao shares this advice: “There is no such thing as instant success. When times get rough, do not easily give up. Just grit your teeth, be consistent, and trust the process. And since we are already in an era where information is easily accessible everywhere, please make use of your available resources wisely and efficiently. Hone your talents and skills, and create a vision you want to achieve then reach it.” 

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