Scientist Profile

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Beatriz L. Mercado

Plant Physiologist, Outstanding Achievement Award in Weed Science (1977)

Expertise: Agricultural Botany, Plant Physiology

Dr. Beatriz Mercado is recognized Betty, as she was known to many of her friends and classmates, was a lifelong resident of Los Baños. The eldest of three children, she attended Lopez Elementary School and UP Rural High School (where she graduated valedictorian of the Girls Curriculum in 1956) prior to entering the UP College of Agriculture where she earned her BS in Agriculture, major in Agricultural Botany degree, cum laude, in 1960. After teaching at her alma mater for 2 years, she was accepted for graduate studies at the University of Iowa, where as a Fulbright scholar, she finished her Ph.D. in Plant Physiology in 1966. After a stint doing post-doctoral work and traveling in the United States, she returned to Los Baños in 1968. It was there that she met Dr. Bonifacio T. Mercado (B.S. Agriculture, major in Agricultural Botany, 1959), and they were married in 1969. Together, they had five children, all of whom became UP Los Baños alumni themselves: Ramil Marcelo (B.S. Chemistry 91), Heidi Daniella (B.S. Economics 96, MS Development Communication 2005), Enrico Francisco (B.S. Biology 98), Paulo Bien (B.S. Animal Science 2000, Doctor of Veterinary Medicine 2004) and Lean Mamerto (B.S. Agricultural Chemistry 2007). It was a family that grew up with Cyperus rotundus, Rottboellia exaltata and 2,4-D. Even as her family grew, Betty became one of the country’s pioneers in the field of Weed Science. She was active in the Weed Science Society of the Philippines (WSSP), and the Pest Control Council of the Philippines (PCCP), presenting numerous papers at its annual meetings and garnering best paper awards in . She served as the WSSP Secretary and President. She served on the National Crop Protection Council, and was instrumental in the establishment of the National Crop Protection Center, one of the national centers of excellence established on campus when UPLB became a fully autonomous unit of the UP System. At the College of Agriculture, she rose through the ranks from Assistant Professor, then becoming a full Professor in 1985. Along the way, she taught classes and mentored a number of Filipino and foreign M.S. and Ph.D. students, many of whom have become renowned leaders in Weed Science themselves. For her excellence, passion and effort in academia, she was honored by the college with the Best Teacher Award in 1982. Her collective research culminated in the publication of a book, “Introduction to Weed Science,” in 1986, by the Southeast Asian Regional Council for Graduate Study and research in Agriculture (SEARCA), a book that is still in use. In addition to her academic duties, she also served as Editor-in-Chief of the Philippine Agriculturist (now known as The Philippine Agricultural Scientist), the preeminent journal for Agricultural Sciences in the country and in Southeast Asia. In 1983, she became President of the Asia-Pacific Weed Science Society (APWSS), which led to the Philippines hosting the annual conference in 1984. At the pinnacle of her career, she was honored by the Weed Science Society of America with an honorary membership in 1986, in a ceremony conducted in Houston, Texas. Betty passed away in 1988, after battling cancer. Through her career, she maintained her friendships with many of her classmates and colleagues. A quintessential scientist and teacher, she instilled the love of research and learning in her students and in her children.