Filipino scientists win U.S. Golden Goose Award for snail study leading to non-opioid pain reliever

Filipino scientists U.S. Golden Goose Award
Filipino scientists Dr. Baldomero “Toto” Olivera and Dr. Lourdes “Luly” Cruz are the latest winners of the 2022 Golden Goose Awards. Photos from the Golden Goose Awards.

Filipino scientists Dr. Lourdes “Luly” Cruz and Dr. Baldomero “Toto” Olivera have won the Golden Goose Awards for their research on the venom of cone snails which led to the development of a non-opioid pain reliever for patients battling chronic illnesses.

The Filipino chemists, along with then-undergraduate students Craig Clark and Michael McIntosh, were named among this year’s winners of the awards organized by the American Association for the Advancement of Science to honor federally funded research that unexpectedly benefits society.

Dr. Cruz and Dr. Olivera met as students at the University of the Philippines and later on began studying cone snails, a group of highly venomous sea mollusks commonly found in Philippine reefs and waters.

“Doing science in the Philippines at that time was quite difficult. And this is where we all agreed that we should work on something that we will have an advantage,” Cruz said in the video uploaded by the Golden Goose Award.

“And then we suggested working on the cone snails, because we have a diversity of cone snails and we can easily get it,” Cruz added.

The team discovered the raw material for a non-opioid pain reliever as well as a powerful new tool for studying the central nervous system hidden in the cone snail’s potent venom.

This year’s Golden Goose Awards also picked two teams that pioneered scientific breakthroughs that led to the development of a bladeless LASIK procedure and paper microscopes that help make science more accessible globally.

The three winning teams were honored in the 11th annual Golden Goose Award ceremony on September 14, 2022.

The Golden Goose Award celebrates silly, odd, and obscure sounding U.S. federally funded research that has returned serious benefits to society.

Filipino researchers from the University of the Philippines Diliman (UPD) and the University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB) earlier bagged top honors in the second Hitachi Global Foundation Asia Innovation Awards. Meanwhile, UP scientists Dr. Rodney Perez and Maria Isabel Layson were honored in Encyclopedia Britannica’s 20 Under 40 list of Young Shapers of the Future who are making their mark on history.

SEND CONGRATULATIONS in the comments below to Filipino scientists Dr. Lourdes “Luly” Cruz and Dr. Baldomero “Toto” Olivera for winning the U.S. Golden Goose Awards and WATCH this video for the full story of their winning research on the venom of cone snails!

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Margo is a voracious reader - some might even say she reads too much for her own good. She majored in BS Psychology and hopes to become a forensic psychologist one day. She’s also an aspiring writer, mental health advocate, and a staunch believer of equality.