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Commending Vincent Paul Diego, Ph.D.

Del. Madeleine Z. Bordallo

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Mr. Speaker, I rise today to recognize and commend Vince P. Diego for the completion of his Doctor of Philosophy in Anthropology from the State University of New York at Binghamton. I had the privilege of attending Dr. Diego's Doctoral degree presentation on May 14, 2005, and was extremely impressed by the accomplishments of this promising man who hails from the village of Inarajan and completed his undergraduate studies in biology at the University of Guam. Vince is an outstanding role model for young Chamorros in Guam and a shining example that perseverance, dedication and excellence will be recognized and rewarded.

One of Dr. Diego's primary research interests is the rare neurodegenerative disease amyotrophic lateral sclerosis/Parkinsons-dementia complex, which has a historically high prevalence in Guam where it is known as lytico-bodig. Dr. Diego's ongoing research with his dissertation advisor Dr. Ralph M. Garruto seeks to provide a greater understanding of this disease, which is one of the most compelling unresolved mysteries of modem medicine. He would like to return to Guam after he completes his training to carry out his own research on the biomedical problems of Chamorros, the indigenous people of Guam, and other Micronesians.

His research interests also include diseases that are described as ``metabolic syndromes,'' which include heart disease, diabetes, hypertension and obesity. Chamorros, Filipinos, and other Asian and Pacific Islander American groups in Guam suffer disproportionately from these diseases. As the Chair of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus's Health Task Force, I have called for the need to better understand how our communities are affected by these devastating diseases. Dr. Diego is one of the scientists who is on the front line of learning more about these diseases and how they can be prevented and treated in our communities. His current research activities as a post-doctoral scientist at the Southwest Foundation for Biomedical Research's Department of Genetics include the statistical genetics of the metabolic syndrome in American Indians, Alaskan Natives, and Mexican Americans of San Antonio and on theoretical modeling in statistical genetics.

Dr. Diego's parents are Frank Paulino Diego and Teresita Taitague Diego of Inarajan and he is the youngest of six children. He graduated from Guam's Father Duenas Memorial School in 1990.