UP inaugurates Genomics facility

 02 - 27 - 19
University of the Philippines System- Diliman News
A researcher uses the Illumina® MiSeq FGxTM Forensic Genomics System, one of the next-generation sequencing equipment at the SGCL. (Photo by Misael Bacani, UP MPRO)

 

The Shared Genomics Core Laboratory (SGCL) at the Philippine Genome Center (PGC), UP Diliman was inaugurated on February 20 and officially handed over by the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) to the University.

 

Clockwise from top: (1) The SGCL marker is unveiled by (from left) CHED Chair Prospero de Vera III, DOST Secretary Fortunato de la Peña, and UP President Danilo Concepcion, with UP Manila Chancellor Carmencita Padilla and DOH Assistant Secretary Lyndon Lee Suy. (2) CHED Chair de Vera hands the set of keys to the SGCL rooms to UP President Concepcion. (3) The ribbon at the SGCL entrance is cut by (from left) CHED Chair de Vera, DOST Secretary de la Peña, UP President Concepcion, and UP Manila Chancellor Padilla. Behind them are (from left) SGCL project leader, and UP Manila Vice Chancellor for Research and National Institutes of Health Executive Director Eva Cutiongco-de la Paz, PGC Executive Director Cynthia Saloma, and UP VP for Academic Affairs Maria Cynthia Rose Bautista. (Photos by Misael Bacani, UP MPRO)

 

The facility, comprised of seven rooms, is the product of a grant from CHED-Philippine-California Advanced Research Institutes (CHED-PCARI). In its marker, the SGCL is described “as a purpose-built resource which seeks to strengthen national laboratory capacity for high-throughput genomics research, and expand collaborations, networking and information exchanges within the Philippine scientific community, Government and Private Universities and Colleges, and Research Institutions in the country.”

 

SGCL project leader, and UP Manila Vice Chancellor for Research and National Institutes of Health Executive Director Eva Cutiongco-de la Paz shows (from left) CHED Chair Prospero de Vera III, DOST Secretary Fortunato de la Peña, and UP President Danilo Concepcion the next-generation sequencing equipment during a tour of the facility. Bottom photo: A light moment captured after DOST Undersecretary Rowena Guevara (rightmost) tells UP President Concepcion beside her that more plantilla items are needed by the PGC. He, in turn, asks DBM Undersecretary Lilia Guilllermo (leftmost) for the said items, as DOST Philippine Council for Health Research and Development Executive Director Jaime Montoya looks on. (Photos by Misael Bacani, UP MPRO)

 

“This is a promising time in the use of genomics,” says PGC Executive Director Cynthia Saloma in her welcome remarks. (Photo by Misael Bacani, UP MPRO)

 

Genomics research is vital to human, animal, and plant health. During outbreaks, for example, genomics can help in the identification of known and unknown pathogens needed for rapid response, control, and treatment. Genomics and next-generation sequencing are also integral to the achievement of precision medicine, where a patient’s genes determine drug therapy and dosage.

 

SGCL project leader, and UP Manila Vice Chancellor for Research and National Institutes of Health Executive Director Eva Cutiongco-de la Paz illustrates in her report the process of precision medicine using the Cancer Genomics Program as an example. (Photo by Misael Bacani, UP MPRO)

 

In the program, Dr. Eva Maria Cutiongco-de la Paz, leader of the CHED-PCARI SGCL project, revealed that one of the lab’s initiatives toward precision medicine is on pharmacogenomics-driven treatment for heart disease, cancer, and diabetes. Their goal, she said, is treatment that prescribes “the right drug at the right dose for the right Filipino”.

Cutiongco-de la Paz also announced that the SGCL will be instrumental to the PGC’s flagship project, FILIPINOme, which aims to sequence 7,107 Filipino genomes. By doing so, she said, the project can “increase understanding of genetic variations that lead to new treatments and diagnostics; promote greater public understanding of the benefits of genomic medicine and facilitate the integration of genomic medicine into health system; and stimulate discoveries and innovations in the Philippine life science industry.”

 

“We don’t do research to satisfy academic curiosity. We do research to find solutions to the woes of our people,” UP President Danilo Concepcion reminds scientists and researchers. (Photo by Misael Bacani, UP MPRO)

 

“This is an affirmation that the CHED-PCARI program was a good decision from the start,” says CHED Chair Prospero de Vera III, who has been part of the initiative since he was UP VP for Public Affairs. (Photo by Misael Bacani, UP MPRO)

 

“The Department is paying close attention to the utilization of research,” reveals DOST Secretary Fortunato de la Peña. (Photo by Misael Bacani, UP MPRO)

 

“Precision medicine will be groundbreaking for our country,” declares DOH Assistant Secretary Lyndon Lee Suy. (Photo by Misael Bacani, UP MPRO)

 

“PGC still needs a lot of help, especially with items for its employees,” says UP Manila Chancellor Carmencita Padilla. She was instrumental in the establishment of the PGC and was its first executive director. (Photo by Misael Bacani, UP MPRO)

 

“We are accountable to the Filipino people,” UP VP for Academic Affairs Maria Cynthia Rose Bautista emphasizes in her closing remarks. (Photo by Misael Bacani, UP MPRO)

 

As its name indicates, the SGCL is a shared facility that is open to Filipinos doing genomics research. It also offers low-cost, high-quality sequencing services, conducts training and instruction on next-generation sequencing methods and analysis, and complements current resources that support innovations in teaching genomics.

First Appeared on University of the Philippines System- Diliman

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