PGC Visayas inaugurated in Iloilo

| Written by KIM G Quilinguing

Video by UP Media and Public Relations Office


“This is UP Visayas at its best.” That is how University of the Philippines Visayas Chancellor Clement Camposano described the new Philippine Genome Center Visayas during its inauguration on November 20, 2020 at the University of the Philippines Visayas Miagao campus in Iloilo.

A product of the efforts of the Philippine Genome Center and UPV, with the support of the University of the Philippines System and the Department of Science and Technology, PGC Visayas will pursue research for fisheries and aquatics, agriculture and medicine.


Unveiling of the facility Marker. Photo courtesy of UP Visayas Information and Publications Office.


For PGC Visayas Program Director Victor Marco Emmanuel Ferriols, this “small investment in human capital in PGC Visayas will go a long way.” And prior to the inauguration, the unit has already delivered some dividends when it conducted activities related to the COVID 19 pandemic.

Among these were: training of local health professionals in the use of the Manila HealthTek Real-Time Reverse Transcription Polymerase Chain Reaction or rRT-PCR test kit; assistance in the setting up of laboratories in the region; and, the conduct of four seminars in bioinformatics for local researchers and health workers.

In the pipeline, according to Ferriols, is the creation of a research consortium with several universities and research institutions from Luzon to Mindanao, which will allow for the exchange of studies and collaborative efforts. “What we want to achieve is the multiplier effect,” he said.


PGC Program Director Dr. Victor Marco Emmanuel Ferriols giving his Opening Remarks. Photo courtesy of UP Visayas Information and Publications Office.


With its new facilities and equipment, the PGC Visayas will be able to offer services in nucleic acid extraction, new generation sequencing and bioinformation analyses.

With its presence in the Visayas, PGC Executive Director Cynthia Palmes-Saloma said the rich environment will allow the conduct of new studies which could lead to discoveries in fisheries, agriculture and medicine.

Being at the helm of the PGC, Saloma said the pandemic has posed a difficult challenge for science researchers, particularly in genomics. But she added, “It was also an opportunity for us to recognize our strengths and assist each other.”


PGC Visayas Program Director Dr. Victor Marco Emmanuel Ferriols explaining the facilities to UP Visayas Chancellor Clement Camposano during the laboratory tour. Photo courtesy of UP Visayas Information and Publications Office.


UP President Danilo Concepcion meanwhile said the PGC Visayas is an added asset of the University, which will allow its students, researchers and faculty, including high school students, to pursue genomics research. The facility will help shape the minds of the intrepid scientifically inclined members of the community as they help shape the nation.

For DOST Secretary Fortunato de le Peña, the opening of PGC Visayas is a “milestone not only for UP Visayas but also for genomics research in the country.” With its recent efforts in response to the COVID 19 pandemic, which included the creation of a locally made testing kit, he is confident the PGC will continue to provide research and assistance in understanding and combatting the virus. He ended his message by reminding those present that scientific research “will always be in the service of the people.”

UP Vice President for Academic Affairs Cynthia Rose Bautista and DOST Regional Director Rowen Gelonga also extended their congratulations via video messages during the inauguration.


UP Visayas Chancellor Camposano and PGC Visayas Program Director Ferriols with UPV officials and guests. Photo courtesy of UP Visayas Information and Publications Office.


After the short program, the officials present in the facility were given a short tour by Ferriols, as well as a short briefer on what PGC Visayas intends to pursue in the months ahead.

PGC Visayas in UP Visayas in Iloilo is one of three facilities of the Philippine Genome Center of the University of the Philippines System. The other two are in UP Diliman in Quezon City, and in UP Mindanao in Davao City. It is mandated to conduct research and to foster collaboration and capacity building in the development of genome-based applications. The Center is a multidisciplinary research unit which also offers a range of bioinformatics services, such as single-gene sequencing and high-throughput sequencing.


With reports from UP Visayas Information and Publications Office