Much has changed in UP over the past 100 years. From one campus in Manila, it now has eight constituent universities with 17 campuses all over the country; it has 258 undergraduate programs; and 438 graduate programs with students from almost every region in the country.
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.
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.”
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.
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.”
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.