The groundbreaking ceremony for the Philippine Genome Center building last April 10 signaled the advancement of genomics research and development in the country.
Established in 2009, the PGC is an ambitious joint project of the University of the Philippines (UP) and Department of Science and Technology (DOST) that aims to tap genomics—the study of an organism's complete set of DNA—to improve crops, conserve biodiversity, improve disease diagnostics, and aid in forensics, among others.
Dr. Carmencita Padilla, PGC’s executive director, said that this day is a significant beginning for her and all the people behind the PGC. She recounted that back in 2009 only four people were involved in PGC. “Now we have more than 60 research assistants and 20 project leaders,” she said.
The construction of the PGC building is expected to be completed in one year. The PGC is temporarily housed at the National Institute of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology (NIMBB) at the National Science Complex in UP Diliman.
Dr. Padilla acknowledged DOST’s support to the PGC in the last five years. “(DOST) believed that genomics can make a difference in the lives of people,” she said. She further revealed that DOST has provided PhP 600M for PGC.
In his message, DOST Undersecretary Fortunato T. De La Peña said that PGC is “part of our (DOST’s) goal to be world class and competitive” and said that UP and its research centers can expect more support from the DOST in the coming years.
Likewise, UP President Alfredo E. Pascual remarked that the construction of PGC building is another landmark achievement for the university as it builds itself as a research-intensive university.
“It will add to the skyline of the National Science Complex,” he said.
The new home of the PGC will be on A. Ma. Regidor Street across the PAG-ASA Observatory, and behind the newly-constructed NIMBB in the National Science Complex in UP Diliman campus.
It will house three core facilities, namely the DNA Sequencing Core Facility (DSCF), Core Facility for Bioinformatics (CFB), and Biobank Facility (BF) as well as the offices and research laboratories of the PGC’s five research programs namely Agriculture/Livestock/Fisheries; Biodiversity for Drug Discovery and Bio-energy; Ethics, Legal and Social Issues; Forensics and Ethnicity; and the Health Program. Currently, the PGC Core Facilities and offices are being housed in NIMBB.
DOST, UP BREAK GROUND FOR GENOME CENTER. DOST Undersecretary for Scientific and Technological Services Fortunato T. De La Peña (4th from left) and UP President Dr. Alfredo E. Pascual (5th from left) lead the groundbreaking ceremony of the Philippine Genome Center (PGC) building in University of the Philippines Diliman. The PGC is a multidisciplinary institution for basic and applied research for development of health diagnostics, therapeutics, DNA forensics and preventive products, and improved crop varieties. Also in the photo are (L-R) DOST Assistant Secretary Raymund E. Liboro, PGC’s Program Director for DNA Sequencing Core Facility Dr. Cynthia Palmes Saloma, DOST-Philippine Council for Health Research and Development Executive Director Dr. Jaime C. Montoya, PGC Executive Director Dr. Carmencita D. Padilla, DOST-Philippine Council for Industry, Energy and Emerging Technology Research and Development Executive Director Dr. Rowena Cristina L. Guevara, UP Diliman Chancellor Dr. Michael L. Tan, PGC’s Program Director for Biodiversity Dr. Gisela P. Concepcion, and PGC’s Program Director for Agriculture Dr. Rita P. Laude. (Photo by Henry A. de Leon, S&T Media Service, DOST-STII).