Participants and organizers of the 5th batch of training of PGC under the IMBUE project.

MANILA—The Philippine Genomics Center (PGC), with support from the Department of Science and Technology (DOST), has trained 101 biologists and healthcare professionals on bioinformatics to boost the country’s pool of computational biology experts.

Dubbed Internship Program for Increased Local Bioinformatics Utility and Expertise or IMBUE, the training program was conducted in six weeks and covered topics on general bioinformatics and computational biology.

DOST Philippine Council for Industry, Energy and Emerging Technology Research and Development Executive Director Dr. Enrico Paringit expressed high expectations for  trained experts on bioinformatics will bolster the country’s response to future health scares.

“We hope that with the training is a shot in the arm for our scientific community as it imputes a new skill into our pool of experts,” he said.

Of the 101 trained bioinformatics, 22 professionals are from Central Luzon State University, UP Manila National Institutes of Health, and PGC Mindanao Satellite Facility which focused on viral metagenomics or the study of bacterial genetic materials, and protein structure analysis.

Bioinformatics has been vital in understanding the composition of Sars-CoV-2, the virus that inflicts the COVID-19 disease. It collects and analyzes complex biological data of the virus from its basic composition to mutation.

“We believe that the key to understanding and dealing with the Sars-CoV-2 relies on research and development. Thus, we want to increase our critical mass of experts in Bioinformatics who can conduct such studies and hopefully result to drug discovery and development; and in other means that will harness the power of bioinformatics” Paringit said.

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