Over a hundred biologists and healthcare professionals were trained on bioinformatics through the efforts of the Philippine Genomics Center (PGC), with support from the Department of Science and Technology (DOST).
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.
The training program will now boost the country’s pool of computational biology experts.
Dubbed as Internship Program for Increased Local Bioinformatics Utility and Expertise (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 (DOST-PCIEERD) Executive Director Dr. Enrico Paringit expressed high expectations for trained experts on bioinformatics to 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.
“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.