12 schools gather in UPLB for 9th Nat’l GeneSoc Genetics Camp

Written by Rachel N. Nuñez with reports from Arneth D. Abad
Originally Published LB Times

A hundred and twelve (112) high school students and 20 teachers representing 12 schools from different parts of the country took part in the two-day 9th Genetic Camp held on January 18-19 at the UP Los Baños (UPLB) Institute of Biological Sciences (IBS) in Los Baños, Laguna.

Officially endorsed by the Department of Education (DepEd), this year’s camp is themed “GENEnovation: Paving the way for Medical Improvement through Pharmacogenomics”, which highlighted pharmacogenomics. Pharmacogenomics is a new field in genetics that produces tailor-made drugs suited to each person’s genetic make-up, which targets to create cheaper and personalized therapies.

The UPLB Genetics Society (GeneSoc) 9th Genetic Camp aims to promote appreciation of Genetics and its developments. According to Kate Samaniego, this year’s Genetic Camp head, the growing interest in the medical field was their inspiration for this year’s camp.

Participating schools include Aurora National Science High School, Caritas Don Bosco School, Joroan National High School, Laguna College,  Philippine Science High School Western Visayas Campus, Quezon National High School,  Ramon Magsaysay High School, Rosario Quezada Memorial High School, San Juan National High School, St. Anne College, St. Jude Catholic School, and Tabaco National High School.

Professors from the UPLB Genetics and Molecular Biology Division were the resource persons for the camp including Dr. Rita Laude, Dr. Ma. Genaleen Diaz, and Dr. Merlyn Mendioro.

The UPLB Genetics experts were accompanied by Dr. Geraldo Balaccua of Pascual Laboratories, Inc. and Dr. Francisco Heralde who are both specialists in pharmacogenomics. Drs. Balaccua and Heralde discussed the process and application of pharmacogenomics.

Dr. Heralde, associate professor at the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology of the University of the Philippines Manila, said that the event is an opportunity to disseminate the new study to a wider audience

“It’s good that this event is for the high school students and teachers so that they will become more aware of the advances in science and technology, genetics, molecular biology, and pharmacogenomics and their current applications in the Philippines. In one way, we encourage these high school students to go to the field of science because there is a need for more Filipinos to engage in the field and apply this in the local setting,” Dr. Heralde explained.

Related Links:
Background material on the Genetics Camp (GeneSoc Website/Google Site)
GenCamp 2014 Page (GeneSoc Website/Google Site)