The Department of Science and Technology-Philippine Council for Health Research and Development (DOST-PCHRD), University of The Philippines-Manila (UPM), and Fondazione Italiana Fegato (FIF) have signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) seeking to develop and promote scientific and technological cooperation on translational hetapology through joint research and development, grant of scholarships and research fellowships, and exchange of scientists, experts and researchers for studies, and training.
The tripartite pact was signed on Aug. 18 during a virtual signing ceremony, graced by officials of the DOST, UPM and FIF or the Italian Liver Foundation.
DOST Secretary Fortunato “Boy” T. de la Peña said the MOU sought to strengthen the ties among the cooperating institutions.
“The emergence and continual progression of COVID-19 has placed other patients with chronic illnesses at greater risk of dying by limiting their access to healthcare. Thus, our responsibility to continue our efforts in tackling long-standing health problems such as liver diseases is of great importance,” he said in his message.
“I am certain that this tripartite collaboration can create boundless opportunities for the involved parties to share information, services, and expertise with the global community towards the prevention and treatment of liver diseases.”
He said under the MOU, the DOST-PCHRD, UPM, and FIF will carry out scientific and technological cooperation on translational hepatology through the following initiatives:
-Joint Research and Development;
-Granting of scholarships for Master’s and PhD degrees, and post-graduate studies, research fellowships, research enrichment training;
-Exchange of scientists, experts, and researchers for studies, observations and training;
-Conduct of joint training and specialised training courses;
-Organization of joint conferences, symposia, workshops, and events;
-Promotion of collaboration between other relevant scientific institutions and organisations from the Philippines and Italy;
-Establishment of the Liver Research Program that will further open opportunities and developments in liver research-related infrastructures and resources;
-Convene a Philippine Liver Network comprised of academic and research institutions throughout the country; and
-Other forms of cooperation as the participants may mutually agree upon.
The MOU provides that the following areas on translational hepatology are to be explored: applications of OMICs technologies in explaining pathogenesis in liver diseases, biomarker discovery for precision medicine, discovery of novel therapeutic targets, and investigation of gut microbiome and liver diseases; animal and non-animal models for liver diseases; and artificial intelligence ad its application to diagnosis and prognostication in chronic liver disease.
“With the support of our partners, many possibilities and opportunities for our researchers and liver research in the country will be available which is consistent with DOST’s commitment in making “science for the people”,” de la Peña said.
(This article, written by Charissa Luci-Atienza, was first published in the Manila Bulletin Website on August 19, 2021)