On the get-go, those who need to be on board must be on board”, DOST Undersecretary Rowena Cristina L. Guevara said in kicking off the session at the roundtable discussion (RTD) for the Nutrigenomics R&D Framework on Tuesday, 21 January 2020 at the Dusit Thani Manila.
In attendance to the RTD were 25 nutrition and public health experts who reviewed the research framework crafted by the Nutritional Genomics Unit of the Department of Science and Technology-Food and Nutrition Research Institute (DOST-FNRI) and reviewed by an in-house steering committee. Present during the RTD were representatives from the academe, research and research management, policy-making, and clinical practice.
In her message, USec. Guevara expressed her desire for the rapid implementation of the projects guided by the framework. This, according to her, will ensure the relevance of the field not only in research but as a support in the government’s aspirations under the AmBisyon Natin 2040 initiative. According to the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA), AmBisyon Natin 2040 is the “collective long-term vision and aspirations of the Filipino people in the next 25 years”.
Further, USec. Guevara conveyed that through this framework, Filipinos will view “food as a medicine, and not medicine as a food” – a dilemma being faced by a significant number of Filipinos living under medications for sustenance. Nutrition and public health research utilizing genomics technology have long promised to revolutionize public health through personalized nutrition and medicine. Adapting food (and medicine) based on an individual’s genetic makeup, lifestyle and environment is the concept of precision nutrition and personalized medicine.
The crafting of the research framework highlights the decade-long venture of DOST-FNRI in genomics research. Studies utilizing the omics approach started at the Institute in 2010 as part of DOST’s response to a global call to pump up innovation and as part of the Department’s initiative to showcase High Impact Technology Solutions (HITS). The newly-crafted Nutrigenomics R&D Framework is an instrument for engagement and cooperation in nutrigenomics as a field of scientific research. The framework is expected to drive focus and effective assessment of research priorities in nutrigenomics.