The Philippine Genome Center of the UP System welcomes Felicitas L. Lacbawan, MD who used to teach at the Department of Human Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at the UP College of Medicine. Dr. Lacbawan, a former chief medical officer for genetics and genomics in the US rejoined the University to rise to the challenge of the UP administration of bringing R&D outputs that will be felt by the Filipino people.

During the 1385th meeting of the University of the Philippines (UP) System Board of Regents (BOR) held at the University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB) on November 30, 2023, the Board confirmed the appointment of Dr. Felicitas L. Lacbawan as a Research Professor and Executive Director of the Philippine Genome Center under the Office of the Academic Affairs.

Dr. Lacbawan obtained her undergraduate and medical degrees from the University of the Philippines and eventually became a faculty member of the Department of Human Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at the UP College of Medicine. Her residency training in Clinical and Anatomic Pathology took place at the State University of New York (SUNY) Upstate Medical University, and she pursued a fellowship in Clinical Genetics at the National Human Genome Research Institute, National Institutes of Health (NHGRI-NIH). Dr. Lacbawan holds board certifications in Clinical Pathology, Anatomic Pathology, and Molecular Genetic Pathology from the American Board of Pathology and Clinical Genetics from the American Board of Medical Genetics and Genomics.

Having held positions at prominent institutions such as the Medical Genetics Branch, NHGRI-NIH, Children’s National Medical Center (CNMC), Lombardi Cancer Center at Georgetown University Medical Center (GUMC), and SUNY-Downstate Medical Center, Dr. Lacbawan has demonstrated leadership in clinical genetics and molecular genetic pathology. She has served as a Clinical Professor at esteemed medical institutions, including the George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences, Georgetown University School of Medicine, and SUNY Downstate College of Medicine. Dr. Lacbawan also received the Interagency Personnel Agreement between CNMC and NHGRI-NIH for five years.

In addition, she played a pivotal role in establishing CLIA-certified molecular diagnostic and NYSDOH-certified molecular pathology laboratories. Later, she became the Medical Director of Molecular Genetics at the Cleveland Clinic, founding the Molecular Pathology Fellowship Program.

Transitioning to the health industry, Dr. Lacbawan assumed the role of Vice President of Advanced Diagnostics – Genetics and Genomics, Research and Development, and Bioinformatics at the largest clinical diagnostics reference laboratory in the United States. In this capacity, she led medical, scientific, and laboratory directors in various domains, including Molecular, Biochemical, Cytogenetics and Genomics, Molecular Oncology/Hematopathology, Variant Annotation (VarIQTM), and Bioinformatics. Leveraging over 25 years of academic, clinical, and research experience in genetics and genomics, she played a key role in the transformative changes of Advanced Diagnostics at Quest Diagnostics. Dr. Lacbawan also contributed to professional committees such as the College of American Pathologists (CAP) Subcommittee on Biochemical and Molecular Genetics, the CAP Subcommittee on Pharmacogenomics, and the American College of Medical Genetics Professional and Practice Guidelines Committee. Additionally, she volunteered at the Undiagnosed Disorders Program at the NHGRI-NIH and served on expert panels for organizations like the CDC, CLSI, and NCI-NIH Think Tank, among others. She is also a member of various professional societies including the Philippine-American Academy of Science and Engineering (PAASE) and the UP Medical Alumni Society in America (UPMASA). Her extensive publications cover various topics, including developmental, mitochondrial, and neurological genetic disorders, chromosomal anomalies, cancer diagnostics, and molecular genetic test proficiency and utilization.

The Philippine Genome Center eagerly anticipates working with Dr. Lacbawan to enhance the omics capabilities of PGC, aiming to deliver exceptional services that positively impact the Filipino people.

In Photos: The Philippine Genome Center core facilities are made up of the Administrative Services Department (1), Core Facility for Bioinformatics (2), DNA Sequencing Core Facility (3-5), Protein, Proteomics, and Metabolomics Facility (6-7), Clinical Genomics Laboratory, and R&D programs and projects.