Instrumental Access 2017
Universidad Autónoma de Yucatán: Department of Chemical Engineering
Meet our Partner
The Universidad Autónoma de Yucatán (UADY) is the largest institution of higher education in Yucatán state. Its history can be traced back to 1611, when the Colegio de San Francisco Javier in Mérida was established via royal decree of the Spanish empire. The Department of Chemical Engineering offers 10 undergraduate and graduate programs to more than 1,200 students.
The Department’s research is focused on functional foods, biofuels, water treatment, nanomaterials, stem cells, sustainable process engineering, and supply chain management.
Working at the Frontier of Biotechnology to Halt the Diabetes Epidemic
As the worldwide diabetes epidemic continues to rise, Mexico is one of the countries that has been hardest hit. Innovative approaches to prevention and treatment are desperately needed to help the almost 15% of the adult population with diabetes–11 million people.
One such approach could come from an unlikely source: the soft tissue inside our teeth, called dental pulp.
Scientists have known for almost two decades that dental pulp contains one of the rarest biological treasures: stem cells, or undifferentiated cells that have the potential to transform themselves into other cell types. Stem cells have promise to open up entirely new avenues of treatment for a variety of diseases, including diabetes.
Relative to other types of stem cells, stem cells from dental pulp have been under-studied. Research Professors Leydi Carillo Cocom, PhD, Beatriz Rodas Junco, PhD, and Geovanny Nic Can, PhD, of UADY want to change that.
With support from the Mexican National Council of Science and Technology (CONACYT), they are seeking to understand the process by which stem cells from dental pulp become fat cells, which might someday be used as cell therapy in the treatment of diseases such as diabetes.
“The fact that these adult stem cells have a great plasticity is really interesting. Dental cells promise to give rise to new therapeutic strategies, particularly in the field of regenerative medicine,” says Dr. Nic Can. “They represent a source of hope.”
In addition to making strides in the treatment of diabetes, these researchers hope to train and inspire a new generation of scientists in Yucatán State. According to Dra. Rodas Junco, “the knowledge generated will have a regional impact that will develop cutting-edge research and high-level human resources for scientific development in the Southeast region of Mexico.”
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