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Unifesp profits from reforms and new laboratories

A boost for studies on aging and arthritis

The study of fibers with collagen and elastin contained in the extra-cellular matrix of the connecting tissue of the entire organism is the main work being developed by the researcher Olga Toledo, of the Morphology Department of the Federal University of São Paulo (Unifesp). This research, and the others being carried out in the department, have gotten a boost through the improvements in the infrastructure of the installations, which settled serious problems and made it possible to bring in of front line techniques into their work. In her view, this has already been reflected in the amount of research, some linked to the processes of aging and arthritis and others to bone and teeth illnesses. “Here we work with dangerous substances such as osmium. Before the renovation, the experiments had to be done next to the windows, as we didn’t have effective fume cupboards”, recalls Olga.

At the National Institute of Pharmacology and Molecular Biology (Infar), three modern pieces of equipment were purchased. A confocal microscope with a multiphoton source (the only one in the country), a flow cytometer and a DNA sequencer, fundamental machines for front line research in the area of pharmacology and molecular biology. Furthermore, a circular dichroism laboratory and another specially adapted for use with radioactive materials were established.

The improvements in the laboratories benefited 300 teacher and students who normally use the facilities. In the Biophysics Department, the new equipment helped in the research linked to malignant hyperthermia, an illness of the human bone medulla, and renal functions, since it allowed for the study of vaso-active peptides that operate in these illnesses. In the area of biochemistry, the Infar got the re-enforcement of the technique of circular dichroism for the study of proteins and inhibitors that play an important role in the coagulation of the blood and in illnesses such as thrombosis. The studies linked to hepatic metabolism and to the investigation of glycol-conjugates related to cancer and illnesses caused by fungi and parasites, were also broadened.

Another area essential for Infar, pharmacology, absorbed new and modern research techniques for the study of the action of medicines in hypertension and in diabetes; of the metabolism of calcium in the process of muscular contraction; in the segment of experimental endocrinology; and in the pharmacological study of medicinal plants.