Opening of the regenerative medicine research laboratory

Opening of the regenerative medicine research laboratory

Dr. Claudia Biguetti, assistant professor of medicine at the university, is establishing a new research laboratory at the School of Podiatric Medicine at the UTRGV focused on improving bone healing and regeneration. (UTRGV photo by Raul Gonzalez)

Mega Doctor News

By Karen Villareal

EDINBURGH, Texas – UTRGV researcher Dr. Claudia Biguetti, an assistant professor of medicine at the university, is setting up a new research lab at the UTRGV School of Podiatric Medicine focused on improving healing and bone regeneration.

Aided by a recent Rising STARs grant of $125,000 from the UT system, Biguetti will be able to work in a regenerative medicine research lab to study ways to optimize the natural ability of bones to repair themselves after reconstructive surgeries.

Biguetti is currently setting up a physical space at the UTRGV School of Podiatric Medicine in Harlingen that will serve as a “translational research” laboratory – meaning promising theoretical research in regenerative medicine will be applied to animal models or cell cultures before moving on to clinical trials.

The lab is expected to launch in November 2022.

“We really appreciate that our Dean, Dr. Javier La Fontaine, and UTRGV President, Guy Bailey, made the effort to secure this grant from the UT system,” Biguetti said. “It’s an incredible opportunity to be part of this new medical school, which values ​​research, teaching and community service with equal weight.”

RESEARCH IN BONE REGENERATION, BIOMATERIALS

Before training to become a Doctor of Bone Research, Biguetti, DDS, MSc, PhD, practiced as an oral surgeon and researcher in Brazil.

Observing that some patients did not heal after surgical procedures, such as the placement of titanium dental implants, she became interested in tissue regeneration surrounding biomaterials.

During her doctoral studies, she researched regenerative strategies and biomaterials as an avenue for the future treatment of large bone defects and fractures.

“We really appreciate that our Dean, Dr. Javier La Fontaine, and UTRGV President, Guy Bailey, made the effort to secure this grant from the UT system,” Biguetti said. “It’s an incredible opportunity to be part of this new medical school, which values ​​research, teaching and community service with equal weight.”

RESEARCH IN BONE REGENERATION, BIOMATERIALS

Before training to become a Doctor of Bone Research, Biguetti, DDS, MSc, PhD, practiced as an oral surgeon and researcher in Brazil.

Observing that some patients did not heal after surgical procedures, such as the placement of titanium dental implants, she became interested in tissue regeneration surrounding biomaterials.

During her doctoral studies, she researched regenerative strategies and biomaterials as an avenue for the future treatment of large bone defects and fractures.

“Our patients should be seen as an interconnected whole,” she said. “If one part of them – like the jawbone – is struggling or not healing because of a systemic condition, it’s likely they won’t heal in other areas of the skeletal system – like their feet.”

Today, the application of regenerative medicine to podiatry is at the center of his research.

“In podiatric medicine, surgeons also deal with the impaired healing capacity of musculoskeletal tissues,” Biguetti said. “For example, when treating an ankle fracture, a podiatrist can use titanium implants to reconnect two bones together, to promote healing and ultimately restore function.”

But in patients with impaired wound healing, she said, the procedure can often fail, which is why her research focuses on improving wound healing after surgery and placement of biomaterials — particularly in immunocompromised patients with chronic diseases that impair wound healing – such as diabetes – and in the elderly.

DIABETES AFFECTS HEALING

During her career as a clinician-researcher, Biguetti has witnessed the significant negative effects of diabetes on bone healing.

“Diabetes can lead to impaired bone regeneration as well as a range of other bone disorders that increase the risk of fractures and physical disability,” she said.

It’s concerning, she says, that it’s diminishing the quality of life for patients in the Rio Grande Valley, where the rate of diabetes is high.

“About 30% of our adult population in the valley has diabetes,” said Biguetti, whose family also has a history of diabetes and lower limb complications. “As a Latina, I wanted to play a role in finding answers to these global health issues that have a profound impact on our community.”

INNOVATIVE RESEARCH

She believes she can counter the negative impacts through her research and by mentoring students who are themselves contributing to research.

The new lab will be an opportunity for undergraduate and graduate students to engage in high-level biomedical research, she said, including identifying molecules that aid in regeneration and development. of methods to deliver them – such as through biomaterials that can be incorporated into surgery.

Other research is investigating these molecules as potential breakthroughs for new pharmaceuticals that stimulate natural healing.

“This domain connects many different domains. It’s important that our students are exposed to new and innovative ways of thinking about treatment and research,” Biguetti said. “This exposure helps form a strong foundation that will help them as they become clinicians and researchers themselves.”

For more information on upcoming collaborations or opportunities, contact Biguetti atclaudia.biguetti@utrgv.edu.

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