Brazilian materials scientist develops new method for early detection of kidney disease

Humboldt researcher Dr. Maria Rita Ortega Vega from the Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul in Brazil will be invited to the Faculty of Chemistry and Food Chemistry of the Technical University of Dresden. Here she will work with her host, Professor Stefan Kaskel, on the development of new electrochemical sensors for the saliva detection of kidney disease.

The kidneys are vital organs that clean the blood and influence many bodily functions. Many kidney diseases initially have no pain or symptoms. Often, only on random examination microscopically visible proteins or only traces of blood in the urine indicate kidney damage.

Brazilian materials scientist Dr. Maria Rita Ortega Vega wants to develop a completely new method for the early detection of kidney disease at the Technische Universität Dresden. To this end, she collaborates with the host Prof. Stefan Kaskel and his team during a Humboldt research stay. Kaskel is a professor of inorganic chemistry and is particularly involved in research on porous materials, for example for energy transition or for environmental technologies. However, Dr. Ortega Vega wishes to use these materials in his project “Electrochemical sensor based on nanostructured transition metals for the detection of salivary urea for the diagnosis of renal failure” to detect and quantify urea in saliva. using electrochemical techniques.

The presence and amount of urea in saliva can be an indicator of kidney problems. With such a sensor, patients and doctors can obtain reliable results quickly and without blood analysis. For patients who are already in the chronic stage of the disease, this technology can help assess the performance of the dialysis process. We plan to jointly develop a specific and sensitive material for this application.”

Maria Rita Ortega Vega, Humboldt researcher, Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul in Brazil

“I am delighted that we have been able to attract Ms. Ortega, a talented young scientist who is a perfect fit for our team, to TU Dresden. Her innovative research into new topics in biosensitivity will certainly benefit decisively from the excellent research environment in Dresden. says Professor Kaskel.

As Henriette Heart Scout of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, he has the opportunity to identify three excellent, highly sought-after young foreign scientists, nominate them for a Humboldt Research Fellowship and bring them to TU Dresden. Maria Rita Ortega Vega is the first compatriot that Kaskel was able to recruit for her team in this way.

“I liked the level of work of the team: there are many promising developments here with great opportunities for technology transfer and applicability. This is very important to me: doing science that can have an impact on society. I see science as a democratic project. , therefore studying systems and materials that are scalable to make them reach people through different applications and that can facilitate life, “materialize” knowledge, is a huge motivation. I also liked the infrastructure, which is very different from Brazil. TUD has different technologies and equipment that I’m not used to and I can’t wait to learn more”, says Maria Rita about his motivation to accept Stefan Kaskel’s invitation to Dresden.


Technical University Dresden

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