There’s an issue that is quickly gaining ground around the world. It doesn’t discriminate based on age or country of origin. It’s one that can affect virtually anyone, anywhere – with complex physical, psychological, and social implications. Obesity.

Geovanny Nic Can, Professor of the Department of Chemical Engineering at the Autonomous University of Yucatan, is keenly aware of this condition and the harm it poses to the people of his country and the world.

“Obesity is so serious that it is considered by many as an epidemic of the 21st century,” says Nic Can. “In our country, Mexico, we have the highest worldly incidence and more than 70 percent of adults in our population are obese. Nearly 35 percent of all children also present with these problems.”

In Mexico and across the globe, the numbers look grim. But thanks to the work of Nic Can and his team, there is hope for a healthier future.

Professor Geovanny Nic Can describes the impact of a PCR instrument donation on his team’s research

With a huge smile on his face, “Thank you so much for these small windows of opportunity that you’ve given, particularly in these times that we’re living in.”

Starting at the foundation to fight the condition of obesity

According to Nic Can, obesity is “the excessive accumulation of adipose tissue.” That’s why his research is grounded in the study of adipocytes: fat cells that accumulate in various parts of the body.

“I’m trying to understand the biology of the adipocytes utilizing stem cells of the oral cavity as a study model,” Nic Can explains. “It is urgent for us to understand the origin of adipocytes, particularly of those that generate outside of the fat deposits in our bodies. We have taken the challenge to identify and characterize the epigenetic regulators that could be directly involved in restricting or promoting the differentiation, development, and the expansion of these adipose cells.”

By identifying the sources and catalysts of different adipocytes, Nic Can is able to discover ways of replacing and converting adipose cells. The result? Therapeutic tools that can fight obesity and related diseases.

“We want to find an alternative to combat the damage that is caused by obesity in diverse tissues. It could regenerate people’s tissues and better their quality of life,” he says. “It would be grandiose for people who suffer from obesity to win back their normal life. This would be grandiose in the entire world.”

Life-changing research demands leading-edge equipment

Nic Can’s groundbreaking work certainly has the potential of changing the world. But that kind of scientific impact requires the right kind of tools – ones that aren’t easy to come by for Nic Can and his team.

Due to the shortage of reliable instrumentation at the university, Nic Can’s group must move between three different laboratories to perform their experiments – all situated a 30 to 40 minute drive apart.

“This impacts significantly the time that it takes us to resolve even the smallest questions or objectives,” Nic Can says. “To have a PCR machine could help us tremendously in various ways in the laboratory. This could help us very much to optimize our PCR samples and our expression analysis.”

Without a dependable and sophisticated PCR instrument, Nic Can is forced to do the best he can despite the many challenges – including repeating experiments, incurring more costs and dealing with contaminated or degraded samples. But thanks to a special opportunity, all of that is about to change.

Battling obesity with a PCR donation

Nic Can and other scientists in developing countries are getting the instruments they need to accelerate their research. Through a partnership with Boston-based NGO Seeding Labs, Thermo Fisher Scientific is giving customers a way to trade up their legacy thermal cyclers and donate them for use in labs like Nic Can’s.

As he awaits the arrival of his team’s own PCR thermal cycler, Nic Can can hardly contain his excitement.

“We’re going to feel beyond grateful,” he says with a smile. “Having a machine that will give us quick results and also firsthand (not from another source) will allow us to move forward with our other experiments and it will just be fantastic!”

Faster results. More answers. Healthier lives. Fantastic, indeed.

Discover how you can contribute today by partnering up with us. When you trade up your thermal cycler, you become an instrument of change and help accelerate the research of global scientists like Geovanny Nic Can. Find more details on how you can support by visiting Donate and be an instrument of change.

Learn more about our partnership


Molecular Biology Resource Library

Access valuable support for standard molecular biology techniques from our library of webinars, videos, articles, and more. 

Molecular Biology Web Tools

Utilize free online tools for primer analysis, reaction setup, biochemical conversions, and calculators.

Product selection guides

Molecular Biology Handbook

Optimize your experiments. Our latest edition is improved with more technical tips, educational tools, and guidance to select the right molecular biology products.

Molecular Biology Product Discontinuations

Find an alternate to a discontinued molecular biology product.

Services and Support Resources

Email or call our Technical Application Scientists for additional questions regarding molecular biology products.