Pontificia Universidad Católica del Ecuador
Recent publications
Background The Galapagos sea lion, Zalophus wollebaeki, is an endemic and endangered otariid, which is considered as a sentinel species of ecosystem dynamics in the Galapagos archipelago. Mitochondrial DNA is an important tool in phylogenetic and population genetic inference. In this work we use Illumina sequencing to complement the mitogenomic resources for Zalophus genus—the other two species employed Sanger sequencing—by a complete mitochondrial genome and a molecular clock of this species, which is not present in any case. Materials and Methods We used DNA obtained from a fresh scat sample of a Galapagos sea lion and shotgun-sequenced it on the Illumina NextSeq platform. The obtained raw reads were processed using the GetOrganelle software to filter the mitochondrial Zalophus DNA reads (∼16% survive the filtration), assemble them, and set up a molecular clock. Results From the obtained 3,511,116 raw reads, we were able to assemble a full mitogenome of a length of 16,676 bp, consisting of 13 protein-coding genes (PCGs), 22 transfer RNAs (tRNA), and two ribosomal RNAs (rRNA). A time-calibrated phylogeny confirmed the phylogenetic position of Z. wollebaeki in a clade with Z. californianus, and Z. japonicus, and sister to Z. californianus; as well as establishing the divergence time for Z. wollebaeki 0.65 million years ago. Our study illustrates the possibility of seamlessly sequencing full mitochondrial genomes from fresh scat samples of marine mammals.
We aim to investigate an integro-differential inclusion using a novel computational approach in this research. The use of quantum calculus, and consequently the creation of discrete space, allows the computer and computational algorithms to solve our desired problem. Furthermore, to guarantee the existence of the solution, we use the endpoint property based on fixed point methods, which is one of the most recent techniques in fixed point theory. The above will show the novelty of our work, because most researchers use classical fixed point techniques in continuous space. Moreover, the sensitivity of the parameters involved in controlling the existence of the solution can be recognized from the heatmaps. For a better understanding of the issue and validation of the results, we presented numerical algorithms, tables and some figures in our examples that are presented at the end of the work.
A checklist of Lichen-forming, Lichenicolous and Allied Fungi of Ecuador is presented with a total of 2599 species, of which 39 are reported for the first time from the country. The names of three species, Hypotrachyna montufariensis , H. subpartita and Sticta hypoglabra , previously not validly published, are validated. Pertusaria oahuensis , originally introduced by Magnusson as ‘ ad interim ’, is validated as Lepra oahuensis . The form Leucodermia leucomelos f. albociliata is validated. Two new combinations, Fissurina tectigera and F. timida , are made, and Physcia mobergii is introduced as a replacement name for the illegitimate P. lobulata Moberg non (Flörke) Arnold. In an initial step, the checklist was compiled by reviewing literature records of Ecuadorian lichen biota spanning from the late 19th century to the present day. Subsequently, records were added based on vouchers from 56 collections participating in the Consortium of Lichen Herbaria , a Symbiota-based biodiversity platform with particular focus on, but not exclusive to, North and South America. Symbiota provides sophisticated tools to manage biodiversity data, such as occurrence records, a taxonomic thesaurus, and checklists. The thesaurus keeps track of frequently changing names, distinguishing taxa currently accepted from ones considered synonyms. The software also provides tools to create and manage checklists, with an emphasis on selecting vouchers based on occurrence records that can be verified for identification accuracy. Advantages and limitations of creating checklists in Symbiota versus traditional ways of compiling these lists are discussed. Traditional checklists are well suited to document current knowledge as a ‘snapshot in time’. They are important baselines, frequently used by ecologists and conservation scientists as an established naming convention for citing species reported from a country. Compiling these lists, however, requires an immense effort, only to inadequately address the dynamic nature of scientific discovery. Traditional checklists are thus quickly out of date, particularly in groups with rapidly changing taxonomy, such as lichenized fungi. Especially in megadiverse countries, where new species and new occurrences continue to be discovered, traditional checklists are not easily updated; these lists necessarily fall short of efficiently managing immense data sets, and they rely primarily on secondary evidence (i.e. literature records rather than specimens). Ideally, best practices make use of dynamic database platforms such as Symbiota to assess occurrence records based both on literature citations and voucher specimens. Using modern data management tools comes with a learning curve. Systems like Symbiota are not necessarily intuitive and their functionality can still be improved, especially when handling literature records. However, online biodiversity data platforms have much potential in more efficiently managing and assessing large biodiversity data sets, particularly when investigating the lichen biota of megadiverse countries such as Ecuador.
Eucalyptus snout beetles are a complex of at least eight cryptic species (Curculionidae: Gonipterus scutellatus complex), native to mainland Australia and Tasmania, that defoli-ate Eucalyptus trees and are considered important pests. Since the 19th century, three species of the complex have been introduced to other continents. Here, we document the presence of Eucalyptus snout beetles in Ecuador. We used DNA data for species identification and unambiguously demonstrated that the Ecuadorian specimens belong to the species Gonipterus platensis, which has low genetic diversity compared with other species in the complex. We analyzed G. platensis' potential distribution in South America with ecological niche models and found several areas of high to intermediate climatic suitability, even in countries where the pest has not been registered, like Peru and Bolivia. Accurate identification of species in the G. scutellatus complex and understanding of their potential distribution are essential tools for improved management and prevention tactics. K E Y W O R D S ecological niche model, forest pest, Gonipterus platensis, invasive species
Background The prevalence of marijuana use and its derivatives has surged over the past century, largely due to increasing legalization globally. Despite arguments advocating its benefits, marijuana smoking exposes the lungs to harmful combustion byproducts, leading to various respiratory issues such as asthma, pneumonia, emphysema, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Methods We embarked on an extensive literature search, utilizing PubMed/Medline, Scopus, Web of Science, and Google Scholar databases, identifying 200 studies. After the elimination of duplicates, and meticulous review of abstracts and full texts, 55 studies were included in our analysis. Results Current literature demonstrates that marijuana use negatively impacts lung function, triggering symptoms like chronic cough, sputum production, and wheezing, and diminishing FEV1/FVC ratio in spirometry tests. Moreover, prolonged or chronic marijuana use augments the risk of respiratory function impairment. While the carcinogenic effects of marijuana are still contested, a weak correlation between marijuana use and lung cancer has been observed in some studies. Additionally, instances of other pathologies linked to marijuana use have been reported, including the development of COPD, pulmonary bullae, spontaneous pneumothorax, pleuritic pain, chronic pulmonary aspergillosis, hemoptysis, and pulmonary Langerhans cell histiocytosis. Conclusions The evidence underscores that marijuana use is detrimental to respiratory health. In light of the escalating trend of marijuana use, particularly among the youth, it is imperative to advocate public health messages discouraging its consumption.
This study’s objective was to evaluate the effectiveness of three different families of drugs (Empagliflozin [an SGLT-2 inhibitor], Tirzepatide [a GLP-1 receptor co-agonist], and Teneligliptin [DPP-4 inhibitor] used in the treatment of type 2 diabetes in lowering HbA1c levels in people with type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM). The effectiveness of different families of diabetic drugs was assessed using a meta-analytic approach. Data were gathered from a variety of research publications using ICTRP, CT.gov, and PubMed databases. The data were analyzed, and conclusions were drawn using forest plots. Teneligliptin (a DPP-4 Inhibitor) substantially lowered HbA1c levels in T2DM patients compared to other classes of T2DM drugs with a P-value of 0.0002 and 95% CI -0.63 [-0.97 to -0.30] after reviewing many pertinent articles. The pooled data analysis showed that Tirzepatide and Empagliflozin did not significantly lower HbA1c levels, with the P-value for Tirzepatide being P = 0.55 and for Empagliflozin, it was P = 0.64. According to our research, Teneligliptin may be more effective than Empagliflozin and Tirzepatide as a monotherapy for lowering HbA1c levels in T2DM patients. To corroborate these findings, further research studies are required.
This paper presents a new general subfamily $\mathcal{N}_{\Sigma_{m}}^{u, v}(\eta, \mu, \gamma, \ell)$ of the family $\Sigma_{\mathrm{m}}$ that contains holomorphic normalized $m$-fold symmetric bi-univalent functions in the open unit disk $\mathbb{D}$ associated with the Ruscheweyh derivative operator. For functions belonging to the family introduced here, we find estimates on the Taylor-Maclaurin coefficients $\left|a_{m+1}\right|$ and $\left|a_{2 m+1}\right|$, and the consequences of the results are discussed. The current findings both extend and enhance certain recent studies in this field, and in specific scenarios, they also establish several connections with known results.
Complete and precise volcano-seismic event catalogues are important not only for the statistical value that they possess for describing past volcanic activity, but also because they constitute the input for automated systems that help monitor volcanic activity in real time. Computer systems are valuable assets in the task of volcano-seismic event classification because in theory they can have improved performance compared to humans due to speed, consistency, and unbiasedness. However, such systems are trained with data from previously created catalogues of events, and as such, if catalogues have noise, the systems will learn incorrectly. In this work, we propose the implementation of a methodology that is relatively easy and fast to apply for the identification of potentially mislabeled events in a seismic event catalogue. We compare the results of applying the procedure to two open catalogues from Cotopaxi and Llaima volcanoes. The first catalogue is believed to have an unknown but potentially significant level of noise, while the other is assumed to be clean. We further validate our results for one of the datasets with volcano observatory scientists in a blind-review fashion to demonstrate some of the hypotheses that can arise in a catalogue with a presumably important level of noise. We conclude that the methodology is valid for identifying potentially mislabeled seismic events and can help in assessing the quality of a given catalogue.
The idea of fuzzy differential subordination is a generalisation of the traditional idea of differential subordination that evolved in recent years as a result of incorporating the idea of fuzzy set into the field of geometric function theory. In this investigation, we define some general classes of p-valent analytic functions defined by the fuzzy subordination and generalizes the various classical results of the multivalent functions. Our main focus is to define fuzzy multivalent functions and discuss some interesting inclusion results and various other useful properties of some subclasses of fuzzy p-valent functions, which are defined here by means of a certain generalized Srivastava-Attiya operator. Additionally, links between the significant findings of this study and preceding ones are also pointed out.
Abstract: The main idea of the current investigation is to explore some new aspects of Ostrowski's type integral inequalities implementing the generalized Jensen-Mercer inequality established for generalized s-convexity in fractal space. To proceed further with this task, we construct a new generalized integral equality for first-order local differentiable functions, which will serve as an auxiliary result to restore some new bounds for Ostrowski inequality. We establish our desired results by employing the equality, some renowned generalized integral inequalities like Hölder's, power mean, Yang-Hölder's, bounded characteristics of the functions and considering generalized s-convexity characteristics of functions. Also, in support of our main findings, we deliver specific applications to means, and numerical integration and graphical visualization are also presented here.
The Two Weeks in the World research project has resulted in a dataset of 3087 clinically relevant bacterial genomes with pertaining metadata, collected from 59 diagnostic units in 35 countries around the world during 2020. A relational database is available with metadata and summary data from selected bioinformatic analysis, such as species prediction and identification of acquired resistance genes.
Citation: Rahman, G.; Vivas-Cortez, M.; Yildiz, Ç.; Samraiz, M.; Mubeen, S.; Yassen, M.F. On the Generalization of Ostrowski-Type Integral Inequalities via Fractional Integral Operators with Application to Error Bounds. Fractal Fract. 2023, 7, 683. Abstract: The Ostrowski inequality expresses bounds on the deviation of a function from its integral mean. The Ostrowski's type inequality is frequently used to investigate errors in numerical quadra-ture rules and computations. In this work, Ostrowski-type inequality is demonstrated using the generalized fractional integral operators. From an application perspective, we present the bounds of the fractional Hadamard inequalities. The results that are being presented involve a number of fractional inequalities that are already known and have been published.
Mal de Meleda (MDM) is a rare autosomal palmoplantar keratoderma (PPK) skin disorder (estimated incidence of 1 per 100,000 people) commonly associated with consanguinity and early childhood onset. MDM is characterized by bilateral diffusion of PPK plaques with delimited yellowish lesions that transgredien to the dorsum of the hands and feet. Additional features include nail dystrophy, lichenoid lesions, hyperhidrotic maceration, involvement of the knees and elbows, malodor, fungal superinfections, and digital constrictions. A male patient aged 42 years presented with asymptomatic, chronic, and diffused PPK lesions that progressed to the dorsal surface of the hands and feet, along with knees and elbows involvement. On clinical examination, asymmetrical lesions were observed on the hands, the left palm with yellowish waxy hyperkeratotic plaques, and the right palm with erythematous scaling and hyperkeratotic interphalangeal rings. The soles of the feet presented with yellow waxy hyperkeratotic plaques. In addition, nail dystrophy and loss of dermatoglyphics were observed. Initially, symptomatic topical treatment was established. However, owing to the lack of clinical response, a biopsy was performed, which revealed thickened corneal layer, acanthosis, spongiosis, and perivascular lymphohistiocytic infiltrate. MDM diagnosis was confirmed based on a personal history of consanguinity, clinical presentation with absence of systemic symptoms, and transgredien pattern of the lesions. Systemic treatment with low doses of isotretinoin (10 mg orally everyday) was initiated, and two months later, slight clinical improvement has been observed until date. The present case report describes MDM in a Hispanic patient, who presented with asymmetric PPK lesions on the hands and received isotretinoin treatment.
Members of the Meyerozyma guilliermondii species complex are able to cause superficial and life-threatening systemic infections with low susceptibility to azoles and echinocandins. We tested 130 bloodstream M. guilliermondii complex isolates collected from eight Latin American medical centers over 18 years (period 1 = 2000–2008 and period 2 = 2009–2018) to investigate trends in species distribution and antifungal resistance. The isolates were identified by rDNA ITS region sequencing, and antifungal susceptibility tests were performed against fluconazole, voriconazole, anidulafungin, and amphotericin B using the CLSI microbroth method. M. guilliermondii sensu stricto (s.s.; n = 116) was the most prevalent species, followed by Meyerozyma caribbica ( n = 12) and Meyerozyma carpophila ( n = 2). Based on rDNA ITS identification, three clades within M. guilliermondii sensu stricto were characterized (clade 1 n = 94; clade 2 n = 19; and clade 3 n = 3). In the second period of study, we found a substantial increment in the isolation of M. caribbica (3.4% versus 13.8%; P = 0.06) and clade 2 M. guilliermondii s.s. exhibiting lower susceptibility to one or more triazoles. IMPORTANCE Yeast-invasive infections play a relevant role in human health, and there is a concern with the emergence of non- Candida pathogens causing disease worldwide. There is a lack of studies addressing the prevalence and antifungal susceptibility of different species within the M. guilliermondii complex that cause invasive infections. We evaluated 130 episodes of M. guilliermondii species complex candidemia documented in eight medical centers over 18 years. We detected the emergence of less common species within the Meyerozyma complex causing candidemia and described a new clade of M. guilliermondii with limited susceptibility to triazoles. These results support the relevance of continued global surveillance efforts to early detect, characterize, and report emergent fungal pathogens exhibiting limited susceptibility to antifungals.
Background: Cognitive Fusion (CF) limits behavior by perceiving thoughts as real events. It is a crucial process in the evaluation and intervention of contextual therapies. Its measurement is carried out through the Cognitive Fusion Questionnaire (CFQ), which, despite its psychometric analysis in several countries, the studies on its measurement invariance by gender are cases. This lack of information prevents a full understanding of this phenomenon and its comparison by genre. Objective: To evaluate the CFQ measure equivalence across gender, its validity of association with other variables, and its internal consistency using a sample of Ecuadorian university students. Method: Confirmatory factor analyses were designed with the restrictions corresponding to each level of measurement equivalence and the differences between the adjustment indices were evaluated. The validity of association with variables was computed by means of latent relationships and a factorial model was built to evaluate the equivalence of measurement by gender of these correlations. Finally, the total omega for each gender was calculated. Participants: 356 university students (59.1% women), between 18 and 58 years of age (mean= 25.52; sd= 7.51); 43.9% of these students studied in public institutions (43.9%), 27.5% studied in technical and/or technological institutions and 28.6% were enrolled in private institutions. Results: The CFQ shows factorial validity through a unidimensional structure. The equivalence of the measure across gender is strong. Additionally, the CFQ shows validity and coherence with regards to convergence and divergence, and the questionnaire items have high internal consistency. Conclusion: This study significantly expands the knowledge about the psychometric properties of the CFQ in the university population of Ecuador. Women show a greater tendency to CF in the comparison between genders. These findings are valuable for future research to better understand the influence of gender on this phenomenon.
The COVID-19 pandemic caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 has been an immense threat to global public health and has also had a negative socioeconomic impact worldwide. However, although the pandemic is now under control, it has demonstrated that society is unprepared to use analysis methods that are applicable to various types of viruses nor apply new therapies to prevent infections, considering the extensive time needed for vaccine development. The use of nanomaterial-based diagnostics and therapeutics can provide essential strategies for both virus detection and treatment. Gold nanoparticles (AuNPs) are the nanomaterials most commonly used to enhance virus detection because of their bioconjugation, high plasmon resonance, and excellent electrical, optical, and catalytic properties. The present review outlines the recent advances reported in the literature regarding using AuNPs for their antiviral activities with respiratory viruses, analysis techniques such as AuNP-assisted polymerase chain reaction, biosensors (electrochemical, piezoelectric, and optical), lateral flow analysis, nucleic acid assays, and gene and vaccine therapy. Finally, as a potential antiviral treatment, this review provides in vitro and in vivo toxicity results of AuNPs for respiratory viruses, as well as those related to their toxicity in humans, to evaluate their use as a future antiviral treatment.
Background: Diarrheal disease remains a significant cause of child mortality, particularly in regions with limited access to healthcare and sanitation. Inappropriate practices, including unjustified medication prescriptions, pose challenges in the management of acute diarrhea (AD), especially in low- and middle-income countries. Objective: This study analyzed antibiotic prescription patterns and assessed compliance with Integrated Management of Childhood Illness (IMCI) guidelines in children under 5 with AD in the Ministry of Public Health (MOPH) Ambulatory Care Centers of Quito city, Ecuador. Methods: A cross-sectional design was used, collecting electronic health records (EHR) of patients diagnosed with AD from 21 health facilities in District 17D03. A probabilistic and stratified sampling approach was applied. Patient characteristics, prescriber characteristics, treatments, and compliance of IMCI guideline recommendations were evaluated. A stepwise logistic regression analysis examined the association between antibiotic prescription and patient and physician characteristics. Results: A total of 359 children under 5 years of age were included, with 58.77% being girls. 85.24% of the cases of AD were attributed to gastroenteritis and colitis of infectious and unspecified origin. Amebiasis and other protozoal intestinal diseases accounted for 13.37% and 1.11% of the cases, respectively. The completion rates of recording various IMCI parameters varied; parameters such as duration of diarrhea, presence of blood in stool, and evidence of sunken eyes had high completion rates (100%, 100%, and 87.47%, respectively), while parameters like state of consciousness, presence of thirst, and type of diarrhea had low completion rates (0.28%, 0.28%, and 0.84%, respectively). None of the cases had all parameters fully recorded. Antimicrobials were prescribed in 38.72% of the cases. Children aged 3 to 5 years had higher odds of receiving antimicrobial prescription for AD (aOR: 4.42, 95% CI 2.13-9.18, P < .0001) compared to those under 1 year, after adjusting for the number of loose stools per day, gender, and age of the health professional. Conclusion: Variations in IMCI guideline compliance were observed, with no cases fully adhering to the guidelines. Antimicrobial prescription rates were notably high, especially among older children. Further research and specialized interventions are necessary to gain comprehensive insight into the factors underlying non-compliance with the IMCI guidelines.
Circadian rhythms (CRs) are fundamental biological processes that significantly impact human well-being. Disruption of these rhythms can trigger insufficient neurocognitive development, insomnia, mental disorders, cardiovascular diseases, metabolic dysfunctions, and cancer. The field of chronobiology has increased our understanding of how rhythm disturbances contribute to cancer pathogenesis, and how circadian timing influences the efficacy of cancer treatments. As the circadian clock steadily gains recognition as an emerging factor in tumorigenesis, a thorough and comprehensive multi-omics analysis of CR genes/proteins has never been performed. To shed light on this, we performed, for the first time, an integrated data analysis encompassing genomic/transcriptomic alterations across 32 cancer types (n = 10,918 tumors) taken from the PanCancer Atlas, unfavorable prognostic protein analysis, protein–protein interactomics, and shortest distance score pathways to cancer hallmark phenotypes. This data mining strategy allowed us to unravel 31 essential CR-related proteins involved in the signaling crossroad between circadian rhythms and cancer. In the context of drugging the clock, we identified pharmacogenomic clinical annotations and drugs currently in late phase clinical trials that could be considered as potential cancer therapeutic strategies. These findings highlight the diverse roles of CR-related genes/proteins in the realm of cancer research and therapy.
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4,622 members
Santiago Ron
  • Escuela de Ciencias Biológicas
Jorge Gómez Rendón
  • Escuela de Antropología
Enrique Javier Carvajal Barriga
  • Centro Neotropical para la investigación de la Biomasa
Anita G Villacis
  • Escuela de Ciencias Biológicas
12 de Octubre 1076 y Roca, Quito, Pichincha, Ecuador
Head of institution
Fernando Ponce León
+593-2 299 1700