Defeating diabetes

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Save the planet, one person at a time ...

Professor Kestas Bendinskas, Oswego graduate Mike Kiley, and Professor Webe Kadima.
Professor Kestas Bendinskas, graduate Mike Kiley, and Professor Webe Kadima discuss research in the Campus Center.

AfricaEven with extraordinary advances in medicine, diabetes remains one of the most crippling diseases besetting people around the world. It is epidemic by all measures. More than 24 million people in the United States – eight percent of Americans – and 400 million worldwide suffer from this progressive disease which still eludes cure.

Students working with Kestas Bendinskas and Webe Kadima of Oswego's biochemistry program hope to change that – and are going to great lengths to do so. Deep in the heart of African Congo, the Oswego team and local researchers are examining a plant called Psidium guajava to see if it holds the key to unlocking an inexpensive available treatment for this killer.

Their research bridges traditional remedies used by healers in the African nation with conventional knowledge in pharmacy, chemistry and medicine to discover a cost-effective, self-administered therapy for diabetes that may one day provide a viable treatment option to millions currently lacking access to life-saving medicines.


A problem of this magnitude shared by people worldwide requires convergence of ideas, cutting-edge technologies and new attitudes. The biochemistry-focused Global Laboratory teaches students the scientific and technical skills necessary to prepare and test the efficacy of treatments, but the project also aims to develop a dialectic between the global and the local, one that advances our basic understanding of medical science and improves the health of humankind.

The defeating diabetes project is a way of merging the old and new that mirrors SUNY Oswego and the Global Laboratory program. At Oswego, long-established strengths in education, social justice and cultivating curiosity blend with ground-breaking research and global opportunities.

Left: Psidium Guajava, plant critical in diabetes research.