Become a member Header

Kerry Parker - Editor in Brazil



On the 21st September I shall be embarking on a two week adventure travelling around Brazil. I will be interviewing scientists and business leaders to report on innovative science, and to discuss the opportunities and challenges for science in this country. I also hope to gain some insight into how the science sector is changing and what the future holds for the science industry.

Keep up-to-date on my daily travels, before the weekly program airs on the 8th October. Sign up here to receive a weekly update on all the video interviews and programs in our 'Science in Brazil' special report.




Day ten: Last Interview of Our Trip at the National Institute of Technology
2nd October 2013. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Blog image

Dr Eduardo Cavalcanti and colleagues provided a tour of their labs at the National Institute of Technology (Instituto Nacional de Tecnologia - INT), and discussed their research focused on solving the current problems with storing Biodiesel. Biodiesel is transported and stored in different climatic conditions around the country, which have differing effects on the Biodiesel product. This research will also have an impact outside of Brazil as other countries around the world are continuing to use, and increase the percentage in blends of biodiesel. The conclusion of our visit marked the end of a very exciting and informative trip, made special by the wonderful people and inspiring scientists we met along the way. I am looking forward to sharing all the interviews with you over the next two months...



Day nine: Creative Ideas
1st October 2013. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Blog image

We then met with Prof Sergio Ferreira, a neuroscience expert, who shared details about his focus on the study of mechanisms of pathogenesis in Alzheimer’s disease and diseases caused by prions. We also discussed many of the challenges that Brazilian scientists face, such as the time and great expense to import antibodies or equipment, and how this makes it difficult for talented scientists to progress research quickly and therefore compete on a world scientific stage. However these challenges do breed a unique creativity to solve problems and conduct experiments.





Day nine: Biomedical Research
1st October 2013. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Blog image

This morning we went to the federal university of Rio de Janeiro to visit two different labs at the Institute of Medical Biochemistry. Prof Jose Garcia Abreu described his research on signaling mechanisms involved in the morphogenesis and differentiation of the nervous system, using animal models such as Xenopus (the only lab in Brazil using this frog), to investigate the developmental pathways in order to better understand, and potentially screen for, serious developmental issues of the head.





Day eight: Quality Control at Bayer Material Science
30th September 2013. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Blog image

In the afternoon we drove to the Bayer facility to meet with Renata Scott, who leads a team of scientists involved in quality control of raw materials, the factory process and final products at Rio's Bayer facility. This lab services the entire materials facility, working with up to 500 different materials, using a range of analytical and physical tests. We learnt about the challenges for scientists working directly with a factory production line, and with business leaders, in order to meet the very high standards of this global company. Renata's team are clearly embracing these challenges as she explained their program to develop new methods, invest in new lab products from preferred suppliers such as Metrohm, and champion staff training.




Day eight: Total Automation in Medical Diagnostics
30th September 2013. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Blog image

This morning we visited 'Laboratorio Sergio Franco', the DASA lab in Rio that was recommended by many as a 'must see', and we were not disappointed. Our first impression was by a glass-fronted viewing platform on the second floor of the facility, and we witnessed two tracks moving samples effortlessly between rows of blue and white analyzers. We met with Sheila Argolo, Technical Manager, who described how they installed the tracks, how it works and is maintained, and the benefits they see in providing accurate, consistent results with minimal staff requirements. We also learnt that patients in Brazil receive test results directly via the lab's web portal.




Day seven: The Science of ‘Sportomics’
29th September 2013. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Blog image

On Sunday we ventured close to the foot of sugar loaf mountain, to visit Prof Cameron, PI for the Lab of Protein Biochemistry at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro. We entered what seemed to be a special mass spectrometry showroom, but was in-fact Prof Cameron’s beautifully constructed laboratory: the most glamorous lab space ever! (I challenge SelectScience members to show us otherwise!) We learnt about the science of ‘Sportomics’: top-down research using several approaches to understand cellular and systemic challenges in response to exercise. Every top Brazilian athlete that the team has worked with has achieved higher results and even Olympic medals as a result. The lab has recently been awarded as a Waters Technologies ‘Centre of Innovation’ and the research conducted here clearly has important implications for others focused on the metabolomics of stress, such as in cancer research or brain injury. Prof Cameron also shared how his research is a part of the city, and the city a part of his research, as a ‘Carioca’ (native inhabitants of the city of Rio de Janeiro).




Day six: Rest Day in Rio
28th September 2013. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Blog image

Today we allowed ourselves a rest day in Rio de Janeiro, enabling us to visit some of the famous sites, and film some typical Rio scenes for our report. As first-timers in this city, we were delighted to realize that Rio is everything we imagined and more.










Day five: The Future of Biofuels in Brazil and Beyond
27th September 2013. Ribeirão Preto, Brazil

Blog image

In the afternoon we visited the forested campus of the University of São Paulo to visit Prof Miguel Dabdoub, a leading scientist and expert in the field of biofuels. We spent a couple of hours hearing the story of how Prof Dabdoub moved from synthetic chemistry to studying the chemistry and interactions of fuels, how fuel acts in vehicles, and how those vehicles act on fuel. We learnt how his team is working on a number of different ethanol and biodiesel projects, with the goal of discovering the best possible biofuel source that will work effectively in vehicles around the world. We saw a fleet of cars run entirely on biodiesel, a project he is working on with major car manufacturers, and heard how he had to go beyond what many scientists would consider doing, in order to convince major industry players and the Brazilian government to invest in biofuels. A fascinating story we are excited to share with SelectScience members.




Day five: Automating Molecular Diagnostic Tests for Infections Endemic in Brazil
27th September 2013. Ribeirão Preto, Brazil

Blog image

We scheduled a (very) early morning flight from São Paulo to Ribeirão Preto, nicknamed ‘Brazilian California’ because of the city’s focus in health and technology, the agro-business economy and warm weather all year round. We were greeted at the Hemocentro de Ribeirão Preto by Dr Simone Kashima Haddad and Mauricio Cristiano Rocha Junior, and learnt about their work in stem cell therapies, for diseases such as Diabetes I, and the development of diagnostics tests for infections endemic in areas of Brazil, such as HTLV-1/2. They showed us their recently acquired Hamilton Robotics liquid handling system and explained how they are using Real-time PCR and automation to create a standardized molecular diagnostics test for HTLV, for use at diagnostics labs throughout the country. We also discussed the future of automation in clinical research and diagnostics laboratories for reproducible, high-throughput results.




Day four: Prof Gozzo: Mass Spec Expert in Brazil
26th September 2013. Campinas, Brazil

Blog image

We then headed back to UNICAMP to meet with Prof Fabio Gozzo, possibly the only mass spectroscopy expert in Brazil focused on a specific field of structural proteomics. Prof Gozzo described his research, employing chemical cross-linking and ion mobility to study proteins and peptides, and why he uses an 'integrated' approach of a number of mass spectroscopy technologies, from Waters Technologies, to do this work. It was really interesting to hear of recent studies where applications of this research could be developed as preventive solutions, such as for cardiac hypertrophy or pathogenic infection of Brazil's orange crops.




Day four: Brazil's Biggest Environmental Testing Lab
26th September 2013. Piracicaba, Brazil

Blog image

Our fourth day in Brazil started with an early-morning 3 hour drive back to Piracicaba, to visit Brazil's largest Environmental testing company, BioAgri. We met lab manager, Joseane Maria Bulow, and learnt how the team works 24/7, 6.5 days a week, processing 1,000 samples per day from all over the country. Joseane described (in Portuguese) the workflow and types of analyses conducted in their laboratories using a whole array of Ion Chromatography systems and other equipment from Metrohm, and one of the most impressive mass spec labs we have ever seen!




Day three: ‘Killer Wasps’ Save Brazilian Farming
25th September 2013. Piracicaba, Brazil

Blog image

Our last stop of the day was at ‘Bug Agentes Biológicos’ a company that mass-produces wasps to combat larvae and stinkbugs that threaten sugarcane and soybean plants, two of Brazil’s largest cash crops. This past year Bug has received several international accolades and we quickly learnt why: the company, co-founded by an entomologist, provides farmers with the only alternative to chemical pesticides approved by Brazilian agricultural, health, and environmental ministries. We learnt how the company is taking on the $7 billion pesticide market with innovative science. Our stay lasted well into the night as we delved into this fascinating subject and learnt how an academic turned his passion into a promising big business.




Day three: Second Generation Ethanol
25th September 2013. Campinas, Brazil

Blog image

We moved to a nearby laboratory headed by Prof Goncalo, focused on Gene Expression in Microbiology. Pedro Tizei discussed his recent research to create yeast derivatives to produce ‘second generation ethanol’ from lignocellulosic biomass, agricultural residues or other waste. Pedro described the critical use of automation in his work and was proud to share that he was among the first to use a Hamilton robotics system in the country.







Day three: Green Technology in Food Engineering
25th September 2013. Campinas, Brazil

Blog image

Wednesday morning saw us rise early for the drive north to UNICAMP, Campinas. We received a very warm welcome from Prof Angela Meireles and her team who provided a guided tour of the brand new facilities at the School of Food and Engineering. We learnt how the team have over 30 years experience in using and producing green technologies, such as supercritical fluid extraction (SFE), to extract valuable compounds and create products from Brazilian natural ingredients. Students were keen to show their current projects on Tumeric and engineering expertise.






Day two: Manufacturers’ Perspectives on Brazil
24th September 2013. São Paulo, Brazil

Blog image

This afternoon we spent time meeting with manufacturers at Analitica Latin America, in order to understand their views on customer needs and market drivers. Common themes included energy, sugar cane, food and nanotechnology. We spoke to North American and European manufacturers who have been successful in the country, and we have not yet come across any true ‘Brazilian’ manufacturers. Deolinda Martins, PerkinElmer, is pictured.







Day two: Analitica Latin America Show
24th September 2013. São Paulo, Brazil

Blog image

Our second day in São Paulo marked the first day of the major Analitica show, where 15,000 people are expected, from various South American countries, over three days. The exhibit hall is really quite impressive, with every single company booth carefully planned and prepped with precise effort, to a degree quite unlike the shows in the USA and Europe we are used to attending. In the morning we interviewed attendees and speakers from the Sugar Cane, Bioethanol and Petrochemical industries, who each described the hot topics and issues effecting their work. Livio Garcia Da Costa, Petrobras, is pictured.




Day one: Prof Renato Mortara, Confocal Microscopy Expert
23rd September 2013. São Paulo, Brazil

Blog image

We crossed to the other side of São Paulo to arrive at the Federal University of São Paulo (UNIFESP) building, a typical university complex in complete contrast with the vast, modern DASA laboratories. Prof Renato Mortara extended a warm welcome to his Confocal Microscopy Laboratory, where we learnt about his expertise in this technique, and applications in Parasitology research. The researchers in this lab focus on the cell biology of host-parasite interactions in single and mixed infections involving cruzi and other intracellular pathogens. Trypanosoma cruzi, Leishmania spp, Coxiella burnetii, and others. We learnt how long-term experiments are conducted and imaged using Leica confocal technology and how this technique has progressed significantly since its first adoption. Eager young students were keen to share their passion for the subject, enjoyment of being a member of the 'family', and pleasure of learning from such an expert.




Day one: Exploring the Largest Medical Diagnostics Company in Latin America
23rd September 2013. São Paulo, Brazil

Blog image

The first interview of our special 'Science in Brazil' trip started on the outskirts of São Paulo city on this busy Monday morning. First glance through the doors of the main lab at DASA (Diagnósticos da América) revealed an impressively large facility with row-upon-row of gleaming new analyzers from Roche, Siemens, Beckman Coulter and Abbott. Dr Claudio Pereira, Director of Clinical Analysis, described the inner-workings behind DASA's business success and ability to process more than 210 million tests per year. We explored the laboratory, learnt about the various routine and specialized tests and heard about the challenges involved in maintaining such a professional 24/7 service, such as the critical requirement for constant, high quality pure water provided by a centralized ELGA lab water system. Dr Pereira's colleagues described the incredible sight of the fully automated facility in Rio de Janeiro which we agreed would be a 'must see' the following week...


Sign up here to receive a weekly update on all the video interviews and programs in our 'Science in Brazil' special report.





Advertisement

Join Over 250,000 Scientists

Become a member for FREE access to:

  • 300,000 full product and supplier listings
  • 10,000 user reviews and comments
  • Daily news and videos
  • 5,000 application notes and videos
  • 2,000 of the best jobs in Science

Don't miss out!

Join The Community Today