Capes Doctoral Dissertation Award 2015: Interview with the author of the award-winning work in Materials area.



Edroaldo Lummertz da Rocha, winner of the Capes Dissertation Award in Materials field.
Edroaldo Lummertz da Rocha, winner of the Capes Dissertation Award in Materials field.

The scientific career of Edroaldo Lummertz da Rocha is permeated by two features of the area of Materials science and technology: interdisciplinarity and impact on people’s lives.

After graduating in Computer Science from Universidade do Extremo Sul Catarinense (UNESC), in the south of Brazil, Edroaldo got his master’s degree in Electrical Engineering at the Federal University of Santa Catarina (UFSC), with a study on the transport of phonons in fractal geometry. In 2010, he began a doctoratal program in Materials Science and Engineering, also at UFSC. With the advised of Professor Carlos Renato Rambo and Professor Luismar Marques Porto, Edroaldo worked on the interface among Materials Science, Computer Science and Biology to study the interaction between biological cells and bio and nanomaterials. In 2012, Edroaldo submitted, as first author, a scientific paper on simulations of interactions between nanoparticles and cell membranes. His paper was published in the journal Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics (DOI: 10.1039 / C2CP44035K) in 2013 and was featured on the front cover.

From January to December 2013, Edroaldo remained in the United States developing a part of his doctoral research at Harvard University (United States), more precisely in the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering, a multidisciplinary and multiinstitutional entity dedicated to the development of materials and devices inspired in nature, aimed at transforming medicine and building a more sustainable world. There he was advised by Professor Donald E. Ingber, founder and director of Wyss.

Two papers signed by Edroaldo became covers of prestigious journals.

A second journal cover (DOI:10.1016/j.cell.2014.07 .020) increased Edroaldo´s curriculum in 2014 as a result of his participation, along with researchers at Harvard University and other institutions in the United States, in a Cell Engineering field study.This time the distinction was in Cell, the prestigious journal of Life Sciences, whose impact factor is 32.242.

In September 2014, Edroaldo obtained his PhD degree by defending his dissertation entitled “Nanoparticle-cell interactions and biomaterial-cells induce global changes in gene expression programs“. A year latter, the work was distinguished as the best  dissertation defended in Brazil in 2014 by Capes, the government agency linked to the Brazilian Ministry of Education in charge of promoting high standards for post-graduate courses in Brazil. Edroaldo received the news of the award in the city of Rochester, in the United States, where he works in scientific activities as a postdoctoral fellow of the Mayo Clinic, an institution in the field of Medicine dedicated to research, education and patients´ care.

Interview with Edroaldo.

SBPMat Newsletter: – Could you tell us very briefly how did you become interested in science and in the Materials area, and what were the most important moments in your academic career so far?

Edroaldo Lummertz da Rocha: – My interest in science arose from the possibility of doing something important and helping people somehow. My interest in the Materials area arose due to the existence of a special class of materials, called nanomaterials, which can be used for the development of new therapies for a variety of diseases such as cancer, vascular and neurodegenerative diseases. However, the understanding of how nanomaterials interact with cells and biological tissues is extremely important for the development of safe and effective therapies.

The first most important event of my academic career was when Professor Carlos Renato Rambo, of the Federal University of Santa Catarina, agreed to be my advisor during my doctoral period. That’s where it all began. The second most important moment was when I had the opportunity to conduct part of my doctorate studies at the Wyss Institute at Harvard University, which significantly contributed to the development of my academic career.

Gene regulatory network made of data of gene expression from 16 kinds of human cells and tissues.

SBPMat Newsletter: – What, in your opinion, is the main contribution of your award-winning thesis?

Edroaldo Lummertz da Rocha: – The main contribution of my thesis was the development of computational approaches to systematically understand how cells interact with nanomaterials and respond to external stimuli. This can serve as a basis for future studies in the field of development of new drug delivery systems and lead to a better understanding of how gene expression programs change when nanomaterials interact with cells.

SBPMat Newsletter: – Which criteria guided you to make a quality research highlighted at national level (the award-winning thesis)? To what factors do you attribute this achievement?

Edroaldo Lummertz da Rocha:  – Dedication, discipline, creativity and a good team and co-workers are essential to progress in any area. Family support is essential, above all. From the point of view of the thesis, under the guidance of Professor Carlos Renato Rambo, I had the opportunity to work in a variety of projects and this contributed to the multidisciplinary nature of my thesis.

SBPMat Newsletter: – We invite you to leave a message for our readers who are conducting scientific research in the Materials area.

Edroaldo Lummertz da Rocha: – It is a long road, so you might as well enjoy the way. Being a scientist is something really rewarding, with new challenges and opportunities every day. The hope of discovering something important and providing a significant contribution is the driving force that guides my research. The effort is never in vain and there is always hope where there is perseverance.

 

More award-winners in the Materials field.

Several other works related to Materials Science and Engineering were awarded this year with the Capes Thesis Award, which was awarded to the best doctoral theses in 2014 in each of the 48 areas of knowledge recognized by Capes in postgraduate courses. The announcement of the winners was made on August 31 and the awards event will take place on December 10 in Brasilia city, the capital of Brazil. Here follow some examples related to Materials area:

Honorable Mention in the Materials area. Thiers Massami Uehara. Study of the interaction of nanomaterials with models of cell membranes and neural stem cells. Advisor: Valtencir Zucolotto. Postgraduate Program in Science and Engineering of Materials – USP/SC. Dissertation file: http://www.teses.usp.br/teses/disponiveis/18/18158/tde-27102014-134646/pt-br.php

Capes Award in Chemistry.  Rodrigo Villegas Salvatierra. Thin Films of Conjugated Polymer and Carbon Nanostructures obtained in Liquid-Liquid Interfaces: Synthesis, characterization and application in photovoltaic devices. Advisor: Aldo José Gorgatti Zarbin. Postgraduate Program in Chemistry – UFPR. Dissertation file:   http://dspace.c3sl.ufpr.br:8080/dspace/handle/1884/37915

Honorable mention in Chemistry.  Anderson dos Reis Albuquerque. Quantum-Chemical Study of the Ti(1-x)CexO2-δ in the Anatase Phase. Advisors: Ieda Maria Garcia dos Santos (DQ-UFPB) and Júlio Ricardo Sambrano (DM-UNESP Bauru). Postgraduate Program in Chemistry – UFPB. Thesis file: http://tede.biblioteca.ufpb.br/handle/tede/7154?locale=pt_BR. Report on CDMF website: http://www.nanotecnologia.com.br/trabalho-orientado-por-professor-do-cdmf-recebe-mencao-honrosa-no-premio-capes-2015/


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