Featured scientist: Juliana Davoglio Estradioto.

Juliana Davoglio Estradioto
Juliana Davoglio Estradioto

When she was little, Juliana Davoglio Estradioto dreamed of being a singer. Today, at age 18, she has other projects: she will pursue a scientific career. A career she has actually begun. When she was 15, Juliana first came across a scientific article and visited a research laboratory. From that moment, in just three years, she has won dozens of awards in competitions and science fairs (local, regional, national and international) for high school students. Among these distinctions, perhaps the most glamorous one is the one that in December of this year will take her to spend a week in Sweden alongside 24 other young researchers from around the world to attend the 2019 Nobel Prizes ceremony and celebrations in the company of laureates, besides visiting institutions and companies in Sweden and presenting her work to Swedish students.

Juliana was born and raised in Osório, a city of 40 thousand inhabitants, located 100 km from Porto Alegre, in the south of Brazil, surrounded by lakes, mountains and sea. There, in 2015, after finishing primary education in a public school, she enrolled at the Federal Institute of Education, Science and Technology of Rio Grande do Sul (IFRS) – Campus Osório, which had been inaugurated five years earlier, to attend the Technical Course in Administration (secondary education). Created by a law sanctioned in 2008, the Federal Institutes (IFs) are public and free institutions, linked to the Brazilian federal government, that specialize in the provision of professional and technological education from high school to postgraduate level. Extension and research activities are part of the FIs proposal for all levels.

In her first year at IFRS, Juliana was enthusiastic about an extension project aimed at the community of family farmers in the region, with social and environmental bias, coordinated by Professor Flávia Santos Twardowski Pinto. First as a volunteer and later with an IFRS scholarship, Juliana participated in three projects involving research and development over the three years of high school, always guided by Professor Twardowski.

Juliana’s first work resulted not only in the development of biodegradable plastic made from agricultural waste available in the region (passion fruit peel), but also in the creation of an application for this material: a packet for seedlings that does not need to be removed prior to planting. Juliana received several honors for this work, such as 4th place in Environmental Engineering at the largest science competition in the world for high school students, the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (Intel ISEF) held in Los Angeles (USA) in May of 2017. Another important international recognition was the gold medal obtained at Genius Olympiad, a competition for high school projects addressing environmental problems and their solutions, held in Oswego, USA, in June 2018. At the national level, the main distinction Juliana received was for the work of plastic made of passion fruit– first place in the High School category in the 29th edition of the Young Scientist Award, granted by the National Council for Scientific and Technological Development (CNPq) and partner entities in a ceremony in December of last year, with the presence of the President of the Republic and several other governmental authorities.

At the end of last year, when Juliana graduated from high school in IFRS, she already had a concrete possibility for her undergraduate studies: a scholarship to study at the University of Arizona (USA), received as a prize at Intel ISEF in 2018, for a work she developed on adsorbent materials from agroindustrial residues for the removal of dyes in aqueous suspension. Now, she has at least one more option, since she was approved in the entrance exam for the course of Chemical Engineering of the Brazilian Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul (UFRGS). Will she stay in her homeland? Whatever the decision, the girl’s background makes you think she will be able to take advantage of the opportunities.

See our interview with Juliana.

B-MRS Newsletter: You have just finished High School integrated to Technical Administration. When you enrolled in the course, did you plan to work in the administration area? What led you to participate in scientific research projects?

Juliana Davoglio Estradioto:  In order to enter the IFRS – Osório campus, you have to participate in a selective process, and before the process I had to choose between Administration and Informatics. It was very difficult to make that decision at age 14 and I ended up choosing Administration. I never imagined I would do research, much less that it would be on topics so different from what I had seen in the classroom. I find Administration a very important area, but I do not see myself working in the area; now that I am a Technician in Administration, I ended up falling in love with research!

As soon as I joined the course I became very interested in a rural extension project because my family is really involved with the area of agronomy. The coordinator was Professor Flavia and I had to undergo a selection process to enter the project. I remember the 14-year-old teenager who was dying of anxiety, but very excited about being able to do something different from the theoretical classes, since FIs offer a number of opportunities. Soon after, I was being mentored by Professor Flavia and admiring the work she does.

B-MRS Newsletter: Complementing the previous question, how / when did the desire to become a scientist come about? Was participation in the competitions important in this process?

Juliana Davoglio Estradioto:  When I was a kid I liked to climb trees, observe insects and stay in touch with nature. However, throughout childhood we learn to be more restrained and our investigative spirit diminishes. So I never had the urge to be a scientist even though I was curious when I was a child. My childhood dream was to be a singer! And so I say that science chose me and not the other way around. I never imagined that it was going to be something I would be so passionate about. When I joined the Federal Institute, I got involved in projects and had a teacher who really encouraged me to follow in that area. Contact with science helped me face a difficult personal moment, made me want to be a better, more determined person, and determined as a scientist. Participation in science fairs was more important in my personal construction and helped in developing my communicative skills and empathy, while interaction in the laboratory and the willingness to do research showed me that I want to do this for the rest of my life.

B-MRS Newsletter: On the development of biodegradable plastic from passion fruit waste, briefly tell us the path taken, from idea to material and application. Have you consulted many scientific articles? Have you exchanged ideas with other researchers? Which labs did you use?

Juliana Davoglio Estradioto: The project of biodegradable plastic from the peel of passion fruit arose from a problem I had observed in my region from the rural extension project I participated in the first year of high school: that the fruit processing industry generates waste, seeing that in the passion fruit the residues correspond to 70% of the fruit. I wanted to bring a use to that peel and Professor Flavia was instrumental in motivating and stimulating me to go after a solution. We talked about ideas for the use of the peel and then I discovered what scientific articles were. It was a frightening because I was 15 years old and had not had any contact with articles until then. Articles are a more academic means of communication and I had to figure out a lot of things before I could read them because my high school classes were basic and management-oriented. I had to learn a lot about Chemistry and Biology before I could understand the articles, I talked to other researchers and consulted my advisor. In the middle of the project development (when it was all going wrong ahahahaha), we found by coincidence that my advisor’s first teacher, Simone Hickmann Flôres, was working with biodegradable plastic films. So, it was possible to use some laboratories from the Institute of Food Science and Technology of the Brazilian Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul to make more complex analyses, while I continued to do the research in the baking laboratory of the Osório campus (the only one available at that time). When I had good plastic samples, I began to question myself about the application I could give the material. And that’s when I remembered the visits to the farmers, where I had seen seedlings wrapped in black plastic (low-density polyethylene). I wanted to replace this material with my biodegradable plastic and it was quite difficult until I got to a packaging for seedlings. The coolest thing of this application is that the packaging can be planted together with the seedling, avoiding waste generation.

B-MRS Newsletter:  In 2018 you started working on another project related to the development of a material from agricultural waste, also coordinated by Professor Flavia. Could you summarize what this work is about and its development status?

Juliana Davoglio Estradioto: The project began from the demand of one of the largest agro-exporters of macadamia nut here in Brazil, and nut is on the rise in the world market. Processing the fruit to obtain the nut that is marketed generates an agroindustrial residue which is the macadamia nut bark. This bark is normally intended for landfills or for the combustion and production of energy. What I wanted to do was a biotechnological application, so my hypothesis was whether it would be possible to use the agroindustrial residue of macadamia nut in the synthesis of a polymeric biomembrane. The project is still being developed and improved, I have already been able to prove my hypothesis in a positive way and I am looking to improve the appearance of biomembranes.

B-MRS Newsletter: To what factors and competencies do you attribute the success your work has had in national and international awards?

Juliana Davoglio Estradioto: I believe that my life would be completely different if I had not studied at the Federal Institute of Rio Grande do Sul, because it provides several opportunities that unfortunately are not yet offered in other elementary schools. Being a student of IF and guided by Professor Flavia made my view on education and science to change, I am very grateful for understanding the transformative role they have played in my life and in many other Brazilian realities.

B-MRS Newsletter: Your career in scientific research began with a lot of attention. What are your plans, from a professional point of view, for the next few years or the next decades of your life?

Juliana Davoglio Estradioto: I intend to continue researching in the areas that I am passionate about and to be a scientist, I really like the natural sciences and I believe I will never be able to abandon it. I want to work on themes that focus primarily on sustainability, because we need to find alternatives for the impacts we are causing on all ecosystems. However, besides being a researcher, I intend to work with education and scientific dissemination.

B-MRS Newsletter: When googleing your name, one can guess your life has changed a lot recently. There are many interviews in all types of media, travels, presentations, awards, formalities, congratulations from politicians and admirers … How do you deal with this change?

Juliana Davoglio Estradioto: It is a very positive change and it represents a lot to me at this moment, because I feel responsible for the dissemination of girls doing research in high school. These are activities that give me pleasure and believe we need to encourage other young people so that they see the scientific career as a possibility and an opportunity.

Participation of B-MRS young members in international events on sustainable materials.

The B-MRS group at the headquarters of the Council of Europe. From the left, Gisele Amaral-Labat (B-MRS member), Eduardo Neiva (member), Professor Osvaldo Novais de Oliveira Jr (president of SBPMat), Kassio Zanoni (member) and Parinaz Akhlaghi (member).
The B-MRS group at the headquarters of the Council of Europe. From the left, Gisele Amaral-Labat (B-MRS member), Eduardo Neiva (member), Professor Osvaldo Novais de Oliveira Jr (president of SBPMat), Kassio Zanoni (member) and Parinaz Akhlaghi (member).

Four members of B-MRS were part of the select group of about 30 young researchers from several countries who participated in two events held in the city of Strasbourg, France, along with 60 other participants. The main subject of both events was material innovation for a sustainable society and a global circular economy (i.e., based on reduction, reuse, recovery and recycling of materials and/or energy). The events were organized by several research societies in materials research, the International Union of Materials Research Societies (IUMRS) and other entities, with the support of UNESCO.

Post-doctoral fellows Eduardo Guilherme Cividini Neiva (currently full-time professor at FURB, after completing a post-doc at UFPR), Gisele Amaral-Labat (USP), Kassio Papi Silva Zanoni (IFSC-USP) and Sedeyeh Parinaz Akhlaghi (UNICAMP) were the young B-MRS members who participated in the events. The four postdocs were selected from 20 candidates in the context of the B-MRS Young Researcher Award. They have earned the right to attend the events (which are not open to the public), as well as travel costs. The award was made in partnership with the European Materials Research Society (E-MRS).

The first of the events was the “Forum for the Next Generation of Researchers 2017,” held on 18 and 19 November of this year at the headquarters of the European Youth Center. The forum brought together different generations of researchers around science and technology for a sustainable world. The event included lectures by senior scientists, poster presentations of young researchers and discussions among all participants. In addition, all young scientists participated in the preparation of a report that was presented at the end of the event.

Then, on the 20th and 21st, the “6th World Materials Summit” was held at the headquarters of the Council of Europe. The subject of innovation in sustainable materials and the circular economy was discussed through lectures by scientists from various countries and round tables.

According to Kassio Zanoni, the discussions of the two events showed an academic, political, social and environmental view about themes related to sustainability, as well as the perspectives of Materials research in this context. According to the B-MRS participants, some of the topics addressed were the conversion, storage and distribution of energy (solar, for example); production of more efficient and less polluting batteries; capture and reuse of carbon dioxide; materials recycling; and many other topics.

The president of SBPMat, Osvaldo Novais de Oliveira Jr, professor at IFSC-USP, represented SBMat in the international committee of the summit and gave a lecture in the forum about nanomaterials and their applications.

Read our interview with the B-MRS young members who attended the events.

box parinaz ENB-MRS Newsletter:  Briefly tell us about the work you presented in the “Forum for the New Generation of Researchers 2017”.

Eduardo Neiva:  I presented a poster about my postdoctoral work, whose theme involved the application of graphene nanocomposites in the construction of energy storage devices.

Gisele Amaral-Labat: My panel discussion consisted of activities that are currently being developed in my postdoctoral fellowship. The work is based on the use of pulp and paper industry waste, crude black liquor, in the synthesis of porous carbon foams in the presence of nickel, for direct ethanol fuel cell applications. The synthesis form used generates a product with a greater amount of residues, besides the low cost when compared to the electrocatalysts used in the current market.

Kassio Zanoni: I presented a poster of the work I am developing in the postdocs, on ways and concepts for energy conversion and sustainability.

Parinaz Akhlaghi: I presented my postdoctoral work (referring to the years 2015-2017) at UNICAMP (Institute of Chemistry), still in progress, as well as part of the work developed during my doctorate (2010-2014) at the University of Waterloo (Dept. of Chemical Engineering) in the form of a poster titled “Preparation and Characterization of Novel Nanomaterials for Biomedical Applications.”

B-MRS Newsletter: How did your participation in these events contribute to your development?

Eduardo Neiva: Unlike other events, I had the opportunity to participate in discussions involving topics of global importance. My participation in this event will also result in future international and national partnerships, where in the event, I and the participant Gisele conceived projects to be developed in the near future.

Gisele Amaral-Labat: Undoubtedly, participating in these events was extremely important for my academic background, first due to the type of event, in which a common theme is discussed by two different communities, academic and business, enabling me to know different global views of the subject. Secondly, it created the possibility for collaboration with other research centers, including young and senior researchers, national and international. Furthermore, the event allowed getting to know the work of the other young Brazilian researchers, and a possible collaboration with Eduardo Guilherme Cividini Neiva is in progress. The objective is to synthesize sustainable carbon materials for application in the area of energy storage, taking advantage of the expertise of both of us.

Kassio Zanoni: The event provided the opportunity for meetings with several researchers, increasing our networks of collaborations. It was very interesting to hear the different views and this brought a great deal of professional growth. It really was very productive, perhaps the most productive meeting I’ve ever attended.

Parinaz Akhlaghi: I believe that my participation in these events was one of the most rewarding and most influential experiences in my career as a researcher and as a human being. I was affected in an extremely positive way by being in the presence of young researchers like myself, as well as experienced scientists, shaping my worldview (and my future), my ambitions and desires in the academic career. Being in the presence of scientists that I have admired for so long and being able to exchange ideas with them was very rewarding in several aspects. All the discussions were profound, passionate and motivating. It was certainly an experience shared by the other young scientists.

B-MRS Newsletter: What most attracted your attention in the events?

Eduardo Neiva: The direct and prolonged contact with renowned researchers.

Gisele Amaral-Labat: I was delighted with how receptive the senior researchers were with the young researchers. Moreover, the event showed a relevant multidisciplinarity of the professionals and the works presented.

Kassio Zanoni: The different views on the same theme, which vary widely between different countries.

Parinaz Akhlaghi: What at first could have been a barrier, soon proved to be extremely pleasurable. Despite the age difference between the main scientists (some older than 70) and the young researchers (some 25 years old), the exchange of information flowed naturally. On both sides there was passion when talking about science (as a whole), as well as new paths and alternatives for a more hopeful and better future.

Kassio Zanoni (foreground) and other young researchers during the 6th World Materials Summit.
Kassio Zanoni (foreground) and other young researchers during the 6th World Materials Summit.
Parinaz Akhlaghi presenting her work on nanomaterials for biomedical applications during the forum.
Parinaz Akhlaghi presenting her work on nanomaterials for biomedical applications during the forum.
Eduardo Neiva (left) and Gisele Amaral-Labat (right) receiving the participation certificate in the events.
Eduardo Neiva (left) and Gisele Amaral-Labat (right) receiving the participation certificate.

Participation of B-MRS (SBPMat) at events in China and integration with Asian societies.

Banner of one of the events.

SBPMat (B-MRS), represented by its president Osvaldo Novais de Oliveira Junior, attended two events held in China in October, organized by Asian materials research societies and also by the European society for materials research. The events were the 5th World Materials Summit on Advanced Materials for Sustainable Society Development and the IUMRS International Conference in Asia. The president of SBPMat was invited by the China Materials Research Society (C-MRS) and the International Union of Materials Research Societies (IUMRS). In addition to attending both events, Osvaldo Novais de Oliveira Junior was part of the international advisory committee at the first event, and Professor Roberto Mendonça Faria,  former SBPMat president and second vice president of IUMRS, participated in the international advisory committees of both events.

“The Materials research societies in Asia have made great efforts to integrate with each other and with societies from other parts of the world,” states Prof. Novais de Oliveira Junior, highlighting the work of MRS from China, Japan, South Korea and Singapore. “For several years there has been a close relationship between SBPMat and these societies, which will be represented at our next meeting in Gramado from September 10 to 14, 2017”, he added.

The summit, held in Rizhao, Shandong Province, from October 18 to 20, was organized by the materials research societies of China (C-MRS), Europe (E-MRS), Korea (MRS-K) and Japan (MRS-J), and also by the Rizhao Science and Technology Association. It is an annual event where scientists, politicians and entrepreneurs are invited by the organization. They come together to present and discuss the subject of advanced materials for the development of a sustainable society, focusing on specific themes in each edition. In 2016, the themes chosen were renewable energies, mainly for motor vehicles, construction materials focusing on sustainability and materials for oceanographic engineering.

According to Professor Novais de Oliveira Junior, the most relevant conclusions of the event regarded the need for international collaborative actions, highlighting the distinctive quality of Materials Science and Engineering to solve crucial problems facing humanity, thanks to the integrated, multifaceted approach and the synergy between experiment, theory and computational simulation this discipline is able to offer. Specifically on the themes of the fifth edition of the event, the president of SBPMat stressed the importance of developing more durable, higher capacity and safer batteries, and the need for sea and building materials research investigations. “As a matter of fact, data regarding maintenance costs of large civil works, such as bridges, viaducts and roads, were presented in the summit, which indicate a great demand for advanced materials, not only to reduce costs, but also to guarantee sustainability,” declared the president of SBPMat. He also mentioned the excellent presentations by European experts in regard to the forms of renewable energy sources that can be extracted from the sea. According to the professor, a document with the main conclusions of the event is being prepared by the participants.

The second event, October 20 to 24, was held in Qingdao also in Shandong province, about 150 km from Rizhao, organized by C-MRS and the Taiwan Materials Research Society (MRS-T). This even consisted of 4 plenary lectures and 27 symposiums on materials for energy and the environment, advanced structural and functional materials, biological materials, and simulation, modeling and characterization of materials.

SBPMat participa da realização de exposição itinerante sobre materiais e sustentabilidade.

Strange Matter Green Earth” é o nome do projeto de exibições itinerantes sobre Ciência de Materiais e sustentabilidade que percorrerão a América do Sul e do Norte e a Europa. Iniciativa da Materials Research Society (MRS), a exibição está sendo realizada com colaboração de entidades de vários países, entre elas, a SBPMat, cujo representante no projeto é o professor do Instituto de Física de São Carlos da USP Osvaldo Novais de Oliveira Junior.