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:

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:

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: Report on CDMF website:

Entrevista com o ganhador do Prêmio Capes de Tese 2012 na área de Materiais.

Cesar Aguzzoli, premiado na área de Materiais, na cerimônia do Prêmio Capes de Tese, que foi entregue na presença de representantes do MCTI, Capes, CNPq e SBPC. Crédito: Guilherme Feijó – ACS/Capes.

No dia 13 de dezembro passado, no edifício-sede da Capes, em Brasília, ocorreu a cerimônia de entrega do Prêmio Capes de Tese. Na área de Materiais, o prêmio foi outorgado a Cesar Aguzzoli (34 anos) pela tese “Avaliação das propriedades físico-químicas, mecânicas e tribológicas de filmes finos de VC, Si3N4 e TiN/Ti”, defendida em 2011. O trabalho foi orientado por Israel Baumvol, professor emérito da UFRGS e coordenador do Programa de Pós-Graduação em Materiais da Universidade de Caxias do Sul (PGMAT – UCS).

Aguzzoli fez graduação em Engenharia Química na UCS e mestrado em Engenharia e Ciência de Materiais na mesma universidade. Ele realizou o doutorado dentro de um programa interinstitucional (DINTER) vigente de 2007 a 2011 entre os programas de pós-graduação em Materiais da UFRGS e da UCS. Desde março do ano passado, Aguzzoli compõe o corpo docente do PGMAT – UCS.

Na tese contemplada com o Prêmio Capes de Tese, Aguzzoli estudou correlações entre estrutura e propriedades de alguns revestimentos baseados em filmes finos cerâmicos, mais especificamente, carbeto de vanádio, nitreto de silício e nitreto de titânio, depositados sobre titânio. As condições e os parâmetros de deposição dos filmes (composição e fluxo dos gases reativos, temperatura do substrato e outros) foram variados para obter filmes com composições, densidades e espessuras convenientes. Os resultados mostraram algumas correlações importantes entre, por um lado, dureza, resistência ao desgaste e resistência à corrosão e, por outro lado, composição, densidade real e estrutura cristalina.

Segue uma breve entrevista com o premiado.

Boletim da SBPMat (B.S.): – Poderia nos contar brevemente como começou o seu interesse pela ciência e como se desenvolveu a sua carreira de pesquisador?

Cesar Aguzzoli (C.A.): – O interesse pela ciência começou cedo em minha vida. Desde pequeno me interessei em saber como as coisas funcionam, fazendo diversas perguntas, tais como: O que está dentro disto? Como que estas peças juntas fazem isso possível? Então tive interesse em cursar uma graduação na área das exatas e escolhi o curso de Engenharia Química. No início da graduação comecei a ser bolsista de iniciação científica e então vieram algumas das respostas. Com a vontade de ter mais respostas e com uma infinidade de perguntas que surgiam a cada etapa, resolvi tentar a pós-graduação. Fiz mestrado e doutorado na área de Materiais. Então descobri que tinha mais perguntas que antes. Com isso, aprendi uma lição valiosa, perguntas sempre existirão e o gosto de achar respostas e formular perguntas é a carreira de pesquisador!

B.S.: – E por que começou a trabalhar na área de Materiais?

C.A.: – Bom, depois da graduação e com uma experiência em iniciação científica, surgiu a oportunidade de fazer mestrado em Materiais. Como sempre gostei desta área, mas ainda não tinha trabalhado nela, achei um desafio promissor e comecei os estudos em Materiais.

 B.S.: – Quais foram os critérios que o guiaram para fazer uma pesquisa de qualidade destacada em nível nacional? A que fatores você atribui esta conquista?

C.A.: – Acredito que trabalhei com profissionais e colegas de alto nível. Isso sem nenhuma dúvida foi decisivo, bem como o comprometimento e dedicação que sempre achei necessários para o trabalho.

B.S.: – Gostaria de deixar alguma mensagem para nossos leitores que estão realizando trabalhos de iniciação científica, mestrado e doutorado na área de Materiais?

C.A.: – Com certeza, acredito que quando se faz algo que se gosta muito, tudo acaba ficando diferente. Pode não ser mais fácil, mas com certeza será menos sofrido. Acho que tanto para a vida como para o trabalho temos que possuir boa vontade e comprometimento com as tarefas. Com isso os resultados virão e, se não vierem, pelo menos o tempo que passamos fazendo as coisas não será um tempo gasto, e sim um investimento no que apreciamos em fazer.