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Science paves transatlantic ways between Brazil and UK

28.02.2019

Dr. Viviane Mignone, Research Fellow, CAPES – University of Nottingham, Drug Discovery Program

In the last 15 years, the world saw Brazil – with its 8 516 000 km2 of territory, the biggest Latin American country and fifth largest country of the world – become in fact the giant it can be. The fight against inequality came side by side with economic growth and science & technology development. We conquered a place in the spotlight for the first time in the world’s scenario that goes beyond samba and carnival.

I started my academic-scientific career precisely around this period. My master’s and PhD’s projects were about basic research on cancer in the University of Rio de Janeiro State and I could finish the projects without worrying about budget and scholarships cuts because the investment in scientific development was one of the Government’s main priorities. Those priorities changed with the swift of political leaderships e although the major reduction of scholarships and research investments, in 2017 I was selected to participate of the Capes-Drug Discovery programme – a partnership that begun in 2014 between Capes and University of Nottingham which has one of the best pharmacy schools in the world. The programme had as its main objective to insert postgrad students and researchers from several different phases of discovery of new medicines – from the discovery of new pharmaceutical targets and design of new drugs to the evaluation of their biological characteristics – in order to generate the qualification of human resources.

Dr. Viviane Mignone

My departure to the UK was something totally out of my comfort zone – personal and professional. I have never lived or worked outside Brazil and my former projects were not directly related to the ones I would develop there. However, the possibility of amplifying my area of knowledge in such a promising and important sector for the development of a country – as it is the research field on tests and discovery of new pharmaceutical and drug prototypes – made me go without a question in my mind that it was the right choice.

And in fact it was the best thing I could have done. It took 18 months of hard work, learning and growth. During my time in the University of Nottingham, I could develop not only my research, but I also was in contact with other projects throughout collaborations. And that was fundamental so I could make the most out this experience and apply what I was learning in different areas. The learning experience was far beyond the ordinary. Getting to know researchers of every place in the world with such different cultures – but at the same time so welcoming and letting the differences become barriers – is very enriching.

In the last month of my scholarship, I had the privilege of having my work selected to a lecture on the Pharmacology 2017 congress. To speak to a crowd of specialists is not a comfortable situation – in a non-native language – so it was very challenging but also the best way I could close my cycle in Nottingham: getting my work to be recognised.

Besides all the professional and personal baggage acquired in the period, I came back with even more admiration for the Brazilian researchers that with all difficulties they have on the way – like getting resources and bureaucracy to import reagents and equipment – we are still able to do excellent works. And with the facilitation of programmes such as Capes-Drug Discovery, they tend to become even better.

 

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