Marcelo L Campos

Life Sciences

Marcelo Campos is a biologist interested in the relationships between two biological empires: plants and insects. His project tries to answer an intriguing question: why are plants, even with more than a million species of insects lurking around, able to resist most of them? It’s an exploration that could have significant consequences for food production. Marcelo Campos graduated in biological sciences from the Catholic University of Brasília and completed a master’s in biochemical plant physiology at the University of São Paulo. Marcelo went to Michigan State University in the United States for his doctorate in genetics. He also had two postdoctoral periods, one at the Catholic University of Brasília and, later, at the University of Brasília. Today, he is part of the teaching staff at the Federal University of Mato Grosso.

In addition to his love for science, Marcelo is a proud father of two boys: Eduardo and Leonardo. In his free time, he swaps microscope lenses for video game screens, a passion that fills every shelf in his office with games and consoles. To balance scientific rigour, whenever possible, he is inspired by the words of José Saramago.


Why are plants resistant to most insects?
Science / Life Sciences

We live on a planet dominated by plants and insects. While plants represent more than 80% of all terrestrial biomass, no other group of organisms is as rich as insects, with more than a million species. One of the most prevalent forms of interaction between these two “biological empires” is herbivory, where an insect consumes plant tissue as food. However, when we look at the plants growing around us, we will notice something interesting: they are generally not being destroyed by insects! In other words, susceptibility to insect attack is the exception rather than the rule in the plant kingdom. Our project aims to understand how plants reached this condition and why they resist most insects. In addition to delving into a little-explored branch of the plant immune system, this research has enormous potential for developing cultivars that are more resilient to attack by pests, making our crops safer.

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