27/07/2021 04:31

Serrapilheira’s 4th call for proposals will fund 12 young scientists with up to 700,000 Brazilian reais

  • Institutional

Researchers were selected among 505 candidates and will receive funds for the next three years


On Thursday, July 15th, the Serrapilheira Institute announced the 12 young scientists selected through its fourth call for proposals. Each awardee will receive up to 700,000 Brazilian reis to invest in their projects over the next three years. Recipients will also have access to additional funds called a “diversity bonus” in order to invest in the inclusion and training of individuals from underrepresented backgrounds on their research teams. 

The selection process sought original and old projects tackling pressing questions that will contribute to scientific knowledge in the life sciences, computer science, and mathematics. In the first stage, 505 young scientists submitted preliminary proposals. Among them, 47 candidates were invited to submit final proposals and were subsequently interviewed by reviewers from across the world.

“We have built a diverse portfolio of projects that combines scientific excellence with different degrees of risk,” said Serrapilheira’s Science Director, Cristina Caldas. The research covers topics such as geometric analysis (mathematics), remote sensing (computer science), urban ecology (life sciences), cosmology and quantum information (physics), climate change (geosciences), and more. 

“It takes time and money to train scientists. We need to ensure that these talented graduates, whose excellence was evident in the selection process, have continued access to resources and that the public and private sectors think together about how to offer better conditions for conducting scientific research in Brazil,” added Caldas. “We believe that providing young researchers with long-term and flexible support at the start of their careers, when they are setting up their teams and laboratories, is a model that deserves to be amplified by other organizations.” 


Get to know the 12 selected young scientists and their projects


Jefersson dos Santos, Federal University of Minas Gerais

dos Santos will investigate how to produce large-scale geographic mapping using supervised learning from a few annotated pixels. 


Cristiane Calixto, University of São Paulo

Calixto studies how plants respond to temperature changes. In her project, she will investigate how post-transcriptional and epigenetic mechanisms contribute to temperature memory and heat responses in rice.

Luiz Gustavo Gardinassi, Federal University of Goiás

Gardinassi studies how the gut microbiome affects malaria resistance and seeks to understand the potential molecular mechanisms involved. 

Mychael Lourenço, Federal University of Rio de Janeiro

Lourenço studies cellular stress molecular pathways and their impacts on brain function, such as cognition and mood. He is one of the researchers who identified irisin, a hormone that increases in the blood after physical exercise and protects the brain against memory loss from Alzheimer’s disease.

Raul Costa Pereira, Campinas State University

Pereira seeks to understand how human diversity and social inequalities affect urban biodiversity. 


Bárbara Amaral, University of São Paulo

Amaral studies how to exploit quantum systems to implement bit compromise protocols, a key ingredient in various cryptography applications. 

Elisa Ferreira, University of São Paulo

Ferreira researches dark matter, one of the greatest mysteries in cosmology, and takes part in the BINGO telescope project, a multinational collaboration under Brazilian leadership that aims to examine the evolution of the universe. BINGO has the potential to put Brazil at the center of scientific and technological development in astronomy, as scientists and resources are scarce in this area.

Thiago Fleury, IIF/Federal University of Rio Grande do Norte

Fleury seeks to understand the mechanisms that underlie holography, a phenomenon that is present in quantum gravity theories and remains an unsolved question in physics.


Vinícius Ribau Mendes, Federal University of São Paulo

Mendes will investigate what will happen to precipitation in South America if (or when) the Atlantic meridional overturning circulation (AMOC) collapses.


Dick Erhard, Federal University of Bahia

Erhard’s project is dedicated to understanding the macroscopic phenomena of microscopic models of random interaction. 

Rafael Montezuma, Federal University of Ceará

Montezuma studies new min-max theory perspectives for the area functional, expanding geometric analysis studies in Brazil. This theory explores methods for controlling and classifying minimal surfaces, which can be physically visualized as soap film surfaces, and geometric invariants obtained naturally through variational methods, as well as their interactions with other fields of global differential geometry and general relativity. 


Daniel Grasseschi, Federal University of Rio de Janeiro

Grasseschi will manipulate individual atoms in two-dimensional materials, such as the pieces on a chessboard, in order to better understand how coordination chemistry can be exploited to control the electronic, optical, and chemical properties of these materials.

Below is the list of reviewers who participated in the selection process:

Amy Zanne, George Washington University, United State

Ana Domingos, University of Oxford, England

Angela Sessitsch, Austrian Institute of Technology, Austria

Artur Avila, University of Zurich, Switzerland

Claudio Silva, New York University, United States

Daniel Mucida, The Rockefeller University, United States

Freddy Cachazo, Perimeter Institute, Canada

Gareth Law, University of Helsinki, Finland

Guosong Chen, Fudan University, China

Hans Lambers, The University of Western Australia, Australia

Ivan de Araújo, School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, United States

Juliana Freire, New York University, United States

Karen Hallberg, Bariloche Atomic Center, Argentina

Lars Jansen, University of Oxford, England

Luiz Oliveira, Federal University of Paraná, Brazil

Marcelo Nóbrega, The University of Chicago, United States

María J. Esteban, Ceremade – Paris Dauphine University, France

Pedro Camargo, University of Helsinki, Finland

Ricardo Torres, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Norway

Roberto Weinberg, Monash University, Australia

Sonia Esperanca, National Science Foundation (retired), United States

Victor Arroyo-Rodriguez, National Autonomous University of México, Mexico

Yehu Moran, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel