The new Scientific Director plans to optimize processes, reduce bureaucracy and extend FAPESP’s reach (photo: Léo Ramos Chaves / Pesquisa FAPESP)
Luiz Eugênio Araújo de Morais Mello took office as Scientific Director of FAPESP on April 27, 2020, replacing Carlos Henrique de Brito Cruz, who had served in the post since 2005.
Sworn in amid the COVID-19 pandemic and social isolation measures in the state of São Paulo, Luiz Eugênio Mello said in a video message (watch the video below and turn on the subtitles to English) that during his term FAPESP will continue to pursue a “trajectory of excellence” and to act as a driver of change, adding that he plans to optimize processes, reduce bureaucracy and extend the institution’s reach.
“The new Scientific Director takes office with the unanimous support of the Board of Trustees at an extremely delicate time when Brazilian society faces a public health, economic and political crisis of unprecedented gravity. We’re confident that Professor Luiz Eugênio Mello will be successful in carrying out this mission, given his know-how as a leader and his prior experience in academia, science and technology. We know the coming months will require extreme caution in the execution of FAPESP’s core activities so as to ensure that it remains financially viable while at the same time continuing to perform its mission to promote science and development in the state of São Paulo,” said Marco Antonio Zago, President of FAPESP.
“This is a very important moment for FAPESP, because for the first time in a decade and a half we’re undergoing a transition in the Scientific Directorate, and on behalf of the Board I wish to make public our recognition of Professor Carlos Henrique de Brito Cruz’s performance as Scientific Director, always characterized by seriousness, the pursuit of quality, and a strong advocacy of science to solve society’s problems.”
Luiz Eugênio Mello graduated in medicine from the Federal University of São Paulo (UNIFESP) in 1982. He has a master’s degree (1985) and a PhD in molecular biology (1988) from the same university. He attended the University of California (UCLA) in the United States as a postdoctoral fellow in neurophysiology between 1998 and 1991. He earned a Habilitation in 1994 and a Full Professorship in physiology in 1998.
Dr. Mello was a member of the Advisory Committee on Biophysics, Biochemistry, Pharmacology, Physiology and Neurosciences (CA-BF) to the National Council for Scientific and Technological Development (CNPq) in 2000-03, and a member of an adjunct panel to FAPESP’s Scientific Directorate in 2003-06.
He has been a full member of the São Paulo State Academy of Sciences (ACIESP) since 2007 and of the Brazilian Academy of Sciences (ABC) since 2010. In the latter year he was awarded the Grand Cross of the National Order of Scientific Merit.
Dr. Mello is a board member of CNPq, the Brazilian Small Business Support Service – São Paulo (SEBRAE-SP), the Brazilian Center for Research in Energy and Materials (CNPEM), the D'Or Institute for Research and Education (IDOR), the Innovation Center at Fundação Getulio Vargas’s School of Business Administration (FGVIn), the Brazilian Lymphoma and Leukemia Society (ABRALE) and Tibet House Brazil. He is sector editor of the Brazilian Journal of Medical and Biological Research.
Formerly he was Pro-Rector for Undergraduate Studies at UNIFESP (2005-08), President of the Brazilian Federation of Experimental Biology Societies (FeSBE, 2007-11), a board member of the Brazilian Society for the Advancement of Science (SBPC, 2014-17) and Vice President of the National Association for Research and Development in Innovative Companies (ANPEI, 2016-18).
Dr. Mello is also a former Director of Technology and Innovation at Vale S.A., where he set up the Vale Institute of Technology (2009-18), Head of R&D at IDOR (2018-20), and Head of UNIFESP’s Technological and Social Innovation Agency (AGITS, 2019-20). He specializes in neural plasticity, epilepsy, neurodegeneration, and S&T management.
He was chosen unanimously by FAPESP’s Board of Trustees and appointed by São Paulo State Governor João Doria in a decree published in the state’s official gazette on December 6, 2019.