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FAPESP Week 2016 set to stimulate cooperation between scientists in Brazil and the United States

Joint research results and opportunities will be discussed during symposia at the University of Michigan and Ohio State University

Researchers from Brazil and the United States will attend two symposia organized by FAPESP, the São Paulo State Research Foundation, between March 28 and April 1 at the University of Michigan (UM) and Ohio State University (OSU). The goal of the presentations and discussions will be to extend scientific cooperation between the two countries in research projects on Genomics, Environment and Sustainability, Human Health, Engineering, Agriculture and Water, Bioinformatics, New Materials, and Law and Social Justice.

The meetings are part of FAPESP Week 2016, organized by the Foundation in partnership with the two US universities, with support from the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, DC.

The symposium held at the University of Michigan on March 28-29 will open with a presentation on FAPESP’s international scientific cooperation strategy by Scientific Director Carlos Henrique de Brito Cruz.

In the session on Environment, Governance and Sustainability, Maria Carmen Lemos, a researcher at UM, and Gabriela Di Giulio, a researcher at the University of São Paulo’s Public Health School (FSP-USP), will present the findings of a collaborative project on risk perception and adaptation to climate change at the local level influenced by factors such as rising community vulnerability, changes in land use, urbanization, and pollution. The project is funded by FAPESP and UM under a cooperation agreement signed in 2012 by the two institutions.

In the same session, UM’s Vitor Li and USP’s Holmer Savastano will present findings from their collaborative research on sustainable composite materials for construction using agricultural fibers and mining waste.

On the same day, a session on Genetics and Genomics focusing on the identification of disease-causing genes will feature presentations by UM’s Brian Byrd about treatment-resistant hypertension and personalized medicine, and Nils Walter from the same institution about the role of RNA molecules in cellular processes and disease prevention. Other presentations on research in the same field will be delivered by scientists from the Federal University of São Paulo (UNIFESP), USP’s Heart Institute (INCOR) and Hospital das Clínicas, the general teaching hospital attached to the same university’s Medical School (HCFM-USP).

In Human Health, there will be presentations on child development in poor urban areas by Alexandra Brentani from USP’s Medical School, and UM’s Michele Heisler. These researchers, who specialize in preventive medicine, will speak about the results of their collaboration to improve healthcare and outcomes in western São Paulo.

Other presentations on Health will focus on the results of research into a cure for ataxia (a neurological disorder characterized by lack of motor coordination) and advances in medical research on rehabilitation and spinal marrow injuries. In the same session, Professor Iscia Lopes-Cendes, creator of the Brazilian Initiative on Precision Medicine (BIPMed), Latin America’s first public human genome database, will speak about this project.

The UM symposium will also feature presentations on scientific and technological research in Engineering, focusing on the aerospace industry, and in Law and Social Justice, focusing on slavery, human trafficking, genetics, and human rights.

OSU symposium

On March 31 and April 1, FAPESP Week 2016 at Ohio State University will feature a series of presentations about political decision-making processes based on scientific information, agriculture and water, bioinformatics and data analysis, new materials, and Medicine and Health.

José Marengo, a researcher at the Natural Disaster Surveillance & Early Warning Center (CEMADEN) and the National Space Research Center (INPE), will present the findings of an international study led by him on the rise in sea levels caused by climate change in Santos on the coast of São Paulo State (Brazil), Broward County in Florida (USA), and Selsey on the Sussex coast of England (UK).

The project team also included researchers from the University of South Florida and King’s College London. FAPESP supported the project under the aegis of a cooperation agreement with the Belmont Forum, a collaboration of environmental change research funding agencies and science councils in 18 countries.

In Agriculture and Water, presentations will address the use of ultrasound as a pollution control technology, precision agriculture, the role of universities in evaluating sustainability, and challenges in research on the natural variability of water supply, growth in demand for water, and sustainable water use.

Other topics in the program include geospatial information system modeling, integrating genetic data for the investigation of disease biomarkers, discovering bioactive natural products, and sustainable building materials.

The session on Medicine and Health will cover molecular genetics and cancer, advances in medical research to develop products for neurological rehabilitation, and markers for lymphoproliferative disease prognosis. Participants include researchers affiliated with INCOR and UNIFESP in Brazil, and with OSU’s Spine Research Institute and Department of Molecular Virology, Immunology & Medical Genetics (USA).

The same session will feature a presentation by OSU’s Sudha Agarwal, who is conducting research with the university’s support on the response of osteoarthritis biomarkers after a rehabilitation program, in collaboration with Mario Ferretti Filho from the Albert Einstein Jewish Education & Research Institute (IIEP-SBIBAE) in São Paulo. This is one of seven projects selected in 2015 by FAPESP and OSU under the aegis of a cooperation agreement signed in 2013.

Scientific cooperation with the United States

Besides supporting spontaneous collaboration between Brazilian and US researchers, FAPESP has scientific and technological cooperation agreements with US institutions to guarantee mechanisms and increase these exchanges.

FAPESP has agreements with nine research funding agencies, 22 universities and other higher education and research institutions, and three companies in the US. The number of projects supported under these agreements since the start of the 2000s now totals 224.

Some R$31.6 million is currently allocated by FAPESP (which has disbursed R$16.4 million) to fund 59 ongoing projects developed jointly by Brazilian and US researchers supported by the National Science Foundation (NSF), the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the Department of Energy (through GOAmazon), multilateral funding agencies in which the US participates such as the Belmont Forum, the International Union of Pure & Applied Chemistry (IUPAC), Microsoft, Agilent Technologies, the University of Michigan, Vanderbilt University, the University of Texas, the University of North Carolina, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

Symposium at the University of Michigan

When: March 28-29, 2016

Where: Kuenzel Room, Michigan Union, 530 S State St, Ann Arbor, MI 48109


Symposium at Ohio State University

When: March 30 and April 1

Where: The Ohio State University Faculty Club, 181 South Oval Drive, Columbus, OH, 43210