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Pesquisa FAPESP special issue 2016

special issue 2016

Fighting dengue requires a combination of old and new strategies Brazil has the second largest market in the experimental aircraft industry Thomas Lovejoy: Five decades of studies in the Amazon New edition of Monções, by Sérgio Buarque, reveals the historian’s intent to rewrite his original work Illustration of the Giant Magellan Telescope (GMT), set to be inaugurated in 2021

Expanded Universe International partnerships and investments of nearly R$200 million over the next 10 years should boost astrophysics in São Paulo

December 2016  Special Issue


04 COVER 4 International partnerships and

investments of nearly R$200 million over the next 10 years should boost astrophysics in SĂŁo Paulo

6 Telescopes will study

dark matter, dark energy, and gamma rays and will map the cosmos in 3D

Fusion of photo by Bab Tafreshi/Science Photo Library (Milky Way) and illustration of Giant Magellan Telescope - GMTO

SCIENCE 24 Infectology

Fighting dengue now and in the coming years requires a combination of old and new strategies

32 Genetics

Melanin fragments formed hours after sun exposure may damage DNA and cause skin cancer

Corporation (GMT); David A. Aguilar (CfA), above

INTERVIEW 10 Thomas Lovejoy American biologist heads a groundbreaking project that has helped to define forest conservation areas


FAPESP has continued to invest in research despite the economic downturn, says its 2014 Annual Activity Report

21 Experimentation

Brazilian and foreign researchers discuss ways to reduce animal testing

22 Cooperation

Unicamp uses an open innovation model to create a research center to study enzymes found in human and plant cells

34 Biochemistry

44 Aeronautical engineering Approximately 20 manufacturers of small aircraft operate in Brazil, investing in innovation and collaboration with universities as a strategy for growth

52 Bioengineering

Biofabris Institute produces titanium alloy prostheses for patients who have lost skull or facial bones due to accidents or disease

56 Company research

GranBio invests in R&D to meet the challenges of producing second-generation ethanol

A needle-shaped structure allows the Xanthomonas citri bacterium to release toxic compounds into rival microorganisms

60 Photography

38 Ecology


Mathematical models reconstruct the seed-dispersing role once played by now-extinct animals in the Pantanal

40 Physics

International group produces a graphene and phosphorene transistor in the laboratory with one-atom-thick layers

42 Geophysics

Clouds of cold atoms can be used to measure subtle variations in gravitational force

A new method facilitates the transformation of historical handwritten documents into digital files

62 Sociology

New study reveals that more than one million Brazilians have taken part in or attempted an act of lynching

66 Political Science

Study shows rising ignorance about the democratic system

70 History

A new edition of the first book by the historian SĂŠrgio Buarque de Holanda demonstrates his preference for rewriting his works SECTIONS 2 Letter from the Editor 75 Art

Letter from the Editor São Paulo Research Foundation

José Goldemberg President Eduardo Moacyr Krieger vice-President Board of trustees Carmino Antonio de Souza, Eduardo Moacyr Krieger, fernando ferreira costa, João Fernando Gomes de Oliveira, joão grandino rodas, José Goldemberg, Marilza Vieira Cunha Rudge, José de Souza Martins, julio cezar durigan, Pedro Luiz Barreiros Passos, Pedro Wongtschowski, Suely Vilela Sampaio

Astronomy, the Amazon and Aircraft Alexandra Ozorio de Almeida |

editor in chief

Executive board Carlos américo pacheco President director Carlos Henrique de Brito Cruz Scientific director Joaquim J. de Camargo Engler Administrative director

issn 1519-8774

Editorial board Carlos Henrique de Brito Cruz (President), Caio Túlio Costa, Eugênio Bucci, Fernando Reinach, José Eduardo Krieger, Luiz Davidovich, Marcelo Knobel, Maria Hermínia Tavares de Almeida, Marisa Lajolo, Maurício Tuffani, Mônica Teixeira Scientific committee Luiz Henrique Lopes dos Santos (President), Anamaria Aranha Camargo, Ana Maria Fonseca Almeida, Carlos Américo Pacheco, Carlos Eduardo Negrão, Fabio Kon, Francisco Antônio Bezerra Coutinho, Joaquim J. de Camargo Engler, José Goldemberg, José Roberto de França Arruda, José Roberto Postali Parra, Lucio Angnes, Marie-Anne Van Sluys, Maria Julia Manso Alves, Paula Montero, Roberto Marcondes Cesar Júnior, Sérgio Robles Reis Queiroz, Wagner Caradori do Amaral, Walter Colli Scientific coordinator Luiz Henrique Lopes dos Santos Editor in chief Alexandra Ozorio de Almeida Managing editor Neldson Marcolin Editors Fabrício Marques (Policy), Marcos de Oliveira (Technology), Ricardo Zorzetto (Science); Carlos Fioravanti and Marcos Pivetta (Special editors); Bruno de Pierro (Assistant editor) Translator TransConsult, Fairfax, VA – Kim Olson art Mayumi Okuyama (Editor), Ana Paula Campos (Infographics editor), Júlia Cherem Rodrigues and Maria Cecilia Felli (Assistents) Photographers Eduardo Cesar and Léo Ramos Eletronic media Fabrício Marques (Coordinator) Internet Pesquisa FAPESP online Maria Guimarães (Editor) Rodrigo de Oliveira Andrade (Reporter) Jayne Oliveira (writer) Renata Oliveira do Prado (Social media) Contributors Daniel Bueno, Daniel Kondo, Dinorah Ereno, Francisco Bicudo, Elisa Carareto, Igor Zolnerkevic, Juliana Sayuri, Pablo Nogueira, Mariza, Valter Rodrigues, Yuri Vasconcelos

Printer Eskenazi Indústria Gráfica

The reprinting of texts and photos, in whole or in part, is prohibited without prior authorization

PESQUISA FAPESP Rua Joaquim Antunes, no 727, 10o andar, CEP 05415-012, Pinheiros, São Paulo-SP – Brasil FAPESP Rua Pio XI, no 1.500, CEP 05468-901, Alto da Lapa, São Paulo-SP – Brasil



he astrophysics research community in Brazil is seeking a new level of activity and impact. Ongoing investments by Fapesp of nearly R$ 200 million over the next ten years should increase scientific output and guarantee more hours at major telescopes around the world. If accomplished, this objective of making a qualitative leap in production and impact should put Sao Paulo on the map as an international research hub for astronomy. The strategy is to combine efforts with those who conduct the best research in astrophysics worldwide and share the costs of expensive enterprises by means of partnerships with consortia of universities in Brazil and abroad, and by means of participation in observatories under construction or expansion in South America and Europe. Researchers from São Paulo State have reached an agreement to participate in four major projects: the Giant Magellan Telescope (GMT), the Cherenkov Telescope Array (CTA), the Javalambre Physics of the Accelerating Universe Astrophysical Survey (J-PAS) and the Large Latin American Millimeter Array (Llama). The epidemic of Dengue in Brazil has reached alarming levels. Between 2010 and 2014, the country registered an annual average of 881,000 cases, an increase of 126% in comparison to the previous five-year period. An extensive feature in this edition shows that there is no unique solution to the problem of avoiding new outbreaks. Efficient public policies seeking to eradicate the disease will demand coordinated action based on scientific evidence that combines existing tools and new developments. Novel approaches such as preventive vaccines, the use of new types of insecticides and genetically modified mosquitoes could be effective, especially if supported by

an ample effort by public and private agents to gather information. This edition also presents an indepth interview with Thomas Lovejoy, an American biologist who has worked in the Amazon region since 1965. His research has helped to define forest conservation areas in the Amazon. In Lovejoy’s view, the Amazon demands an integrated plan that brings together forests, urban areas, transportation, energy and agriculture. The scientific community acknowledges the expression “biological diversity,” now in everyday use, as his creation. Lovejoy has access to governments, institutions and nongovernmental organizations, and he acts as an environmental affairs advisor as well as a researcher. A special report investigates the significant small aircraft industry in Brazil. More than twenty companies are investing in Brazil, the second largest market for experimental or light sport aircraft. A look at the origins of these companies shows that that some are university spinoffs and many work closely with universities and research institutions to develop innovations for their products. Designed mainly for amateur pilots who prefer to fly their own equipment, the capacity of the aircraft is limited to two or four people. Despite these limitations, experimental planes are technologically advanced vehicles. They have innovative designs in terms of structure and aerodynamics, are made of high tech materials, and many are equipped with digital avionics and powerful engines. Scoda, based in upstate São Paulo, has sold more than 350 of its Super Petrel LS aircraft to over 20 countries. This amphibian plane was developed with the help of interns from the aeronautical engineering course at the University of São Paulo (USP). pESQUISA FAPESP | 3

cover story

The age of grand observations


International partnerships and investments of nearly R$200 million over the next 10 years should boost astrophysics in São Paulo Marcos Pivetta


he São Paulo astrophysics community, which represents one-third of Brazilian researchers and one-half of Brazilian scientific production in the area, is preparing to make a qualitative leap between now and the middle of the next decade. Recent agreements with four large international groups will ensure that researchers from São Paulo will be part of the cutting-edge global work. Their ambition is to answer some of the most fundamental questions that lead astronomers to scan the skies with their telescopes, satellites and probes, such as the enigma of extraterrestrial life and the nature of dark matter and dark energy, which are two principal constituents of the Universe and about which we know almost nothing. By 2024, FAPESP will have spent almost R$200 million on these projects in addition to investments on other astrophysics initiatives. In the field of visible-light and infrared radiation observations, one of the initiatives that can expand the human view of the cosmos is the Giant Magellan Telescope (GMT), which measures 24.5 meters (m) and will be the largest land telescope when it is inaugurated, probably in 2021. Through a $40 million agreement between the Foundation and the international consortium responsible for managing the 4 | special issue  december 2016

construction of the super telescope, astrophysicists from universities and institutions in São Paulo will be entitled to 4% of GMT observation time. “With this agreement, we are ensuring the future of Brazilian astrophysics and the research that we will be carrying out in 2030,” says astrophysicist João Steiner of the Institute of Astronomy, Geophysics and Atmospheric Sciences of the University of São Paulo (IAG-USP), who initiated and coordinated the project that paved the way for the entry into the GMT. Radio astronomy, a specialty that is not yet advanced in Brazil, is expected to gain impetus with the Large Latin-American Millimeter Array (LLAMA), a joint initiative of São Paulo and Argentine researchers. The acronym is a humorous reference to a member of the typical fauna of the Andes, where the 12-m diameter antenna will be installed in the first half of 2016 at an altitude of 4,800 m. “Our Itapetinga radio telescope in Atibaia is outdated and LLAMA will be important for radio astronomers because it is much more sensitive,” says Jacques Lépine of IAG-USP, who is the project coordinator. The antenna can work alone or together with the Atacama Large Millimeter/Submillimeter Array (ALMA) in Chile, the largest radio astronomy project in the world.

Photo ESO / B. Tafreshi Infographic Ana Paula Campos

published in may 2015

Telescopes in operation

Observation time



Brazil’s access to international telescopes and the new projects

Two optical telescopes each measuring 8.1 m. One is located in Hawaii, the other in Chile. Brazil has 6.2% of the total time on both telescopes

New projects CFHT


Brazilians have up to

Scheduled to come on-line in 2021

16 nights per year for

in Chile. Measuring 24.5 m, it will

observations on the

be the first optical super telescope

3.6-m telescope in Hawaii

available for research and will produce images 10 times sharper than the Hubble telescope. Astrophysicists in São Paulo will be

Eso Brazil

Brazil’s participation in the

allowed 4% of its observation time.

ESO awaits Senate approval,

FAPESP is investing $40 million in a

but the Europeans say that

partnership with the consortium

Brazilians can use their telescopes in Chile Llama Soar A 4.1-m optical telescope

As a project funded by FAPESP and Argentina, this 12-m-diameter


in Cerro Pachón, Chile. Since 2005, Brazil has had

radio telescope for millimeter to Argentina

submillimeter waves will be assembled next year in the

access to 30% of its total

Argentine Andes. Brazil is investing

observation time

approximately $9 million to purchase the antenna, and the Argentines

The other two international initiatives cover different areas of research in astrophysics. The Cherenkov Telescope Array (CTA) involves a consortium of 29 countries and will include two arrays with more than 100 telescopes of three different sizes. It will be the largest ground-based observatory to study high-energy gamma rays. “The projects have a broad scientific scope and are complementary,” says Elisabete de Gouveia Dal Pino of IAG-USP, one of the coordinators of the Brazilian contribution to the CTA. “For the first time in history, we will be able to make combined observations, collecting data from the entire electromagnetic spectrum: from low-frequency radio waves through the visible spectrum up to gamma rays at the high end of the spectrum.” The Javalambre Physics of the Accelerating Universe Astrophysical Survey (J-PAS) is a Spanish and Brazilian bi-national project whose objective is to produce a three-dimensional map of

the distribution of matter throughout the Universe over the next five years. Brazil is funding and coordinating the construction of the second largest astronomical camera in the world, JPCam, with a resolution of 1.2 billion pixels and 59 different filters, to be installed in one of the initiative’s telescopes. “There is a pent-up demand among Brazilian astrophysicists for time on international telescopes,” says Bruno Vaz Castilho, director of the National Astrophysics Laboratory (LNA). The federal institution manages the time that Brazilian researchers are allotted on the Gemini and SOAR telescopes and on the CFHT (Canada France Hawaii Telescope). In late 2010, Brazil signed a formal agreement to become a member of the European Southern Observatory (ESO), a consortium of 15 European countries that manages three astronomical observation sites in Chile. The agreement, which guarantees access to ESO facilities, awaits approval by the Brazilian Congress. n

are building the observatory

J-Pas This project will map the Universe in 3D. The partnership between Spain and Brazil will consist of two telescopes in Teruel, Spain. One of them will have the second largest astronomical camera in the world, which will be equipped with 59 filters. A 0.8-m Brazilian telescope, which was recently installed in Chile, will assist with the survey

CTA This international project plans to build the largest gamma ray observatory by 2020. It will consist of approximately 100 Cherenkov telescopes spread over one site in the southern hemisphere and another site in the northern hemisphere. Brazil’s contribution includes the purchase of three 4-m telescopes for the CTA Mini-Array


New eyes on the Universe Telescopes will study dark matter, dark energy, and gamma rays and will map the cosmos in 3D


t 4,800 meters above sea level, in the Argentine region Puna de Atacama, which is a type of extension of the arid landscape of the eastern Chilean Atacama desert, the Alto Chorrillo site will contain a 12-m-diameter radio telescope known as LLAMA (Large LatinAmerican Millimeter Array) beginning in April 2016. Designed and implemented through a partnership between astrophysicists in the state of São Paulo and Argentina, the modern antenna is expected to begin operation and to produce scientific research in early 2017. In general terms, the agreement has established that the São Paulo researchers will buy the radio telescope (with US $9.2 million provided by FAPESP), and the Argentines will build the physical structure to house and maintain the equipment. “In principle, each country will have half of the telescope’s observation time,” says astrophysicist Jacques Lépine of the Institute of Astronomy, Geophysics and Atmospheric Sciences of the University of São Paulo (IAG-USP), who is a mentor of the project and Brazilian LLAMA coordinator. “But we are establishing key projects to be managed by bi-national teams.” Half of the cost of the antenna has been paid for, and the remainder will be paid when the equipment is 100% operational. The Argentine part of the project is currently financed by the Secretaría de Articulación Científico Tecnológica of the Ministerio de Ciencia, Tecnología e Innovación Productiva (MINCyT). The choice to place the antenna at this site in northeastern Argentina had two strategic motives. First, Puna de Atacama has an extremely dry climate with slightly higher annual rainfall than the nearby Atacama Desert, which is the driest place on the planet. Atmospheric water vapor is the main 6 | special issue december 2016


With the installation planned for 2016 in Argentina, the 12-m LLAMA antenna will be similar to APEX, which is operating in Chile

Photos   1 ESO / B. Tafreshi 2


Italian prototype of the 4-m telescope for the CTA project: FAPESP is financing and building three units with the participation of Brazilian engineers

obstacle to performing good astronomical observations at millimeter and submillimeter wavelengths, such as the frequency band between 90 gigahertz (GHz) and 900 GHz where LLAMA will operate. Second, LLAMA is 150 km from the Atacama Large Millimeter/Submillimeter Array (ALMA), which is the largest radio astronomy project on the planet and located on an extremely high peak in the Chilean municipality of San Pedro de Atacama. Consisting of 66 antennas that measure 7-12 m on the Chajnantor plateau, at an altitude of approximately 5,000 m, ALMA began operations in March 2013. Near the giant radio experiment and also on the Chajnantor plateau is the Atacama Pathfinder Experiment Telescope (APEX), a 12-m radio telescope, of which LLAMA is almost a clone. Initially, LLAMA will operate independently with no connection to ALMA. However, there is a possibility that the Brazilian-Argentine antenna can integrally work with ALMA and even APEX such that they act as a single giant radio telescope. For this purpose, the project must have an interferometry device, which combines

the signals from different antennas and enables higher-resolution imaging. LLAMA’s scientific objectives include possible studies on the structure of the Sun, first stars and galaxies, emissions from jets and masers (a type of radiation similar to that of a laser) and extrasolar planets. The search for organic molecules in the cosmos is expected to be one of the first research areas to produce academic output using the antenna. Astrophysicist Sergio Pilling, the coordinator of the Astrochemistry and Astrobiology Laboratory at the Vale do Paraíba University (Univap) in São Jose dos Campos, Brazil, intends to use the radio telescope for this purpose. “With a little luck we will be able to discover molecules that have not yet been found in outer space if we look in certain radio frequencies,” says Pilling. The Universe in gamma rays

Another ambitious project with an international scope and involving researchers from São Paulo and other Brazilian states is the Cherenkov Telescope Array (CTA). It involves a consortium of 29 countries that plans to build the largest asPESQUISA FAPESP | 7

Illustration of the acoustic oscillations of baryons

tronomical observatory for gamma rays in the world by 2020 to understand the most energetic phenomena in the Universe. Among these events are the collision of dark-matter particles; the nature of astrophysical accelerators of cosmic rays, which include colliding clouds, stars and supermassive black holes at the center of galaxies; and the violation of the constancy of the speed of light, which can only be measured using gamma rays. The observatory, with an estimated cost of €200 million, will consist of approximately 100 Cherenkov-type telescopes of three different sizes (24 m, 12 m, and 4 m in diameter), which are ideal for this type of measurement and will be distributed in two arrays. One array will be set up in the northern hemisphere in Mexico, the United States or Spain, and the other will be set up in the southern hemisphere, probably near ALMA in Chile. Most telescopes will be small. The first stage of the project, which is called the CTA Mini-Array, will set up the 4-m telescopes at the southern site by 2017. With FAPESP funding, astrophysicist Elisabete de Gouveia Dal Pino of IAG-USP is coordinating the Brazilian contribution to the Mini-Array. At a cost of approximately €3 million, the Foundation is paying for the manufacture of three small telescopes in Italy based on a prototype. The prototype was developed by the Italian National Institute of Astrophysics with Brazilian engineers’

8 | special issue december 2016

participation. South Africa and Italy are funding another 1 and 5 units, respectively. “The MiniArray telescopes will capture the highest energies between 0.1 and 100 TeV [100 TeV corresponds to 100 trillion electron-volts of energy],” says Pino. “They will increase the current sensitivity for capturing gamma rays by a factor of five to ten.” The Brazilian part of the initiative is not restricted to the Mini-Array. The team of Luiz Vitor de Souza Filho of the São Carlos Institute of Physics (IFSC-USP) developed the arm that positions the image camera in the CTA’s midsized telescopes. He developed and tested a prototype with Orbital Engenharia, a company in São Paulo, and has now been selected to supply the structure, which measures 16 m and weighs 5 metric tons, for the other telescopes. Researchers from the Brazilian Center for Research in Physics (CBPF) and the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ) participated in the project and developed the 24-m telescopes. A wide-angle lens in the sky

With a total budget of €30 million, the Javalambre Physics of the Accelerating Universe Astrophysical Survey (J-PAS) project was originally proposed by Spain, and Brazil joined as the second partner five years ago. The initiative’s goal, for which a new observatory was built in Teruel in the Spanish region of Aragon, is to produce a

photos 1 Zosia Rostomian, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory 2 Alberto Molino


New 0.8-m Brazilian telescope in Cerro Tololo, Chile: partnership with Spanish researchers on the J-PAS project

three-dimensional survey of the entire sky over the next five to six years. Two telescopes, one measuring 2.5 m and the other 0.8 m, were designed for exclusive use in mapping everything from asteroids, planets and stars to hundreds of millions of galaxies in the Universe. The difference in relation to prior mappings, such as Sloan, is that the large J-PAS telescope will have the second largest astronomical camera in the world: the JPCam, which has a resolution of 1.2 billion pixels, is composed of a mosaic of 14 CCDs, and has a sensor to obtain digital images. It is a type of wide-angle lens for the cosmos. The camera will be able to generate a record number of colors (spectra) in the images of the observed objects. It will have 59 different filters, whereas Sloan had only five, which will together generate a spectrum (set of colors) that will highlight certain characteristics of the millions of celestial bodies that will be observed. “The construction of this camera is funded and coordinated by Brazilians,” says Renato Dupke, astrophysicist at the National Observatory (ON), who initiated the partnership with the Spanish. The Brazilian Innovation Agency (FINEP), Rio de Janeiro Research Foundation (FAPERJ), Ministry of Science and Technology and Innovation (MCTI), and FAPESP have invested approximately $7 million in the JPCam development, and it should be installed in the telescope in 2016. “The camera’s filter system will be very useful for studying the acoustic oscillations of baryons,” says Laerte Sodré of IAG-USP, another astrophysicist in the partnership. This phenomenon, which remains little understood, is characterized by waves that were created shortly after the Big Bang because of the interactions between visible (baryonic) matter and radiation. Studying these

fluctuations can contribute to the understanding of dark matter and particularly dark energy, which are two main constituents of the Universe but which we know little about. The partnership with the Spanish led astrophysicist Cláudia Mendes de Oliveira of IAG-USP to request $2 million from FAPESP to build a 0.8m telescope identical to the smaller J-PAS equipment. The National Observatory paid R$520,000 to build the dome building and provide maintenance for the first six months of operation for the telescope, named the T-80 Sul. The equipment was installed at the Cerro Tololo site, Chile, and should come on-line in mid-2015. “We plan to carry out a survey of much of the local Universe, together with the smaller telescope in Spain, using 12 filters,” explains Oliveira. “Even with fewer filters, we should be able to produce highimpact results.” n

Projects 1. LLAMA: a mm/sub-mm radio telescope in the Andes, in collaboration with Argentina (No. 2011/51676-9); Grant Mechanism Thematic Project; Principal investigator Jacques Lépine (USP); Investment R$7,890,473.28 and $9,221,992.00 (FAPESP). 2. Investigation of high energy and plasma astrophysics phenomena: theory, numerical simulations, observations, and instrument development for the Cherenkov Telescope Array (CTA) (No. 2013/10559-5); Grant Mechanism Thematic Project; Principal Investigator Elisabete de Gouveia Dal Pino (USP); Investment $2,269,594.10 and R$1,981,476.55 (FAPESP). 3. Acquisition of a robotic telescope for the Brazilian astronomical community (No. 2009/54202-8); Grant Mechanism Multi-user Equipment Program; Principal investigator Cláudia de Oliveira (USP); Investment $1,746,697.84 and R$1,325,134.14 (FAPESP). 4. Pau-Brasil: acquisition of CCD detectors for the panoramic CCD camera of the Javalambre—physics of the accelerating Universe survey (No. 2009/54162-6); Grant Mechanism Multi-user Equipment Program; Principal investigator Laerte Sodré (USP); Investment $1,600,000.00 and R$912,000.00 (FAPESP).



INTERVIEW Thomas Lovejoy

Fifty years in the Amazon An American biologist heads a groundbreaking project that has helped to define forest conservation areas Maria Guimarães and Carlos Fioravanti  |  photo  Eduardo Cesar

Published in april 2015


homas Lovejoy looks equally at ease wearing clothing suitable for walking in the forest or jackets and bowties in a variety of print patterns. This versatility signifies a rare ability to move between the jungle where he does scientific research and the halls of government for environmental policy discussions. The American biologist has won several awards for his contributions to our understanding and defense of biodiversity. Lovejoy has also earned recognition from the scientific community for having created the expression “biological diversity,” a term now in common usage. “We were talking about biological diversity, but we did not have the term,” he noted. Yale-educated in biology, Lovejoy, a professor at George Mason University since 2010, went to the Amazon for the first time in 1965 to conduct his doctoral studies and never left. Working with researchers from the National Institute for Amazonian Research (INPA), he helped establish, and since the 1970s has headed, a large-scale experiment to study how forest fragments work and the effects of deforestation on animal and plant diversity (see Pesquisa FAPESP Issue No. 205). From its very beginnings, this work has guided the planning of conservation areas in the Amazon. Lovejoy has been an environmental affairs advisor for the World Bank, the Smithsonian Institute, and the Rea-

10 | special issue december 2016

gan, Bush and Clinton administrations, and he has served as Executive Vice President of the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and as a spokesman for the Brazilian government regarding the formulation of environmental policy. In his view, it is absolutely necessary to plan the management of the region in an integrated way by bringing cities, forests, transportation, energy and agriculture into the same equation. Dressed in a blue striped shirt and red bowtie during his interview with Pesquisa FAPESP—which was conducted via Skype from Washington, DC—Lovejoy expressed concern about the future of the Amazon and told us he has no plans to stop advocating for the region. What was it that drew you to the Amazon 50 years ago? I had an opportunity to go there in the summer of 1965 [the winter season in Brazil] to work at the Evandro Chagas Institute and in the forest outside Belém, and that’s when I decided I’d like to do my PhD in the Amazon. I’ve always been fascinated with biological diversity and had imagined having a life full of scientific adventures, and the Amazon was this incredible, tropical wilderness. It was like I had died and gone to heaven. It was sheer fascination, and I gradually began to move from just doing science to doing science and environmental conservation. The Amazon is one of the most important places to work in the world.

AGE 73 SPECIALTY Ecology EDUCATION Biology, Yale University (undergraduate and PhD) INSTITUTION Department of Environmental Science and Policy, George Mason University, United States SCIENTIFIC PRODUCTION 254 scientific articles and 8 books PESQUISA FAPESP | 11

I imagine there weren’t a lot of people working there at the time. The scientific community was really very small. In Belém, there was the Goeldi Museum, with a very distinguished history, and there was the Evandro Chagas Institute, a place for conducting research in epidemiology and health sciences. INPA had just been started in Manaus, but I didn’t have the opportunity to go there until 1976. Only two other people were working in forest ecology, the field in which I did my PhD; one in the Peruvian Amazon, the other in Venezuela. What was it like, getting settled there and finding your way? You make it up as you go, and everybody was very helpful, so I fell in love with Brazil right away. I was able to raise money for my fieldwork, and I was formally based at the Evandro Chagas Institute, which was very interested in ecology and natural history as it related to how different kinds of diseases work. I tried to do two theses at once: one on the ecology of the birds and the other on the epidemiology of arthropod-borne viruses. I had such a huge amount of data that I ended up doing the thesis just on the bird ecology and turned all the virus and epidemiology data over to the Belém virus laboratory. I was very lucky because I never contracted a very bad tropical disease. I had been working in an area where there is no malaria; not the most serious type anyway.

of a paper looking at forest fragmentation worldwide. The paper has about 25 authors who are taking part in habitat fragmentation projects. The oldest project is the one that I started 36 years ago. What was it like setting up the BDFFP in the 1970s? The easiest thing to do was to get agreement from INPA and the agricultural zone north of Manaus to collaborate. I obtained those agreements on the first day. The hard part was obtaining the money. To a large extent, the project took advantage of what was then the Forest Code because in those days, in the Amazon, you had to leave 50% of any project as forest. Today, the requirement is 80%, which makes sense because of

The Amazon was an incredible world. It was like I had died and gone to heaven

Did you ever find yourself lost in the jungle? Sometimes, but I always found my way. You don’t want to go more than five meters away from the trail because it’s very easy to get lost. The most important rule about working in the forest is to never go by yourself. At the Biological Dynamics of Forest Fragments Project (BDFFP) outside of Manaus, this is the basic rule: nobody goes into the forest alone. Incidentally, today [March 20, 2015] happens to be the day of publication, in a brandnew journal called Science Advances, 12 | special issue december 2016

the hydrological cycle. We worked with three adjacent fazendas before they had cut down a single tree. We helped them map their land, so they knew where the streams were and where the flat places were; it was a big advantage to the ranch owners, who were the ones who did the deforestation. The most difficult task was to get young Brazilian students to participate because, in those days, if you went to a university in the south of Brazil, you didn’t to consider going to the Amazon. We were getting flooded with students from Europe and the United States, but we knew that it was really important to get Brazilians. So we toured universities in southern Brazil, after which it became easier.

Had anyone at that time done any project like that, studying forest fragments? No. That was the first experiment. When I was living in Belém doing my PhD work, a book on the theory of island biogeography was published. Because the book examined the numbers of kinds of species on islands, people began to think, “Well, maybe habitat fragments are like islands.” The question arose as to what is the ideal size for a protected piece of forest: is it better to have a single large area or several small ones? By that point, I was working for the World Wildlife Fund, and I realized that for all these projects that were being sent to the board for approval, we didn’t know whether they would succeed until we understood the effects of habitat fragmentation. This was the impetus that led to the project. I thought I would let the project run for 20 years and get my answer; I had no idea about rates of change and I wasn’t paying attention to the value of long-term data sets, which are very rare worldwide. I hadn’t fully appreciated how important it would be in terms of capacity-building, and I also hadn’t envisioned that you could actually bring people to spend two or three nights in the forest, talk with students, and experience the forest and understand its importance, as well as understand biodiversity. For this reason, I am always trying to take interesting people there. You have brought some important researchers to the Amazon, which contributed to the formation of the scientific community around there. There were about 150 PhD and master’s degree students, at least half of whom were Brazilian. One of our graduates, Rita Mesquita from Belo Horizonte, was the first person in her family to attend university. Two days after she graduated, much to her father’s unhappiness, she accepted an invitation to do intern work on the project and then worked on her master’s degree and her PhD degree. At one point, she was in charge of conservation for the entire state of Amazonas. Her father is very proud. And now she is

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back in the Ecology Department at INPA. It is a wonderful thing to see students of different nationalities working together as if there were no national differences. What conclusion did you reach about the minimum desirable size for the reserves? By inference, you could imagine that large size is very important; a tapir, for example, needs a large area. So if the area is smaller than a tapir’s territory, it is not going to be successful. The way in which these fragments—which result from deforestation—lose species is quite dramatic. A paper in 2003, whose senior author was Gonçalo Ferraz from Portugal, now at the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul, showed that a 100-hectare fragment loses half of its bird species in less In the Amazon in the 1980s, with Mary O’Grady of the WWF than 15 years; these are birds that don’t like to go out into sunlight, so they are dependent on the mate Change Division. Minister Izabella resources in those 100 hectares. With Teixeira also has come up through the fragmentation, the forest is not sufficient professional ranks in science. to support them all. However, here is the unusual thing: the minute that that proj- Do you have a direct channel to talk ect was started, it influenced decisions to them? in Brazil about the creation of national We email each other. parks: every park that was created was very large. That was the time when Maria The BDFFP is the longest-running exTereza Jorge Pádua was in charge of the periment in tropical forests. Did you get national parks, and she was very interest- the answers that you expected? ed in what science had to say. She knew We got a simple answer to a simple questhat scientific knowledge needed to enter tion; that is, the minimum size at which into decision-making, and she just incor- forest areas should be maintained. Howporated it into the way she did things. ever, we also know that these fragments The same was true of Paulo Nogueira- will continue to change for hundreds Neto, the first secretary of SEMA [the of years. The small fragments change Special Secretariat for the Environment]. very rapidly; the larger fragments change more slowly and in a more complex way. More recently, do you find that govern- There is every reason for the work to ment authorities are open to listen to continue, and I am trying to set it up so that it doesn’t end with me. However, what science has to say? At the Ministry of the Environment, the we also started studying things that authorities are very interested in what we had not included in the initial plan. science has to say. They have world- One of these questions is the impact of class scientists heading big divisions, the matrix around the fragments. For like Roberto Cavalcanti, who leads the example, once the subsidies that had Biodiversity Division in the Ministry, supported cattle ranching were taken and Carlos Klinks, who leads the Cli- away, the ranches were abandoned, and

second growth came back. That began to change the isolation of the fragments. We began to study the vegetation succession in the surrounding areas. And now there is the effect of climate change. We don’t have a strong signal yet, but there does seem to be something going on. Do you now have a good understanding about what should be done with those fragments that are left behind and about how you reconstitute the forest there? In terms of the larger policy questions, the most obvious thing to do, whenever you can do it, is just to reconnect fragments so they become part of a larger system and don’t lose so much biodiversity. In general, I think we need much more fully integrated landscape planning and management. Wherever you go in the world, there are many moving parts that aren’t coordinated very well. Whether in the Amazon or parts of the United States, transportation decisions are made separately from energy decisions and agricultural decisions; we need to be thinking about these issues on a landscape scale. What are you doing now in the BDFFP? For the last 34 years, more or less, a team based in Manaus has been running the project, ensuring that the students get what they need. My job these days is to build an institution with enough financial flow such that the project can continue in perpetuity. There is a headquarters building on the INPA campus that we built with U.S. government funding. A Congressman liked the idea and gave us the money. That was good, because that way we did not have to ask INPA to construct the building for us; we have always been careful not to ask too much and to recognize that we are guests. Do you also teach? I only have to give one course each semester during the year, and the university is really happy for me to do what I do. One activity is institutionalizing the fragments project, and another is the PESQUISA FAPESP | 13

ongoing preoccupation with the future of the Amazon. For 30 years, I’ve worked on what’s called climate change biology— changes affecting nature. However, for the last several years, I’ve also worked on how nature can contribute to solving the problem of climate change. A project is currently underway to produce a map in time for the Paris Climate Conference; a global map of ecosystem restoration potential, to show biologically what you can do, which is probably to pull half a degree Celsius of climate change out of the atmosphere before it happens. How can that be done? Reforestation, restoring degraded grazing lands, agricultural systems that accumulate carbon and restoring coastal wetlands. The amount of excess CO² that has accumulated in the atmosphere resulting from recent centuries of ecosystem mistreatment is quite large, and when you restore these ecosystems, you regain all the benefits that they provide.

back and said, “You know, I think you were first.” The “biodiversity” contraction came later on, in 1987. A symposium was organized by the National Academy and the Smithsonian Institute, and the term was contracted for that symposium. The term is a bit technical, but I am told that the country with the highest recognition of the term is Brazil. You have worked for the WWF for many years. In your opinion, when and how should a scientist go beyond academia? There are some things that academia is not a great place for. I have tenure at the university where I teach now. If I had been at a university doing a long-term research project, I would never have achieved tenure because it takes a long

change happens. However, I’ve always done what I’ve been able to do in countries like Brazil in partnership. Every Christmas, I call up Paulo Nogueira-Neto, who is just about to turn 93, because he’s almost like a father. Within three sentences, he wants to talk about the environment. So you develop some real friendships in the process that completely transcend any national boundaries. Do you still get to go to the Amazon? Yes, I do! This is the thing that makes having a 50-year perspective so interesting. In 1965, there was only one highway in the entire Amazon—an area that’s equivalent to the 48 contiguous United States. This was the highway from Belém to Brasília, and people were talking in amazement about the spontaneous colonization happening along the highway. It was sort of a foreshadowing of everything to come. Now there are hundreds of thousands of roads and highways, and the Amazon is probably about 20% deforested; the saga is ongoing. But the positive side of the conservation ledger wasn’t as apparent to the public. In 1965, there was only one national park in the entire Amazon region, in Venezuela, and there was one national forest, which was in Brazil, in the Tapajós, and one demarcated indigenous area, which was that of the Xingu. Today, more than 50% of the Amazon is under some form of protection. It’s an extraordinary accomplishment that we never would have dreamed possible. However, the story is not over, right? We now know that the Amazon has to be managed as a system in a way that maintains its hydrological cycle, such that it continues as a rainforest, and the agricultural areas in Mato Grosso continue to get enough rain, and some rain gets distributed all the way to Argentina and São Paulo.

Every Christmas I call up Nogueira-Neto, who is just about to turn 93. Friendship transcends boundaries

In the 1980s, you introduced the term biological diversity. Were biologists just not thinking in those terms at the time? It is really interesting. In the 1960s, the theory of island biogeography was developed, and a lot of papers were written about species richness, but we did not have a collective term to refer to the variety of living creatures in nature. I can remember—probably around 1975 or 1976—the first time I met Ed Wilson [American biologist Edward Wilson]. We were having lunch together, and we were discussing biological diversity, but we did not have the term. We discussed where the World Wildlife Fund should be concentrated, and we both agreed that it should be in the tropics because there are more species there than in, say, Alaska. That was pure biodiversity. It is fascinating how people just started using the term. I used it in 1980, Ed Wilson used it more towards the end of that year—people just started using it. We did not even stop to think about where it came from. Only later, Elliot Norse went 14 | special issue december 2016

time to get the results. When you look at all the challenges out there—two billion more people and climate change— sometimes you could just close the door and never engage again. However, every day, I see really good things being done, which makes it easy to deal with the negative side of the agenda. As I like to say, optimism is the only option. However, working in a place like the WWF also requires a special talent to go from scientific knowledge to real policies. That is right. I think many more of them can do that than are doing it now. You have to be practical, but you also have to push the envelope because that is how

We still don’t know whether the current droughts are related to deforestation, but do you think the data point in that direction? I think there are two or three things going on at the same time. One is real cli-

Personal archives

mate change, and another is a reduction in the amount of moisture coming from the Amazon, which is probably both a function of normal climate fluctuations and because the Amazon is now 20% deforested. The science on this is imprecise; however, the situation is probably close to the tipping point at which the forest will change into a different form of vegetation, like the savannah vegetation in the southern and eastern part of the Amazon. And then, of course, there are the local deforestation issues in the São Paulo watersheds. There is some good news here: it’s perfectly possible to do some significant reforestation to repair that destruction and build back the margin of safety against Amazon dieback. In terms of global climate change, doing that kind of thing around the world is a very good way of reducing the amount of climate change. Not everybody agrees with this idea, but we see increasing recognition of the importance of the Amazonian hydrological cycle and the need to maintain it. On a global scale, the idea of restoring ecosystems and recapturing CO2 from the atmosphere is beginning to gain some real attention. If measures are not taken, could the Amazon be reaching the point of no return? Yes. We don’t know precisely where that point of deforestation is, but I think it’s somewhere close to the current level of deforestation. Nobody wants to find out precisely where this point is because then they have made the tipping point tip. Human beings are very good at using a resource right up to the limit, and then discovering that some other factor comes along which pushes them over the edge. In this case, it makes sense to back off and essentially play it safe. Have you been following the large hydroelectric projects in the Amazon? I have, and I think it’s important to develop a new plan for energy from the Amazon. Some of these projects, like the Madeira River dam, have been designed, as I am told, to take account of fish ecology, for example. However, other projects are based on older models. It’s time to rethink all of that and to think of ways to do it with less impact. Of course, the big problem in the Amazon is that when you build a road, you create the access

In the Amazon in the 1970s, when some areas of study for the BDFFP had already been isolated

that everybody was talking about when I first was there, around the Belém-Brasília Highway. It’s really difficult to build a dam without building roads, right? So there just needs to be a more integrated way of thinking about all of that. It could be very innovative. In Amazonian Peru, an oil and gas project called Camisea, which I had a lot to do with, was built and operates without any roads. How is that possible? The first company that was doing the exploration just said, “We’re not going to build roads.” So they brought everything in by air and up the river. The wellheads are connected by buried pipelines equipped with sensors, so if there’s a problem, you know exactly where the sensor is and you can go in a helicopter right to that spot. Could that lead be followed here? Certainly, because Urucu follows the same model as Camisea. Going back to what I said earlier, the Amazon has to be managed as a system, and that means very integrated planning and management. Currently, ecologists, environmentalists, universities and NGOs are working in the Amazon. How do you evaluate this? To start with, I think that the transformation is remarkable in terms of scientific capacity and civil society capacity. There is no question that Brazil is a major leader in those ways. And it’s not just the environment in the narrow sense.

The capacity of Embrapa in tropical agricultural research is among the best in the world. Therefore, the challenge here is how to fit all of these things together in a harmonious way. What do you envision for the future of the Amazon? My dream is that all countries of the Amazon will work together to manage the Amazon as a system and that there will be much more coordinated and integrated planning and management. It’s not simply about what happens in the forests; it’s also about what happens in cities. The quality of life in Amazon cities is a very important part of reaching the ideal solution. Does that mean organizing the development of the cities so you can have a good quality of life in concentrated areas without affecting the surroundings? Yes. The interesting example, of course, is Manaus, as an economic free zone with all the assembly plants and manufacturing that goes on there, such that the state of Amazonas itself has a very low rate of deforestation. Thinking about the entire Amazon requires thinking about the cities as well. Usually, the Green-minded people think about the forest, and the socially oriented people think about social problems in the cities, and they don’t put these issues together. We hope you have no plans to retire anytime soon. I will retire with my boots on. n PESQUISA FAPESP | 15

policy  Indicators y

Demonstrated support FAPESP has continued to invest in research despite the economic downturn, according to its 2014 Annual Activity Report Fabrício Marques


APESP invested R$1,153 billion in research funding in 2014, more than the R$1,103 billion in outlays it disbursed in 2013. This achievement is one of the highlights of the 2014 Annual Activity Report released at the Foundation’s headquarters on July 22, 2015, together with an exhibition of reproductions of the works by Brazilian artist Maria Bonomi that illustrate the publication. Foundation income totaled R$1,222 billion in 2014, which was 5% greater than 2013, in current prices. Of this total, 81.7% came from transfers from the São Paulo State Treasury — under the São Paulo State Constitution, FAPESP receives 1% of all state tax revenue. Other sources (agreements with other funding agencies, companies and higher education and research institutions in Brazil and abroad) accounted for 12.2%. The remaining 6.1% came from the Foundation’s own financial revenue. As stipulated in its statute,

16  z  special issue  december 2016

FAPESP must hold assets that produce income for investment in the funding of research to supplement the transfers received from the State Treasury. “Despite the economic slowdown and the resulting decrease in the state’s tax revenue in 2014, FAPESP was able to meet its commitments and fulfill its mission to support the development of research for the benefit of our state,” said FAPESP President Celso Lafer. The full text of the 2014 report and editions from previous years are available (in Portuguese)at: “Facilitating the visibility of its activities is essential to FAPESP, which is one of the few organizations in Brazil that offers taxpayers annual activity reports accessible by Internet, as FAPESP has done since its establishment in 1962,” said the Foundation’s Scientific Director, Carlos Henrique de Brito Cruz. In recent years, key modifications in the profile of FAPESP expen-

Maria Bonomi, Fronteiras (Details), 1964

Published in august 2015

Advances in investment Evolution of FAPESP funding disbursements in the 2009-2014 period (in R$), and the percentage share of each funding objective








38% 37%

9% 19% 10% 9%




679.525.814 54%











Biota-FAPESP Program; FAPESP Bioenergy Research Program (BIOEN); FAPESP Research Program on Global Climate Change (RPGCC); Research, Innovation and Dissemination Centers (RIDC); Inter-institutional Cooperation in Support Brain Research (CInAPCe); FAPESP Research Program on eScience (eScience); Grants and fellowships in the fields of engineering, health, agronomy and veterinary sciences; Public Education Research Program; Science Journalism (MídiaCiência); Public Policy Research Programs: Research in Public Policies and Research in Public Policies for the National Healthcare System (PP-SUS); Programs to support innovative research in micro and small businesses: Innovative Research in Small Businesses Program (PIPE), Small Business Research Programs (Phase 3 PIPE: PAPPE/FINEP); Research Partnership for Technological Innovation: Research Partnership for Technological Innovation (PITE), Research Partnership for Technological Innovation— SUS (PITE-SUS); Support to Intellectual Property Rights and Licensing (PAPI/NUPLITEC) SUPPORT FOR THE ADVANCEMENT OF KNOWLEDGE Regular Fellowships in Brazil: Undergraduate, Master’s, Doctorate, Fast-Track Doctorate and Post-Doctorate; Research Internships Abroad: Fellowships for Research Internships Abroad (BEPE); Regular Grants; Thematic Grants, subdivided as follows: Regular Research Grants, Thematic Projects – Pronex, and National Institutes of Science and

FUNDS DISBURSED IN 2014 By field of knowledge (%) 28,56

Health 15,87

Biology 10,44

Humanities and Social Sciences


Engineering Interdisciplinary Research




Earth Sciences


Astronomy and Space Science


Mathematics and Statistics

Support to Research Infrastructure; ANSP Network (Academic Network at São Paulo); Multi-User Equipment Program (EMU); Support for Research Book Acquisition (FAPlivros); Technical Reserve for Institutional Research Infrastructure; Technical Reserve for Connectivity to the ANSP Network; Technical Reserve for Program Coordination



Computer Science and Engineering



Agronomy and Veterinary Sciences

Technology (INCTs) Thematic Projects, the latter two under agreements signed by the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation (MCTI); Young Investigators Awards; São Paulo Excellence Chairs (SPEC); Human Resources Training for Research (Technical Training)

1,65 1,60

Architecture and Urban Planning


Economics and Business Administration


According to researcher institutional affiliation (%) 47,55

USP Unicamp

14,29 13,41

Unesp Federal institutions


State research institutions

5,43 4,45

Private education and research institutions Private companies


Professional societies and associations


Municipal institutions

0,09 pESQUISA FAPESP z  17


ditures include the establishment of Fellowships for Research Internships Abroad (BEPE), a program aimed at undergraduate, master’s and doctoral students along with post-doc researchers from São Paulo that promotes the internationalization of research by increasing outlays for fellowships abroad from less than 1% of the total to nearly 7%. Support to research infrastructure through the Technical Reserve for Institutional Research Infrastructure, a funding mechanism used, among other things, to refurbish laboratories, purchase equipment and organize technical courses to train individuals, has stood at 4% of total outlays. “In both cases, we are trying to make institutional changes in the São Paulo research system, on the one hand by promoting international experience and connections and on the other, through institutional planning,” said Brito Cruz. Projects submitted by researchers at the University of São Paulo (USP), the institution responsible for just over one-fifth of all Brazilian scientific production, received 47.55% of FAPESP disbursements in 2014. The University of Campinas (Unicamp) received 14.29% and São Paulo State University (Unesp) received 13.41%. Projects carried out at federal institutions of higher education and research in São Paulo, such as the Federal University of São Paulo (Unifesp) and the National Institute for Space Research, received 12.14% of the total outlays. Health sciences research, which has a large number of researchers and generates many fellowship and grant requests, received the highest proportion of total funding, equivalent to 28.56% (see table) followed by the biological sciences (15.8%), humanities and social sciences (10.4%), engineering (10.27%) and agronomy and veterinary sciences (8.2%). Giant Magellan Telescope

A highlight of 2014 was the increase in investments in astronomy and space science. The volume of funds disbursed in 2014 reached R$30.9 million, compared with R$7.9 million in 2013. This increased investment is best explained by the fact that FAPESP joined the international consortium responsible for the Giant Magellan Telescope (GMT), whose construction began in 2015 in 18  z  special issue  december 2016

FUNDS DISBURSED By funding line and selected programs – 2014

R$ 1000


Regular Fellowships



Fellowships in Brazil



Fellowships abroad



Regular Grants



Regular line of research award



Thematic projects



Special Programs



Programs to support research infrastructure



Young Investigators Awards






Research for Technological Innovation Programs



Research, Innovation and Dissemination Centers



Innovative Research in Small Businesses






the Chilean Andes. The GMT, which should be fully operational in 2021, will become the largest ground-based telescope in operation, promising to increase the research capacity of São Paulo’s astronomy community. “Investments in astronomy, especially in cutting-edge technology, are generally long-term and strategic in nature,” says astrophysicist João Steiner of USP’s Institute of Astronomy, Geophysics and Atmospheric Sciences, creator and coordinator of the project that set the stage for the GMT. “The decisions made today will have a profound impact on the next generation of São Paulo scientists. That is what we are investing in.” FAPESP will invest US$40 million, which is approximately 4% of the project’s total estimated cost. This investment will also ensure that São Paulo astrophysicists will be entitled to use 4% of the GMT’s operating time. That community represents one-third of all Brazil’s scientists and accounts for one-half of Brazil’s scientific output (see Pesquisa FAPESP Issue no. 231). The report shows the nature of the research investment made by the Foundation through the use of a variety of resources. When analyzed by funding objectives, 40.82% of funds targeted the advancement of knowledge whereas 51.77% went to support applicationdriven research and 7.4% went to the



Number of applications and awards of

Number of reports by field of study – 2014

fellowships in Brazil and abroad – 2014 Awards

Fellowships in Brazil










Agronomy and Veterinary Sciences





Fast-Track Doctorate






Fellowships abroad












imagens 1 Maria Bonomi, sapho i, 1987 2 Maria Bonomi, Hydra, v/a,v/b, v/v, 2003, “Vindas da medusa que me queimou“


Humanities and Social Sciences 2.631


2.307 2.273 909

Computer Science and Engineering




Economics and Business Administration


Mathematics and Statistics


Earth Sciences


Architecture and Urban Planning


Interdisciplinary Research Astronomy and Space Science

improvement of the research infrastructure available in the state of São Paulo (see table). The category whose objective is the advancement of knowledge includes projects that target the training of human resources and the promotion of academic research through a significant proportion of the fellowships, regular grants and thematic projects. Additional programs such as the Young Investigators Awards and the São Paulo Excellence Chairs (SPEC) aim to establish cooperation between institutions from the state of São Paulo and highly qualified researchers abroad. The category of grants and fellowships for application-driven research targets studies that clearly have the potential for application in socially and economically important areas, such as engineering, health, agronomy and veterinary sciences as well as programs such as Innovative Research in Small Business (PIPE) and Public Policy Research. A third objective, that of funding infrastructure, seeks, among other things, to refurbish and modernize university and research institute laboratories or to update libraries and archives, which indirectly results in the advancement of science. Another way to visualize FAPESP’s investments is to distinguish them by funding lines, which can be grouped




294 85

into three categories. The main category, receiving 78.61% of funds, is that of research grants, which responds to the spontaneous demands of researchers. It includes a variety of fellowship mechanisms, with investments at R$482.49 million, or 41.84% of the total, and regular grants and research projects at R$423.96 million, or 36.77% of the total. In 2014, the Foundation paid out, on average, R$11,197.4 in fellowships funds every month that were divided among fast-track doctorate (4,068), undergraduate (2,430), post-doctorate (1,937), master’s (1,910), technical training (697), Young Investigators (79.5), Innovative Research in Small Business (46.5), public education (20.5) and science journalism (7).

Special Programs

Also contracted in 2014 were 3,949 regular research grants. The number is slightly higher than in 2013 (3,844) but less than 2012 (4,292). Grants are divided among regular research project grants (1,544), participation in scientific or technological meetings abroad (963), organization of scientific or technological meetings (560), publications (346), visiting researchers from abroad (241), participation in scientific or technological meetings in Brazil (200), thematic projects (76) and visiting researchers from Brazil (19). A second category refers to special programs, which received 11.19% of total outlays, or R$129.06 million in 2014. These programs seek to promote research in vital areas and to bridge gaps in São Paulo State’s



20  z  special issue  december 2016

Maria Bonomi, “A Vênus da xilo“ – o Elogio da xilo, 1994

science and technology system and include several programs, such as Support to Research Infrastructure and Research in eScience. The third category consists of research for technological innovation programs such as the Biota-FAPESP program that studies biodiversity, the Bioenergy Research Program (BIOEN), the Research Program on Global Climate Change (RPGCC), and Research, Innovation and Dissemination Centers (RIDC). The report also presents data that depict the operation of the system evaluating the merits of the applications for fellowships and grants based on peer-review. Each funding request is examined by one or more researchers without formal ties to the Foundation but closely associated with the field of knowledge of the project under review. These advisors prepare reports about the quality of the projects that serve as additional information to support the decisions made The proportion of postdoctoral by the Foundation. In 2014, fellowships offered to researchers FAPESP received support from 7,566 advisors who isfrom other countries has increased sued 22,604 reports. Most of them (7,460 or 98.6% of the total) issued one to four reports, whereas 25 analyzed five or more projects. Most of the opportunity to train in leading research advisors are based in the state of São centers around the world. The United Paulo (19,524), but there are some con- States, France, England, Spain and Cantributions by researchers from the states ada were the most frequent destinations. Another outcome of the internationof Rio de Janeiro (538 consultants), Minas Gerais (376) and Rio Grande do alization effort in 2014 was the signing of 38 new cooperation agreements with Sul (262), among others. As a result of FAPESP’s internation- foreign research funding agencies and alization efforts in recent years, the pro- institutions of higher education and reportion of postdoctoral fellowships ex- search. Another 87 agreements signed tended to researchers from other coun- with 78 institutions from 18 countries tries has increased significantly. In 2014, were already in force. In 2014, FAPESP foreign researchers accounted for 17% maintained the series of symposia known of these fellowships, led by researchers as FAPESP Week, which has been sponin the physical sciences, earth sciences, sored since 2011 for the purpose of inbiology and the humanities. “This out- creasing the dissemination of Brazilian come is highly positive, as the presence science abroad and promoting coopof researchers and students of other na- eration with foreign research groups. tionalities in São Paulo necessarily fuels For the first time, China and Germany international collaboration in research hosted the events, which were also held projects and publications, thus raising on the campuses of the University of the visibility and impact of the science California at Berkeley and Davis in the conducted in this state,” said Celso Lafer. United States. A seminar also took place In 2014, the number of new research in- in Washington, DC, organized jointly ternships abroad totaled 984, providing by FAPESP and the U.S. Department of undergraduate and graduate students and Energy to discuss collaborative research postdoctoral fellows from FAPESP the on the Amazon. n


Wyss Institute

Microchip developed at the Wyss Institute at Harvard, which simulates the functioning of human lungs

With help from a computer Brazilian and foreign researchers discuss ways to reduce animal testing Bruno de Pierro Published in may 2015


he search for alternatives to the use of animals in clinical trials and product testing has intensified in the last decade. One of the best examples of this trend is the Tox 21 Program (21st Century Toxicology), which was jointly created by two U.S. federal agencies: the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Launched in 2008, Tox 21 uses mathematical and computer models in conjunction with genomics and robotics to study the structure and toxicity of a broad array of chemical compounds. The goal of the program is to understand the ways in which toxins affect organisms and to create methods that can be used to predict whether a potential pharmaceutical should be subject to clinical testing. By ruling out molecules that are dangerous to health, the animal testing of compounds previously classified as toxic can be avoided. In a two-year period, more than 10,000 substances were studied. The results are available in virtual form. “The success of the next phases of the program will depend on a stronger collaboration that should involve the phar-

maceutical companies,” says Raymond Tice from the National Institute of Environmental Health Science in the United States, one of the institutions involved in Tox 21. Tice participated in a workshop called Challenges and Perspectives in Research on Alternatives to Animal Testing, held at FAPESP in March, 2015. Tice believes that the animal testing paradigm does not account for the advances that would make the testing process safer and more precise. In the workshop, Eduardo Pagani, a drug development manager at the Brazilian Biosciences National Laboratory (LNBio), showed how computer models can compare the structure of a candidate molecule with those of other molecules that have already been tested and determine whether it is worth developing this candidate molecule. The LNBio, which is working in this area, is looking for partnerships, for example, with groups that have mastered the technology known as organs-on-a-chip. This technique is currently studied in the United States and Germany and uses cells to grow human tissues. These cells have microchips added and can, therefore, mimic the function of live human organs. “We want to work in the area of tissue mimicry,” Pagani says. The researchers who participated in the workshop brought new perspectives on the use of animal models in research. These models demonstrate similarities with humans only 60% of the time, according to Thomas Hartung from the Center for Alternatives to Animal Test-

ing at Johns Hopkins University Hospital in the United States. Hartung cited the example of aspirin. Although it has been proven safe for humans, it would have been rejected in animal testing because it leads to fetal deformities in certain cases. “We are trying to show the importance and limitations of using alternative models, as well as the need for a sensible experimental plan, for Brazilian researchers,” said Lorena Gaspar Cordeiro, a professor at the Ribeirão Preto School of Pharmaceutical Sciences of the University of São Paulo (USP), one of the event’s organizers. Some of the methods presented in the workshop are aimed at finding alternatives to the use of mammals, such as the zebrafish, known in Brazil as the peixe paulistinha, and the larvae of the Galleria mellonella insect (see Pesquisa FAPESP Issue No. 220). “Approximately 75% of the 26,000 genes of the zebrafish are similar to human genes,” says geneticist Cláudia Maurer-Morelli from the University of Campinas (Unicamp). Likewise, the Galleria larva has immunological mechanisms similar to those of mammals. “The larva’s cuticle acts like skin. When it is injected with a toxic substance, it reacts and turns darker,” explains Maria José Giannini, a professor at the Araraquara School of Pharmaceutical Sciences of São Paulo State University (Unesp). “Brazil wants to join the path of the United States and European countries,” says Giannini, who coordinated the workshop. n pESQUISA FAPESP  z  21

From humans to plants Unicamp uses an open innovation model to create a research center to study enzymes found in human and plant cells Published in april 2015


he University of Campinas (Unicamp) has announced the establishment of a new basic research center for the study of kinases, a group of enzymes responsible for regulating metabolic processes in human and plant cells that have potential applications for drug development. In addition to advances in this field, the Protein Kinase Chemical Biology Center intends to learn about plant biology by leveraging knowledge and technology in partnership with the pharmaceutical industry. One goal is to improve the drought resistance of essential agricultural crops. The research center, where activities are scheduled to start in June 2015, is part of the Structural Genomics Consortium (SGC), a public-private partnership created in 1999. The SGC has partnerships with more than 10 pharmaceutical companies and research support agencies, as well as scientists in research centers at Oxford University (UK) and the University of Toronto (Canada). The consortium embraces open science and open innovation models, which 22  z  special issue  december 2016

guarantee that research results will be freely shared. This system also provides open access to molecules, methods, and techniques, enabling researchers from other pharmaceutical institutions and laboratories to develop new products. Most importantly, this system enables them to share solutions that can reduce the time and costs involved in research. The agreement that sealed the partnership was signed in March 2015 at FAPESP headquarters in São Paulo. This agreement calls for FAPESP to invest $4.3 million through its Research Partnership for Technological Innovation Program (PITE). Unicamp will invest an additional $1.9 million, and the SGC will contribute $1.3 million. At the signing ceremony for the cooperative agreement, FAPESP Scientific Director Carlos Henrique de Brito Cruz said that the initiative will encourage research that could have a great impact on society. “It offers an opportunity to fund research that will lead to results with major intellectual, social and economic impact. It also creates international col-

laboration opportunities for researchers in São Paulo. Last, but not least, it creates an opportunity for researchers in São Paulo to partner with business enterprises,” said Brito Cruz. With the new research center in the city of Campinas (state of São Paulo), the SGC will have more than 230 affiliated researchers at its three units, which maintain partnerships with more than 300 research groups in more than 40 countries in addition to large pharmaceutical laboratories including GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), Pfizer, Bayer, and Novartis. According to SGC founder and CEO Aled Edwards, the Human Genome Project “revealed the existence of more than 500 types of kinase, but so far, only about 40 have been studied in depth.” According to Edwards, the problem is that figuring out how a kinase works is a lengthy process. “The best way to find out how a kinase works is to invent a chemical probe, a small molecule capable of binding specifically to a target enzyme and inhibiting its activity. You inject it into an animal and see what happens. However, it takes from 18 months to two years to develop each of these chemical probes, and the cost is very high,” he says. The study of kinases is just one example of costly research. In the past decade, researchers affiliated with the SGC have successfully described the structures of more than 1,200 proteins that could improve existing treatments for cancer, diabetes, obesity, and psychiatric disorders. However, the estimated cost of the necessary research to investigate each protein is approximately $1 million. To share the costs and the risks, the consortium adopted an open science model. FAPESP President Celso Lafer underscored that this strategy may also help speed up the search for new medications to treat cancer and Alzheimer's disease. “By dividing tasks among universities and companies, we will make a grand collective effort to advance knowledge,” he said. Bill Zuercher, a representative of GSK—one of the companies that in-

Photo eduardo cesar  Protein models Structural Genomics Consortium (SGC)

Cooperation y

Corn plantation in the city of Serrinha dos Pintos, state of Rio Grande do Norte: the development of drought-resistant crops will be among the goals of the new research center at Unicamp

a coordinator of the research center in Brazil, few research groups currently conduct this type of research. “There is something at the Max Planck Institute in Germany and at the University of California in the United States. But the current amount of knowledge about plant kinases is less than 1% of what is known about kinases in humans,” he said. According to Arruda, another positive feature of the open innovation model is that it will put biomedical and plant biology researchers “under the same roof.” He says that the usual practice of creating new drugs based on plant extracts will not be the primary goal in this case. Instead, techniques that were specifically developed to study human kinases will be used to investigate problems in plant biology. Water shortages

vested in the consortium—said that the study of approximately 500 human kinases currently depends on collaborative work between companies and research centers. “In our case, the closed, individual research model leads to a waste of resources. Dividing up the different stages of research reduces the risk of failure in the new drug development pro-

cess,” he said. Currently, approximately 96% of molecules for potential drugs fail at the clinical trial stage, which means that they never make it to the market. The Brazilian arm of the SGC will be the only member of the consortium to study kinases in plants. According to Paulo Arruda, a professor of genetics at Unicamp's Institute of Biology and

One of these problems in plant biology is a lack of knowledge on plant responses to water stress. “As a result of climate change, over the next 30 years water shortages may compromise the supply of food. We need to understand how plants behave when water is scarce,” says Arruda. The idea is to study the mechanism by which plants respond to drought and high temperatures. “These plants have receptors in their cell membranes that modify cell metabolism, helping the plant deal with water stress. And this process involves kinases,” he explains. According to Arruda, knowing how this process happens will permit the development of molecules that can activate the kinases of drought-sensitive plants. He says that some Brazilian researchers are interested in collaborating in this field of study. The research center will partner with Unicamp's Institute of Biology and with research groups at the University of São Paulo (USP) and the Federal University of Viçosa, in the state of Minas Gerais. “We want to form an extensive network in Brazil, with the goal of advancing in a field that has few precedents anywhere in the world,” concludes Arruda. n Bruno de Pierro pESQUISA FAPESP z  23

science  infectology y

A villain with many faces Fighting dengue now and in the coming years requires a combination of old and new strategies Text 

Maria Guimarães and Pablo Nogueira


Léo Ramos

Published in june 2015


t was not the beach that attracted Paolo Zanotto and Julian Villabona-Arenas to the city of Guarujá along the southern coast of São Paulo State in the summer of 2012-2013. Zanotto, a virologist at the Institute of Biomedical Sciences of the University of São Paulo (ICB-USP), and Villabona-Arenas, a PhD student, were monitoring cases of dengue and analyzing the genetics of the virus to reconstruct a grid of how it spreads throughout the population. Guarujá was selected for its proximity to the São Paulo metropolitan area. Their analysis showed that two neighborhoods, Pae Cará and Enseada, were the main focal points of the disease, from which it then moved to other parts of the city. The work of the researchers caught the attention of an employee of the local health surveillance department, who realized the value of knowing where the cases with active virus were, and she summoned a fumigation unit to conduct the so-called “fogging” to kill the mosquitoes in these locations. “They went right to the head of the dragon 24  z special issue  december 2016

and shot it,” says Zanotto. Thereafter, the maps showed a situation that was much easier to control, with only a few cases. “That’s what needs to be done in every city,” he said, while also noting the need to combine it with vaccines and other forms of control to combat the mosquito that transmits the disease. The work of Zanotto’s group has been identifying ways to combat dengue and underscoring the increased risk of epidemics. One reason for the alarm is the presence of the four serotypes of the virus they observed in Guarujá that summer, as shown in a 2014 article in PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases. Its proximity to the port of Santos, where mosquitoes and viruses can disembark as stowaway passengers, most likely has an impact. In Jundiaí, which is very close to the São Paulo metropolitan region, the researchers found only serotypes 1 and 4, but this is hardly a relief. Together, the two municipalities have shown that the São Paulo state capital is subject to multiple viruses, creating a situation known as hyperen-

Aedes aegypti larvae developing in the laboratory to form a transgenic line

demicity, which increases the risk of a person being infected several times and increases the risk of hemorrhagic-type cases. “The presence of the four serotypes in an outbreak in one of Brazil’s most densely populated areas is a disturbing finding,” said Villabona-Arenas. “For many years this co-circulation had been documented only in countries of southwest Asia and more recently in India; it is always associated with greater disease severity among children.” Indeed, the latest figures offer no reason to relax, although the immediate fear of the Aedes aegypti mosquito, which transmits the disease, begins to recede with the arrival of cold and drought, which do not favor larval development. The Southeast region was the stage for 66% of the nearly 746,000 cases recorded by the Ministry of Health in all of Brazil from early 2015 to April 18, 2015. The number of cases was smaller than that recorded in 2013 but much larger than that in 2014. This total number represents different degrees of severity—some

people barely feel any symptoms, whereas others experience high and persistent fever and spend long days prostrate with intense body aches and nausea, which makes it impossible to follow the prescription to drink plenty of fluids. During this period, 414 serious cases were confirmed and 5,771 cases showed warning signs; these categories require medical attention. In 2015, far more cases were reported than in the previous year, with a high proportion in the state of São Paulo. Severity factors of the disease include liver damage and an alarming drop in the concentration of platelets in the blood, which can transform microscopic lesions into a hemorrhage. Zanotto believes that the numbers and the occurrence of hyperendemicity indicate an alarming progression of the disease. “Dengue fever is just beginning in Brazil,” he stated based on a chart of the number of cases since 1995, which predicts a sharp escalation from now on. In his opinion, efforts to combat epidemics of the disease must become more effective. pESQUISA FAPESP z  25

The green glow on the head and tail of the larvae is the marker indicating genetically modified insects

“We should emulate the fire department, which acts on small fires, aiming to contain them before they spread and get out of control.” Zanotto’s studies in cities such as Guarujá, Jundiaí and São José do Rio Preto are reporting dengue outbreaks in areas that have the lowest socioeconomic indicators. However, concentrating efforts in the slums is not enough according to a study performed by biologist Ricardo Vieira Araujo, who is currently a specialist with the Global Climate Change Coordination unit of the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation (MCTI) and that was published in 2015 in the Brazilian Journal of Infectious Diseases. He showed that parts of the city of São Paulo with a “Dengue significantly higher surface soil temfever is just perature, low humidity, little vegetation coverage, and low levels of soil beginning in permeability—heat islands—have a higher incidence of dengue. Brazil,” says From 2009 to 2013, Araujo worked at the Health Surveillance CoordiZanotto nation unit of São Paulo, monitoring vector-borne and zoonotic diseases in the city. “I wondered why a slum in the south recorded so many cases, while in another community in the north, for example, with similar characteristics, the numbers were much lower,” he said. In the same period, the city’s Department of the Environment concluded mapping the surface soil temperature, which pointed toward heat islands in the capital. “But many researchers thought the islands themselves would be in regions with the lowest socio-economic indicators, and a higher population density. So perhaps the cause was not related to temperature, but instead to the social and demographic conditions.” 26  z special issue  december 2016

To distinguish among the factors, more than one set of data was necessary. The 2010 census by the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics (IBGE) made it possible to calculate population, population density, average income and the predominant form of urban occupancy in the 96 administrative districts of São Paulo. The data also indicated where there were favelas, occupancies and tenements. Using satellite imagery, it was possible to analyze the vegetation cover and to create a map with the average surface temperatures of the entire city. Records of indigenous dengue cases came from the Health Surveillance Coordination unit, which recorded approximately 7,400 cases from 2010 to 2011. Combining the information showed that 93% of the cases occurred where the average surface temperature was more than 28 degrees Celsius. In areas with greater vegetation coverage, the number of cases per 100,000 inhabitants was only 3.2 compared with 72.3 in less wooded areas. In all, the type of occupancy appears to have less of an influence on the incidence of dengue than the temperature during the analyzed period. The study also included a laboratory experiment with two lines of A. aegypti: one line routinely used by researchers and another obtained from eggs collected on the campus of USP. The influence of temperature became quite clear: when it reached 32°C, more than 90% of the insect larvae became adults. Araujo cautions that the maps of heat islands are not static and that these data require frequent updating. Nevertheless, he believes that it is important for health and urban infrastructure professionals to act together in an integrated manner. “Increasing the number of green areas is one approach. But it is worth remembering other alternatives, such as those adopted in villages along the Mediterranean coast, where houses are painted white as a way to lessen the heat. We need to use the resources we have to fight dengue in a strategic and integrated manner,” he said. WINGED VIRUS

One of the existing resources in the fight against mosquitoes is the use of insecticides, as was the case in Guarujá. However, because insecticides are the most frequently used strategy, A. aegypti has developed a resistance to the most common types, which are based on pyrethroids. A. aegypti are undeterred by most repellents and will continue to hang around, with their nervous flight,

The structure of an epidemic Genetic analysis of the virus led to mapping of the dengue transmission network in Guarujá in 2012-2013

Before Bertioga




Source  paolo zanotto

Atlantic Ocean Older Newer

By detecting the NS1 protein,

n Pae Cará


which indicates Infographic ana paula campos  Illustration daniel bueno

n Enseada


an active virus, it was possible to


identify the main sources of the disease in the city. Fumigating these

Guarujá Santos

neighborhoods, Enseada and Pae Cará, was the key to weakening the outbreak

feasting on their victims. While pursuing her doctorate at São Paulo State University (Unesp) in Botucatu, biologist Maria de Lourdes Macoris monitored a number of mosquito populations in São Paulo State and found that their resistance remained intact even after 15 years without pyrethroids. “The use of insecticides targeted resistant populations,” says biologist Paulo Ribolla, supervisor to Macoris. “Some municipalities are already using other products with greater success.” In his laboratory, he is now implementing technology to produce mutant mosquitoes and to investigate which genes are responsible for the resistance. In the evolutionary race with mosquitoes, it is necessary to seek new insecticides that are effective and act comprehensively where they breed. Since 2007, this has been the goal of the research group coordinated by Eduardo José de Arruda, a chemical engineer at the Federal University of Grande Dourados (UFGD) in the central-western state of Mato Grosso do Sul. “We conducted a survey of the A. aegypti and the Culex quinquefasciatus mosquitoes, and we

Atlantic Ocean

found that the insects were already resistant to some classes of insecticide,” says Arruda. “We could kill all the adults of a generation, but the eggs left in the breeding areas, despite the loss of viability, could still hatch and replenish the population in a matter of months.” “Classes of insecticides to which resistance has developed should no longer be used to control the mosquitoes,” says Arruda, who underscores the economic and environmental costs of the increased amount of insecticides required. The group he coordinates, along with partners from other universities, is looking to synthesize and classify multifunctional compounds that prevent the eggs from hatching and kill the larvae. These compounds also destroy the bacteria, fungi and protozoa that constitute the mosquito diet and can interfere with the chemical communication that attracts the females to the breeding areas where they deposit their eggs. The idea is to find strategies to control two or three insect generations simultaneously and break their reproductive cycles. pESQUISA FAPESP z  27

Transgenic mosquitoes have been proven effective in controlling wild populations EM EN IMPL



The Moscamed factory

Wild females

Mating produces

in Bahia produces

mate with

larvae that

mosquitoes with


never reach

genetic alterations and



selects males

Because they are more comprehensive, multifunctional compounds require special care. For a Master’s degree at UFGD, Taline Catelan examined the effects of four phenolic insecticides on the eggs of A. aegypti and Artemia salina, a small crustacean that lives in the water. “A. salina serves as an indicator of potential damage to water sources,” says Arruda. The study, published in 2015 in Advances in Infectious Diseases, showed that one of the compounds completely prevented the hatching of the mosquito eggs, but it also affected the Artemia populations. More promising still are the results of studies with metallo-insecticides, which contain copper or iron. The compounds unleash an oxidative stress reaction that can cause lethal damage to cells and tissues. “It’s as if we used a Trojan horse to carry the compound inside the cells, and the active metabolism of the insect produces the pesticide in situ,” says Arruda. SLEEPING WITH THE ENEMY




The production

Females store the

Mating does

of males with

sterile seminal fluid

not produce

defective sperm is being perfected at the ICB-USP


At an early stage

Another genetic manipulation should produce lines that These now-sterile males will be used

super mosquito In the second stage, the ideal mosquito will be inserted into the mosquito population capable of destroying viruses in their digestive system Source  margareth capurro/icb-usp

28  z special issue  december 2016

generate only males, increasing the factory’s productivity


Given the uncertainty surrounding the effectiveness of insecticides, other weapons must be found. Margareth Capurro is a biochemist whose laboratory at ICB-USP focuses directly on small insects with striped legs in an unusual way, by producing thousands and thousands of them to release into the environment. “I have become a global consultant on the mass production of mosquitoes,” she says, and during the preparation of this report, she traveled to China to do just that. At a factory located in Juazeiro, in the state of Bahia, Capurro worked with Moscamed Brasil to implement production of a line developed by the British company Oxford Insect Technologies (Oxitec). These genetically altered mosquitoes accumulate a protein that makes the larval cells collapse, and the larvae never reach adulthood (see Pesquisa FAPESP Issue No. 180). Last year, her team published a video in the Journal of Visualized Experiments showing the production process, including the laborious task of separating male and female pupae by size (females are larger). This separation is necessary because only males, which neither bite nor carry the virus, are released into the wild to mate with wild females, which then produce modified and unviable offspring. To achieve this production, all the infrastructure and logistics were provided by Moscamed. The company also signed partnership agreements with the Ministry of Health and the Bahia State Health Department, which have helped fund the initiative. At first, the team had to enlist journalists to assist in communicating with the local population. “We could not arrive in the city and just start releasing mosquitoes,” says Capurro. “We went into people’s homes to

Infographic  ana paula campos  Illustration  daniel bueno

Production for elimination

talk to them and explain the project; we used radio, television, and local media.” However, just because this production exists does not mean the research ends. The Oxitec mosquitoes continue to be tested in the laboratory to see how the dengue virus behaves in the host. With this knowledge, returning to the field is a continuous process. “In a small pot everything works, but in the environment, does the altered mosquito fly as much as the wild one?” Capurro asks. She already knows that it can fly. Another problem is to produce males that are compatible with the female population of the Bahia scrublands. In the laboratory the males grow too much, as would any animal that is fed as much as it wants and does not exercise. It was necessary to find the right number of larvae to be developed in a given volume of water and the right amount of food to give them. In Bahia State, tests in Juazeiro (until 2013) and in Jacobina (beginning in 2013) have shown that the system works, despite some setbacks. “The mating frequency is lower, so we have to increase the number of mosquitoes.” The release has to be constant but with weekly adjustments to the insect population. With the transgenics, the number of mosquitos decreased in every city. However, Capurro cautions that efforts to search for breeding areas must be maintained. The partnership with health officials indicated the need to improve procedures. “They found breeding areas with larvae and had no way of knowing whether or not they were viable,” says Capurro. The solution was to invest in developing sterile males in the laboratory. Because the female mates just once in her lifetime and stores seminal fluid, a single mating with a sterile male is enough for her to be unable to produce offspring. However, this transgenic line is not yet where it needs to be, with a sterility rate between

30% and 40%. Controlled mating takes more time to reach the final product, according to Capurro. Another genetic manipulation “If we only under development aims to prereduce the vent the birth of females, a process called sex reversal that produces mosquito an entirely male line. This would increase the factory’s productivpopulation, the ity because currently 50% of the larvae are female, and some larvae disease may are lost during the pupae separastrike again,” tion process. “We lose between 15% and 25% of the males,” says says Capurro Capurro. If both the sterile and sex reversal transgenics work, it is not just the productivity that will improve. Currently, male larvae must be shipped in refrigerated cars to Jacobina. If indeed only 1 males are to be produced, then the larvae can be sent by mail on sheets of paper with the eggs attached. The results are promising but may not be enough. “If we eliminate mosquitoes, dengue ends; if we only reduce the population, the disease may strike again after a few years,” explains Capurro. This is what occurred in Singapore in the early 2000s. With a reduced number of mosquitoes, the proportion of infected insects increases. Because human resistance also decreases without exposure to the virus, the risk is of a strong resurgence and an epidemic. Thus, Capurro and PhD student Danilo Carvalho are proposing to fight mosquitoes in two phases, as explained in a 2014 article in Acta Tropica. The project would be conducted as folOnce aligned, lows: after reducing the population using sterile the eggs receive males, a second line would be released, which is injections that induce currently under study in the laboratory; this line genetic modifications


Searching for a vaccine


The immunological battle to combat the dengue virus requires two fronts

Nonstructural proteins

Structural proteins


Human Cell

STRUCTURE The structural proteins form the


MULTIPLICATION In the cells of the infected

envelope that surrounds the virus,

person, the virus uses the

whereas the non-structural

machinery of the nucleus

proteins are responsible for

to replicate its DNA and

replication and other functions

produce new viral particles

would carry a mutation allowing the mosquito to recognize the cells of its own digestive system; the virus inside the cells would replicate and destroy those very cells. INTERNAL BATTLE

Regardless of how much one fights mosquitoes, the disease will not be easily eradicated and requires help from the immune system. A vaccine has been touted as imminent, but it is unlikely to be available immediately. The most imminent vaccine is that produced by the French laboratory Sanofi Pasteur, which is awaiting approval by the Brazilian Health Surveillance Agency (Anvisa) and is expected to enter the Brazilian market in 2016. However, Luís Carlos de Souza Ferreira, a microbiologist at ICB-USP, remains unconvinced of its efficacy. He says that this vaccine is based on the yellow fever virus. Only part of the genome responsible for the structural proteins belongs to the dengue virus. “It was believed that this was enough because antibodies recognize an invader on the basis of these proteins,” he says. However, his group and others have shown that, in the case of dengue, when levels of these antibodies are low or when they are less efficient, the remaining viruses are carried to the cells where they replicate. Destroying these cells is the task of the T lymphocytes, and their main target is other proteins of the virus – the non-structural ones. “Our research has 30  z special issue  december 2016

shown that the T-lymphocyte response is important in dengue,” he says. According to Ferreira, this does not occur in the vaccine produced by Sanofi Pasteur. One of Ferreira’s lines of research is indeed to produce a vaccine based on one of these proteins, the NS1. Famous for being the marker indicating that a person suffering from body aches is infected with the dengue virus, the protein has been shown to be a good target, as reported in a 2014 review article in Virus Research. “We produce the NS1 in bacteria and purify it for use as a vaccine component,” says Jaime Henrique Amorim, a postdoctoral researcher and lead author of the paper. “We achieved 50% protection in tests on mice; it is a promising formulation, although still far from becoming a product for use in humans.” Aside from this more applied aspect, the studies conducted in the laboratory have another dimension: to understand the immune response pattern. This focus can assess and guide the development of other vaccines and has led Ferreira and Amorim to believe that the vaccine now in clinical trials at the Butantan Institute is the most promising. “Studies carried out in the United States have shown that this vaccine, based on weakened forms of the four types of dengue virus, provokes a response similar to that of people who have been infected and were able to neutralize the virus,” says Amorim.

source  jaime amorim/icb-usp

Infographic  ana paula campos  Illustration  daniel bueno


T lymphocytes



THE FIGHT The antibodies block viruses based on envelope proteins, and the T lymphocytes recognize non-structural proteins in the infected cells, which destroy—an effective vaccine must induce the two functions

Produced in Brazil, the vaccine was developed in the United States at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). “We are currently finalizing the Phase 2 clinical trial,” says Dr. Alexander Precioso, director of the Special Laboratory for Clinical Trials and Pharmacovigilance at the Butantan Institute. He hopes to have all the results collected, analyzed and released by late June 2015. According to Dr. Precioso, 300 people have been tested, which shows that the vaccine is safe. These results led the Institute to ask ANVISA for authorization to commence Phase 3, even before all the data had been collected from Phase 2. “We need to start as soon as possible to recruit volunteers to get vaccinated before the next dengue season begins,” says Dr. Precioso. If all goes well, volunteers could be vaccinated as soon as Phase 2 is complete. This schedule would allow the immune response to the vaccine to be tested next summer, the season when dengue outbreaks occur in several regions of Brazil. It depends on being able to recruit volunteers, which should include at least 17,000 people from across the country, and on being able to evaluate the characteristics of the next outbreak and how those who are immunized respond. The Butantan plan includes registration of the vaccine as soon as efficacy data have been demonstrated and monitoring participants for at least five years to assess the durability of the immune response and to determine the need and frequency of vaccine boosters.

There appears to be a consensus: there is no single solution in terms of strategy or geography. In cities such as Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo, the highest incidence occurs in summer, when there is more rain and the temperature is high. However, in the Northeast, the drought causes the disease to affect more people, when long periods without rain lead the poorest residents to store all the water they can, providing breeding areas for A. aegypti. Health authorities must therefore assess each city to establish strategies to combat the disease. Either way, the action must be multifaceted, with vaccines and other means to combat mosquitoes of various types. Paolo Zanotto argues that data should be collected redundantly to maximize the efficacy of interventions, with action by governments, universities and the private sector. The integration and dissemination of independently validated information is what could lead to concerted action to prevent epidemics and what drives the intervention to save resources. If areas at risk were well known, it would not be necessary, for example, to vaccinate the entire population, says Zanotto. “What I do would have greater impact if there were effective institutional interaction. It’s time to think differently and act in a coordinated manner: without overlap there will be gaps.” n

Projects 1. Improvement and evaluation of Aedes aegypti transgenic lines to control dengue transmission (No. 2013/19921-9); Grant mechanism Regular Research Grant; Principal investigator Margareth Capurro Guimarães (ICB-USP); Investment R$310,817.00 (FAPESP). 2. Dengue: production of experimental lots of a candidate tetravalent vaccine against dengue (No. 2008/50029-7); Grant mechanism Research in Public Policies for the National Health System (SUS); Principal investigator Isaias Raw (Butantan Institute); Investment R$ 1,926,149.72 (FAPESP/CNPq-PPSUS). 3. Phylogeography of the dengue virus in the cities of Jundiaí and Guarujá in São Paulo State (No. 2010/19059-7); Grant mechanism Regular Research Grant; Principal investigator Paolo Marinho de Andrade Zanotto (ICB-USP); Investment R$229,608.82 (FAPESP). 4. Vaccine approaches to the control of dengue fever based on recombinant proteins and microbial-derived adjuvants (No. 2011/51761-6); Grant mechanism Regular Research Grant; Principal investigator Luís Carlos de Souza Ferreira (ICB-USP); Investment R$813,542.17 (FAPESP).

Scientific articles AMORIM, J.H. et al. The dengue virus non-structural 1 protein: Risks and benefits. Virus Research, V. 181, p. 53-60. March 6, 2014. ARAUJO, R.V. et al. São Paulo urban heat islands have a higher incidence of dengue than other urban areas. The Brazilian Journal of Infectious Diseases, V. 19, No. 2, p. 146-55. March-April, 2015. CATELAN, T.B.S. et al. Evaluation of toxicity of phenolic compounds using Aedes aegypti (Diptera: Culicidae) and Artemia salina. Advances in Infectious Diseases, V. 5, No. 1, p. 48-56. February 28, 2015. CARVALHO, D.O. et al. Two male step release strategy using transgenic mosquito lines to control transmission of vector-borne diseases. Acta Tropica, V. 132 Supplement, p. S170-7. April 2014. MACORIS, M.L.G. et al. Impact of insecticide resistance on the field control of Aedes aegypti in the State of São Paulo. Journal of the Brazilian Society of Tropical Medicine, V. 47, No. 5, p. 573-8. September-October 2014. VILLABONA-ARENAS, C.J. et al. Detection of four dengue serotypes suggests rise in hyperendemicity in urban centers of Brazil. PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases. February 27, 2014.


Genetics y

Attack in the Dark of Night


kin pigment, known as melanin, can fragment and form highly reactive chemical compounds when impacted by sunlight. According to a study involving Brazilian researchers published in the February 20, 2015, edition of Science, these compounds can damage the structure of the DNA molecule, which sits in the cell’s nucleus, leading to skin cancer. The study says the attack on DNA can continue for more than three hours after direct exposure to sunlight, a sign of yet another limitation of sunscreens applied to protect the skin against the damaging effects of sunlight’s ultraviolet radiation. “Sunscreen is not going to completely prevent DNA damage, which continues even after sun exposure,” according to chemist Etelvino Bechara, a senior professor at the University of São Paulo (USP), one of the authors of the study and the researcher responsible for several related thematic projects funded by FAPESP on the impact of free radicals. This study is also connected to the National Institute of Science and Technology (INCT) for Redox Processes in Biomedicine, coordinated by Ohara Augusto of the USP Chemistry Institute, with the support of FAPESP and the federal government. Based on the research findings, Bechara recommends even more caution with artificial tanning and notes the urgent need for lotion formulas that can prevent the formation of compounds harmful to DNA even after sun exposure. The study suggests that one approach to reducing this type of damage is the use of sorbic acid, a food additive. However, its effectiveness, dose and method of application 32  z  special issue  december 2016

Melanin fragments formed hours after sun exposure may damage DNA and cause skin cancer Carlos Fioravanti Published in march 2015

have not yet been determined. Another possible way to minimize sun damage, aside from using ultraviolet radiation filters, would be to use Vitamin E, which is already in some cosmetics. In early 2012, Bechara received an email from Douglas Brash at Yale University requesting his collaboration in finding a solution to problems related to DNA damage in melanocytes, the cells that produce melanin. The damage was associated with the onset of melanoma, an aggressive form of skin cancer. Because of doubts he had, and the subject itself was related to the work of Camila Mano, who’s PhD he was supervising at USP’s Chemistry Institute, he asked Mano to participate in the study, and soon after, to travel to Yale. Mano, who co-authored the article published in Science, left Brazil in late 2012 and stayed almost six months, returning in February 2013. Her first task was to familiarize herself with the problem they had been unable to solve.

“They saw changes in DNA that appeared to have been caused by the sun’s radiation, but which happened after sun exposure,” says Mano. After clarifying her understanding of the problem, she learned how to work with mouse cells and began experiments that might lead to an answer. The initial testing was unsuccessful, but soon she concluded that melanin itself might be causing the changes in DNA. Quality Control

Under normal conditions, the sun’s ultraviolet radiation forms so-called dimers (chemical compounds consisting of two units) of thymine and cytosine, which are two of DNA’s basic components, in melanin-producing cells. The dimers can change how DNA works when the cell multiplies. Luckily, there is a rigorous quality control process that undoes part of the dimers. During DNA replication, some proteins – repair enzymes – verify whether the copy matches the

Montage with photo  eduardo cesar  Illustration  sírio cançado

original, similar to a spell-checker that replaces the incorrect letters as soon as the words have been written. Other enzymes are also on permanent alert to fix DNA wherever it is broken. Commenting in the journal The Scientist, David Fisher, a biologist and skin cancer specialist at Boston’s Massachusetts General Hospital who was not involved in the study, called the study “very interesting and provocative.” Fisher continues: “It emphasizes yet again what we knew: the biochemistry of melanin is a double-edged sword.” Melanin, the skin’s dark pigment, can prevent the formation of dimers. However, as this study showed, it can also cause an opposite effect, promoting the formation of pyrimidine dimers (thymine and cytosine) for at least three hours after direct exposure to the sun’s ultraviolet radiation. The resulting impairment of the DNA molecule’s repair mechanisms can result in an increase of harmful genetic mutations.

Through experiments conducted at Yale and USP, researchers confirmed that ultraviolet radiation sets off the production of a series of enzymes that will generate reactive oxygen species such as superoxide or nitric oxide. They combine to form peroxynitrite, a compound that is known to be reactive and that degrades the molecules with which it interacts inside the cell. The reaction between peroxynitrite and melanin or its precursors generates high-energy compounds, which are transferred to DNA, forming the dimers. “Ultraviolet radiation only initiates these reactions, which can continue for hours, even after only 10 minutes of cell exposure to radiation,” says Mano. She also says that the formation of reactive compounds is more intense with a precursor of melanin called pheomelanin, which is found in the cells of redheads or blondes, than with eumelanin, which forms the melanin in dark skin. This would explain why light-skinned peo-

ple are more susceptible to skin cancer. In the experiment, researchers also verified that the pyrimidine dimers formed in the absence of light make up almost 50% of the dimers responsible for possible changes in DNA. This phenomenon is called “photochemistry in the dark,” and it was proposed in the 1970s by Emil White at Johns Hopkins University and Giuseppe Cilento at the USP Chemistry Institute. “Photochemistry in the dark intensifies the damaging reactions to DNA that are initiated by ultraviolet radiation,” Bechara says. The researcher believes that this type of reaction has been identified in biological phenomena, mediated by high-energy chemical compounds in plant roots and the internal organs of animals. Melanin also absorbs visible light and then transfers some of its energy to oxygen molecules, generating a highly reactive form, the so-called singlet oxygen. The excited oxygen can react with molecules such as DNA and the cell’s organelles (or functional chambers) and damages them, according to a recent study performed by researchers in São Paulo and Paraná (see Pesquisa FAPESP Issue No. 227). n

Project Triplet excited species in biological systems (nº 09/02062-8); Grant Mechanism Fellowships in Brazil – Doctoral; Principal Investigator Etelvino José Henriques Bechara (USP and Unifesp); Recipient Camila Marinho Mano (IQ-USP); Investment R$156.227,65 (FAPESP).

Scientific Article PREMI, S. et al. Chemiexcitation of melanin derivatives induces DNA photoproducts long after UV exposure. Science. V. 347, No. 6224, p. 842-47. 2015. 




Contact A needle-shaped structure allows the Xanthomonas citri bacterium to release toxic compounds into rival microorganisms Ricardo Zorzetto Published in May 2015


he Xanthomonas citri bacterium causes citrus canker, a disease that has returned to spread through São Paulo plantations. X. citri spends only part of its life inside the leaves and fruits of citrus trees. There, protected by an abundant food source, the bacterium multiplies and stimulates the proliferation of plant cells, generating noticeable dark lesions that break apart to release the bacterium into the air. Most of the time, however, these bacteria face conditions that are less hos-

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pitable. In the soil or on the outside of leaves, where they are generally found, they face fierce competition with other microorganisms for space and nutrients. Despite this, X. citri generally thrives, as seen in Florida orange trees in the United States, which experienced a 50% decrease in yield in recent years due to the spread of citrus canker and another disease known as greening. Thousands of years of evolution have prepared the bacterium to cope with its potential competitors. Its rod-like

eduardo cesar

cells are covered with ultrathin filaments that resemble fine hairs. These structures are part of a defense mechanism that destroys other bacteria. Biochemist Shaker Chuck Farah and his team at the University of São Paulo Chemistry Institute (IQ-USP) have demonstrated that by using a specific type of these filaments, X. citri is able to release a veritable cocktail of toxic compounds into its potential competitors. The hair-like filaments are actually channels–there are at least six known

types–that link the internal medium of the bacteria with the external milieu. One particular type of these channels, known as the type IV secretion system (T4SS), consists of more than 100 proteins and is shaped like a needle. It is well known that many types of bacteria use the T4SS to exchange genetic material with other bacteria of the same or different species through a phenomenon known as conjugation, which allows the horizontal transfer of antibiotic resistance genes. At least one bacterium,

A not always peaceful coexistence: colonies of X. citri (yellow) cultivated with colonies of E. coli (white) and C. violaceum (pink)


Agrobacterium tumefaciens, transfers DNA through the T4SS to its host, a plant in which it causes tumors known as galls. It is also through this secretion system that some animal and human pathogenic bacteria inject proteins that help them colonize their host. However, little is known about the function of the T4SS in X. citri and in the dozens of species that constitute the family Xanthomonadaceae, which includes the genus Stenotrophomonas and the species S. maltophilia, an opportunistic human pathogen.

Competition in the laboratory


revious studies have indicated that the T4SS channels in the Xanthomonadaceae family are different from those found in other groups of bacteria. Farah and his team also determined that in X. citri, the T4SS does not play an essential role in plant infection. Recently, USP researchers confirmed that the T4SS in these bacteria is used to inject nearly a dozen different toxic proteins (toxins) into other bacteria. These toxins digest sugars, proteins and lipids in the walls of competing bacteria, causing them to expel their contents in such a way that the bacteria appear to explode under the microscope. In Farah’s laboratory, biologists Diorge Souza and Gabriel Oka cultured millions of X. citri cells with a similar number of Escherichia coli, a bacterium normally found in the intestines of mammals, and filmed the culture over time. Frequently, when X. citri came in contact with the surface of an E. coli, the latter’s cell wall disintegrated, releasing cellular contents, as seen in a video available on the Internet [https://]. “The bacterium becomes deformed when the integrity of its walls is compromised,” Farah explains. “It’s like a water balloon that pops,” he says. The secretion of toxins is activated by contact; however, it remains unclear how Xanthomonas recognizes the other species. The bacterium itself, however, is protected from the compounds it produces. Souza and Oka determined that Xanthomonas synthesizes antidotes against its toxins. “The antitoxins are distributed across the wall of Xanthomonas,” Souza explains. “This is what probably prevents it from suffering any damage.”

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Protein attraction

”The studies may lead to the identification of new toxins and molecular targets for antibacterial drugs”

In this regard, one of these antitoxins offered Souza his first clue years ago about the role of T4SS in Xanthomonas. In 2005, chemist Marcos Alegria, Farah’s doctoral student at the time, published a study showing that in X. citri, a specific protein of this secretion system, VirD4, attracted other proteins, whose functions were unknown at the time, to the channel. One of these proteins, which was designated Xac2609, interacted with protein Xac2610, whose function was also unknown. Later, after determining the three-dimensional structure of Xac2610, Souza began searching public databases for other proteins with similar structures that may provide insights into the function of the T4SS proteins. The first one he found was a protein that blocks the actions of lysozymes and works like an antitoxin. This finding suggested that the interacting partner of Xac2610, Xac2609, was a lysozyme, a

With an intact toxin secretion system, X. citri (blue) dominates the colony; without the toxin secretion system, X. citri is at a disadvantage and loses ground to E. coli (yellow)

layers: two membranes and a fortified periplasm, composed of a polymer (peptidoglycan) mixed with sugars and amino acids. “To date, Xanthomonas has killed all of them,” says Farah, who began studying the bacteria 15 years ago when he joined the group that sequenced the Xanthomonas genome. Hostile environment

protein capable of digesting the chain of sugars on the bacterial wall. After confirming the actions of these two proteins, Souza identified 13 other potential toxins and seven antitoxins encoded in the genome of X. citri, in addition to hundreds of other toxins associated with the T4SS in other species of the Xanthomonadaceae family.

images  diorge souza / usp


ests performed on two different species of bacteria, Micrococcus luteus and Bacillus subtilis, confirmed that the protein encoded by Xac2609 degrades the bacterial wall and that its effect is nullified by Xac2610, as reported in a paper published in March 2015 in the journal Nature Communications. However, it remained to be determined whether Xac2609 and the other toxins were the same as those exported by the T4SS. Souza and Oka then developed genetically modified X. citri that did not produce the T4SS and cultured

these bacteria with E. coli, which multiplies more quickly. E. coli duplicates itself every 30 minutes, whereas X. citri duplication takes approximately five times longer. Without the secretor channel, Xanthomonas was at a disadvantage. The experiment began with similar numbers of the two species and ended with E. coli dominating the colony. Although it reproduced more slowly, Xanthomonas re-established dominance by eliminating competitors when its ability to produce the T4SS was restored. “The system gives Xanthomonas a competitive edge,” Souza says. Although E. coli does not compete with Xanthomonas in nature, the researchers believe that what they observed in the laboratory may also occur in the field. They repeated the test using four other species of Gram-negative bacteria, which, like E. coli, have a cellular envelope comprising of three

Farah and his team have proof that X. citri is armed with the T4SS when it is found on the outside of a leaf, a potentially more hostile environment. “This mechanism should help the bacteria become more competitive,” says researcher Marcos Antonio Machado from the Sylvio Moreira Citriculture Center in Cordeirópolis. “Technologically, this observation makes it possible to look for compounds capable of inhibiting the functioning of this system,” the researcher says. He is studying ways to increase the susceptibility of X. citri to compounds such as copper oxychloride, which is used to fight citrus canker in the São Paulo orange groves. Farah believes that a better understanding of the T4SS of Xanthomonas is important for understanding how bacteria from different species compete with each other when they find themselves in the same environment and use the same resources. “This competition may have implications on the evolution of both antagonistic and cooperative behaviors between bacterial species,” he says. These studies may also lead to the identification of new toxins and molecular targets for antibacterial drugs. “We’re using Xanthomonas,” adds Farah, “to understand the universal functions of bacteria.” n Project Cyclic di-GMP signaling and the type IV macromolecule secretion system in Xanthomonas citri (No. 2011/077775); Grant mechanism Thematic Project; Principal investigator Shaker Chuck Farah (IQ-USP); Investment R$2,146,849.71 (FAPESP – for the entire project).

Scientific articles SOUZA, D. P. et al. Bacterial killing via a type IV secretion system. Nature Communications. March 6, 2015. SOUZA, D. P. et al. A component of the Xanthomonadaceae type IV secretion system combines a VirB7 Motif with a no domain found in outer membrane transport proteins. PLOS Pathogens. 2011. ALEGRIA, M. C. et al. Identification of new protein-protein interactions involving the products of the chromosomeand plasmid-encoded type IV secretion loci of the phytopathogen Xanthomonas axonopodis pv. citri. Journal of Bacteriology. V. 187, p. 2315-25. 2005.



Great gardeners reconstruct the seeddispersing role once played by now-extinct animals in the Pantanal Francisco Bicudo Published in may 2015

38  z  maio DE 2015


ntil some 10,000 years ago, giant ground sloths, mastodons and wild horses populated the South American landscape. The extinction of these mammals, known as Pleistocene megafauna, whose weight could reach several tons, may have significantly affected the vegetation of the Brazilian Pantanal wetland, according to a paper published in the journal Oecologia in August 2014. Although the flora that depended on Pleistocene megafauna as seed dispersers have not disappeared (there are other dispersers, including humans), they may have become less abundant and may occupy smaller areas than in the past. “Our proposal aimed to open the way for an ecological approach that could be used to observe specific relationships that had been established between animals and plants to better understand what happened when these giants left the scene,” explains Mathias Pires of the Department of Ecology at the University of São Paulo Biosciences Institute (IB-USP). Pires was inspired by the work of the Brazilian researcher Camila Donatti during her doctoral studies at Stanford University, in collaboration with the group led by Mauro Galetti, an ecologist at São Paulo State University (Unesp) at Rio

Claro campus, which was published in the journal Ecology Letters in 2011. Donatti studied animals in the Pantanal wetland – from fish to mammals – and characterized their seed dispersal habits. “Donatti’s approach simplifies inter-species interactions into a local dataset. Using this approach, in which we represent species by dots and their interactions by lines, we can extract data on how the organisms are interconnected,” Pires explains. “For example, we know that a certain animal consumes the fruits and disperses the seeds of plants 1, 2 and 3, but species B can only disperse plant 1, and species C scatters only 2 and 3.” During his doctoral studies under the supervision of Paulo Guimarães, Pires took on the challenge of researching how that same network of interactions might have worked in the past. Using data on fossils found in the region, he juxtaposed the present-day animals of the Pantanal with five species of megafauna that inhabited the biome long ago. These included giant ground sloths, mastodons and a relative of present-day llamas. Pires recalled that these large animals are described in scientific literature as good plant dispersers by virtue of at least two distinctive features: because they were quite large and their diet included a variety of fruits, they ingested large

Illustration  elisa carareto

Mathematical models

seeds that smaller animals couldn’t scatter. Furthermore, they could traverse long distances, and because they digested their food slowly, the seeds germinated in places far from the mother plant. As for the plants, Pires made a list of 10 species, specifically those whose seeds are still scattered by mammals today, such as pequi fruit, jatobá (Brazilian cherries) and some palm species. With the appropriate substitutions and adaptations, he then employed simulations, mathematical models, computers and statistics. “The idea was to observe the present-day network and investigate how it might have been in the past.” YESTERDAY AND TODAY

Pires highlights another finding of the study: in the networks he reconstructed, the seed-disperser roles played by megafauna were distinct and well-defined, in that large animals scattered larger seeds, and small animals dispersed the small ones. In keeping with the findings of Donatti’s study, that distinction no longer exists. “Without the mastodons and giant ground sloths, the larger fruits have lost their principal dispersers. Tapirs, coatis

and howler monkeys, for example, probably played a secondary role in seed dissemination during the Pleistocene, but today, they are key agents of large-seed dispersal,” he explains. This look at the past indicates that the absence of megafauna may have had a significant impact on the vegetation of the Pantanal, as shown in a study led by Galetti. The paper, published in 2013 in the journal Science, suggests that in areas of the Atlantic Forest, where large birds have been extinct for more than 50 years, populations of palm trees produce only small fruit; in contrast, in betterpreserved areas that have larger birds, there are still fruits of various sizes. “The same thing may have happened following the extinction of the large mammals of the past. In addition, plants that lose their seed dispersers end up confined to smaller regions, and the loss of dispersers hinders gene flow between populations. In the long term, this situation can reduce the genetic diversity of populations and lower their resistance to pests, for example,” he adds. In Galetti’s opinion, this finding suggests that there is a need to responsibly consider the idea of introducing other mammals, such as horses and pigs, in-

to the Pantanal to serve as dispersers. “Perhaps some of these species can even help restore the losses,” he surmises. Pires makes a further point: his work also provides an opportunity for reflection about the present-day biodiversity crisis. In his view, we need to understand ecological interactions in order to find ways to mitigate the consequences of the potential loss of large species. The biologist, eager to add more data to this scenario, now plans to do a comparative study of other biomes so as to observe the effects of species extinction on each one. “Could the absence of tapirs in the Atlantic Forest have the same effects as in the Cerrado savannah?” he wonders. He also plans to do a quantitative comparison of the effectiveness of some animal species in the task of seed dispersal, again with an eye to the past. “We are developing mathematical models to observe how indispensable a giant ground sloth might have been in carrying seeds long distances, compared to a tapir or a peccary of today, for example,” the researcher says in closing. n

Projects 1. Structure and evolutionary dynamics in mutualistic networks (No. 2009/54422-8); Grant mechanism Young Investigators Awards Program; Principal investigator Paulo Roberto Guimarães Junior (USP); Investment R$161,960.08 (FAPESP). 2. Plant attributes in the Pantanal seed dispersal network: consequences on spatial and demographic patterns (No. 2008/10154-7); Grant mechanism Regular Research Grant; Principal investigator Mauro Galetti Rodrigues (Unesp); Investment R$117,963.58 (FAPESP).

Scientific article PIRES, M. M. et al. Reconstructing past ecological networks: the reconfiguration of seed-dispersal interactions after mega­­faunal extinction. Oecologia. V. 175, No. 4, p. 124756. Aug. 2014.



Less energy loss International group produces a graphene and phosphorene transistor in the laboratory with one-atom-thick layers Igor Zolnerkevic Published in june 2015

Transistor structure External electrical field Boron nitride Graphene

Phosphorene Silicon oxide

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alculations by three researchers at the University of São Paulo (USP) have shown that by combining two of the most interesting materials that were recently discovered in physics, graphene and phosphorene, one can build a transistor that dissipates minimal energy. Measuring only a few nanometers (millionths of a millimeter) in size, the device works because of a special method of combining the two materials, which preserves the characteristics of each one. José Padilha, Adalberto Fazzio and Antônio José Roque da Silva showed that, contrary to what occurs in current silicon transistors, the electrons in an electrical current lose almost no energy when they pass from a graphene sheet to a phosphorene sheet and vice versa. The prediction, published in the February 2015 issue of Physical Review Letters, was confirmed in the laboratory by a team at the National University of Singapore (NUS) with the participation of Brazilian researcher Antônio Castro Neto, director of the 2D Advanced Materials Center and the Graphene Research Center at NUS. Transistors, which are the basis of today's computers, act as power switches that are able to turn light bulbs on and off. The “on” and “off” states represent the zeros and ones in binary code, which is the language of computers. More recent microprocessors contain 1 to 2 billion transistors made of silicon-based materials, each of which measures 45 nanometers in length. These transistors are connected to one another and

to other electronic components of the microprocessor via metal wires (gold or copper). When the electrons pass from the wires to the transistors and vice versa, the electrons in the electrical current lose part of their energy in the form of heat because of the contact resistance between the metal and the semiconductor. Currently, this heat does not affect the microprocessor operation. However, if the miniaturization trend of these components continues as it has in recent decades, the situation can become complicated. “There may come a point where the heat dissipated will burn the device or prevent its operation,” explains Padilha. When Padilha was a post-doctoral researcher at USP and was supervised by Fazzio and Silva, he performed the calculations that demonstrated the possibility of building transistors from graphene and phosphorene. Now, Padilha is a professor at the Federal University of Paraná, Jandaia do Sul Advanced Campus. In recent years, researchers from various centers have come to believe that the solution to the contact problem involves graphene. Discovered in 2004, this material comprises of carbon atoms that are placed in a hexagonal pattern, forming a sheet with a thickness of one atom. Electrons pass through graphene thousands of times faster than through silicon with a minimal loss of energy. “The only problem is that graphene is not a semiconducting material like silicon,” explains Padilha. Transistors are made of semiconducting materials

Images  josé padilha / ufpr

because they enable the control of the electron passage and the creation of zeros and ones in a computer. Semiconductors only transport electrons with energy above a certain limit. In a transistor, this limit acts as a barrier that can be raised or lowered using an electric field. This adjustable barrier, which either lets the electrons pass through or blocks them, is used to encode binary information. “If graphene acted this way, it would be the perfect material,” says Padilha. This limitation has led researchers worldwide to search for other materials made of a single atomic layer. Several materials were discovered, but the most interesting material is currently the one most recently identified: phosphorene. Consisting of a single atomic layer (monolayer) of phosphorus, phosphorene does not let electrons move as fast as graphene does, but they still move faster than in silicon. The advantage of phosphorene is its semiconducting property. In December 2013, Silva began discussing with Padilha and Fazzio the idea of investigating what the ideal contact would be between a phosphorene transistor and an electric circuit. “Phosphorene loses its semiconducting properties if soldered to copper or gold wires in a conventional circuit,” explains Padilha. “Additionally, the contact with the atoms in the metallic wires would lead to dissipation of the electrons' energy in the form of heat.” Padilha, Fazzio and Silva proposed to solve the problem by replacing the metal-wire contact with a graphene layer superimposed on a phosphorene layer.

Although the contact between the wires and phosphorene are through chemical bonds among atoms, the phosphorene and graphene layers are connected via a low-intensity attractive force called the van der Waals interaction. Despite being weak, this electromagnetic force allows graphene and phosphorene atoms to share their electrons without the interference of the electronic properties of one material with those of the other. Having found the solution, Padilha, Fazzio and Silva calculated the behavior of electrons in the transistor. This task is difficult because the electrons do not act as tiny balls that move in the device. Instead, they are a quantum mixture of waves and particles whose behavior is described by mathematical equations that take months to solve using computer superclusters. The published results in Physical Review Letters show that the phosphorene and graphene “sandwich” acts as a transistor that loses notably little energy through its contacts and can be “turned on” or “turned off ” by an electric field. Almost simultaneously, a team of physicists led by Barbaros Özyilmaz at NUS built a similar transistor to that envisioned by the Brazilians in a laboratory. The difference is that a layer of hexagonal boron nitride covers the phosphorene layers, which act as a semiconductor, and the two strips of graphene, which are used as the contact between the transistor and the remainder of the circuit of silicon electronic devices. This material protects the other layers from oxygen in the air. The transistor worked

perfectly in the tests. “We obtained the best results of all phosphorene devices built,” states Antônio Castro Neto. A theoretical physicist and researcher working on the collaboration project “Graphene: photonics and opto-electronics: UPM-NUS” as part of the FAPESP São Paulo Excellence Chair (SPEC) program and based at the MackGraphe Center at Mackenzie Presbyterian University, Castro Neto collaborated on the experimental data analysis, which confirmed the predictions of the USP group. According to Padilha, the identical calculations can lead to combinations of sheets of graphene and other monolayer semiconductors. “We made a transistor, but we could develop a solar cell whose electrons, excited by sunlight, would transfer from the semiconducting layer to the graphene layer with almost no loss of energy,” says Padilha. “Many people are exploring combinations of bidimensional materials, such as these, to produce structures with new properties,” concludes Silva. n Project Electronic, magnetic and transport properties of nanostructures (No. 2010/16202-3); Grant mechanism Thematic Project; Principal investigator Adalberto Fazzio (IF-USP); Investment R$1,327,201.88 (FAPESP – for the entire project).

Scientific articles PADILHA, J. E. et al. Heterostructure of phosphorene and graphene: Tuning the schottky barrier and doping by electrostatic gating. Physical Review Letters. V. 114. Feb. 12, 2015. AVSAR, A. et al. Air-stable transport in graphene-contacted, fully encapsulated ultrathin black phosphorus-based field-effect transistors. ACS Nano. V. 9, No. 4 Mar. 4, 2015.

Monolayer materials: sheets of phosphorene (above) and graphene (below)

pESQUISA FAPESP 232  z  41

geoPhysics y

Quantum acceleration Clouds of cold atoms can be used to measure subtle variations in gravitational force

Published in july 2015


hysicist Philippe Courteille and his colleagues at the São Carlos Physics Institute (IFSC) of the University of São Paulo (USP) are building an instrument to measure the effect of the gravitational force of the Earth on Bose-Einstein condensate, which are microscopic clouds of approximately 100,000 strontium atoms maintained at temperatures close to absolute zero (-273.15°C) with high precision. This device is an atomic gravimeter that should enable real-time calculation of the intensity of the gravitational force on a microscopic scale; this has not been well measured to date. There are similar instruments in the world with sufficient sensitivity to measure gravitational forces on this scale. However, the existing devices only reconstruct the motion of atoms afterwards and cannot follow them in real time, as the researchers in São Carlos promise to do. They believe that the new gravimeter will have practical and fundamental physics applications. Other experiments with atomic gravimeters, some of which have been performed, and others are in progress, have

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measured the gravitational force on microscopic scales. Nonetheless, they have not achieved the degree of precision that has been obtained for the other fundamental physical forces. “There are theories that predict that Newton's law of gravity may not apply to distances under a few micrometers,” says Courteille. The law of gravity states that the force of attraction between two bodies is inversely proportional to the square of the distance between them and explains observations in the macroscopic world notably well. “We may need to modify this law of attraction to explain what occurs at the microscopic level,” says the physicist. The practical applications of the new gravimeter will depend on its sensitivity. If the sensitivity is notably high, the device can be used to map oil and ore reserves. Courteille cannot yet establish the exact degree of sensitivity that his instrument will achieve, but he estimates that it should be able to surpass the best commercial high-precision gravimeters, which use laser beams to measure the acceleration of gravity that acts on a small free-falling mirror in

vacuum. Geophysicists use this type of equipment to map underground reserves with economic value. Tiny variations in Earth's gravitational acceleration enable the detection of differences in subterranean rock densities, which indicates the presence of ore. Courteille has finished developing the most important part of the gravimeter: the annular optical cavity. It consists of three small, special mirrors that are placed at the vertices of a triangle approximately 2 centimeters apart from each other. According to articles in the journals Optics Express and Laser Physics Letters, these carefully designed and arranged mirrors should ensure the success of the future device. Computer simulations, which were performed by Courteille and Romain Bachelard of IFSC in partnership with Marina Samoylova and Nicola Piovella of the University of Milan, Italy, and Gordon Robb of the University of Strathclyde in the UK, indicate that the optical cavity should improve the gravimeter operation for two reasons. First, the cavity should prevent the condensate destruction by the laser beam that interacts with it to measure its displacement. Second, the cavity should stabilize the oscillations of the condensate, making them more regular and predictable. The researchers submitted a patent application for the device to the Brazilian Industrial Property Institute (INPI) in 2015.

 photo  léo ramos  Infographic   ana paula campos


Physicists have performed experiments using cold atoms as gravimeters since the late 1990s. When cooled to temperatures close to absolute zero, some types of atoms can coalesce and form a so-called Bose-Einstein condensate. In the condensate, the atoms no longer act as individual particles and begin to move together, which forms a cloud of identical atoms; physicists say that the condensate behave like a single wave of matter. Several atomic gravimeters have been built to measure the changes in properties of this cloud of atoms when it moves exclusively under the effect of gravity. To analyze the action of only the gravitational force, physicists generate this cloud of atoms in a vacuum chamber and let it move vertically toward the ground. In this experiment, similar to an elevator in free fall, the cloud falls with

The heart of the gravimeter Three special mirrors trap the laser beams that control the movement of a condensate of atoms Laser


Semitransparent mirror Condensate

Semitransparent mirror Detector

Two laser beams limit the oscillation of Mirror

the condensate (blue) on the vertical axis, and a third laser beam (green) monitors its displacement, which is affected by gravity. A detector reads the light (in red) that results from the interaction of the

Source philippe courteille / IFSC-usp

condensate with the green laser

nothing to slow it down; the only force acting is gravity. However, Courteille’s gravimeter works differently. It is similar to the device that the team of physicist Massimo Inguscio at the University of Florence, Italy, developed in 2005; in his experiment , the Bose-Einstein condensate falls freely to a certain point. When gravitational acceleration makes the condensate reach a certain speed, it interacts with a wave of light, which is created by the intersection of two laser beams. At that moment, the condensate is hit by an impulse from the light wave and starts moving upwards; this process is indefinitely repeated. “It’s as if the wave of matter is jumping on a trampoline,” explains Courteille. “The frequency of the jumps depends on Earth's gravitational acceleration.” Using three mirrors to create an optical cavity where the laser beams remain trapped and circulating almost indefinitely, Courteille could eliminate some drawbacks of the Italian experiment. Inguscio’s gravimeter used a third laser to measure the displacement of the condensate, which destroyed it. In Courteille’s

set-up, the environment is controlled, and the light of the third laser does not disorder the condensate, even if it interacts with the condensate. Under Courteille’s supervision, the physicist Raul Teixeira, who is a post-doctoral researcher at IFSC, is building the gravimeter’s vacuum chamber and preparing the assembly of the lasers and optical cavity. “It's a huge technical challenge,” says Courteille. “We won’t have scientific results for at least two years.” n Igor Zolnerkevic

Projects 1. Development of quantum sensors based on ultracold atoms (No. 2013/04162-5); Grant Mechanism Thematic Project; Principal Investigator Philippe Wilhelm Courteille (IFSC-USP); Investment R$1,988,250.00 (FAPESP – for the entire project). 2. Continuous monitoring of Bloch oscillations of ultracold atoms for application in gravimetry (No. 2014/12952-9); Grant Mechanism Fellowships in Brazil – Postdoctoral-; Recipient Raul Celestrino Teixeira; Principal Investigator Philippe Wilhelm Courteille (IFSC-USP); Investment R$177,860,00 (FAPESP).

Scientific Articles SAMOYLOVA, M. et al. Synchronization of Bloch oscillations by a ring cavity. Optics Express. V. 23, No. 11. May 28, 2015.SAMOYLOVA, M. et al. Mode-locked Bloch oscillations in a ring cavity. Laser Physics Letters. V. 11, No. 12. Nov. 12, 2014.


TECHNOLOGY  aeronautical engineering  y

Aircraft nursery Yuri Vasconcelos Published in august 2015

44 z special issue  december 2016

Approximately 20 manufacturers of small aircraft operate in Brazil, investing in innovation and collaboration with universities as a strategy for growth

Photos  léo ramos


n May 2015, an electric airplane flew for the first time in Brazil, earning this country a place among the select group of nations that have mastered the technology for building this type of aircraft. The flight occurred in the city of São José dos Campos, state of São Paulo, the site of Brazil’s biggest aerospace industry hub and home base of Embraer, the world’s third largest manufacturer of commercial passenger jets. The electric plane, called the Sora-e, is owned by ACS-Aviation, one of approximately 20 Brazilian builders of experimental or light sport aircraft (LSA), as classified by Brazil’s National Civil Aviation Agency (ANAC). Light sport aircraft, classified by ANAC as a subcategory of experimental aircraft in 2011, can be sold fully assembled, whereas experimental amateur-built aircraft are uncertified lightweight planes sold in the form of assembly kits. At least 51% of the assembly of such planes must be performed by the buyer, usually a private pilot. Half of all experimental aircraft manufacturers in Brazil are located in the interior of São Paulo State; the others are in Goiás, Rio Grande do Sul, Minas Gerais, Pernambuco, Santa Catarina, and Bahia. Brazil is the world’s second largest market for experimental aircraft, after only the United States. As reported by ANAC, there were 4,958 experimental aircraft in Brazil in 2013. Designed mainly for amateur pilots who want to fly their own equipment, these planes are used for leisure, recreation, or personal transportation and cannot be used in any commercial activity. “Brazil is a country of continental proportions that can use this wide range of aircraft to meet a wide range of needs,” explains Humberto Peixoto Silveira, chairman of the Brazilian Association for Experimental Aviation (Abraex). Experimental aircraft in Brazil sell for R$50,000 and up, while an LSA can cost as much as R$750,000. Despite their small size and their limited capacity of two or four people, Silveira considers that experimental planes are technologically advanced vehicles. “All over the world, experimental aviation is a laboratory for major manufacturers like Airbus, Boeing and Embraer. These aircraft are born from innovative designs in terms of structure and aerodynamics. They are built using advanced production techniques, their structure is built with new materials, and they are equipped with digital avionics [the electric and electronic equipment used in aircraft] and powerful engines that allow some models to fly at more than 300 kilometers per hour [162 knots],” he says. The flight of the Sora-e was the culmination of two years of work by ACS-Aviation managing partner Alexandre Zaramella, an aeronautical engineer with a degree from the Federal University

Wind tunnel for testing at UFMG and aircraft drawings made by the university’s students PESQUISA FAPESP z 45



Present-day aircraft manufacturers prefer to build their airframes from composite materials, such as metal-polymer or carbon-glass composites. These new materials are lighter and stronger than the traditionally used aircraft-grade aluminum. The European consortium Airbus, for example, has delivered its first jet with wings and fuselage made of polymers reinforced with carbon fiber. The A350 XWB, with seating for 2

46 z special issue  december 2016

366 passengers, was delivered to Qatar Airways in January 2015. Scoda Aeronáutica, a Brazilian builder of light sports aircraft, has also embraced composites. Located in the city of Ipeúna, 195 kilometers from the state capital of São Paulo, the company builds an amphibian aircraft (that can land on and take off from both land and water) called the Super Petrel LS. The plane is an international hit. “We have already built 350 of the Super Petrel LS and its predecessor, the Super Petrel 100. They were sold to 23 countries, and we have clients in another four whose orders are about to be delivered,” says Rodrigo Scoda, owner of the company. The list price of the Super Petrel starts at R$350,000. Scoda is an aeronautical engineer who graduated from the São Carlos School of Engineering at the University of São Paulo (EESC-USP). He emphasizes that the success of his aircraft is due largely to its having won LSA certification in the United States and other countries. “We designed the Super Petrel LS to be compliant with Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) standards. This was our way of making a global product,” he says. The FAA is the American regulatory authority for civil aviation. Its standards serve as a model for many countries, including Brazil.

1 Sora-e, the first electric aircraft built in Brazil 2 Super Petrel LS: landing on and taking-off from land or water

Photos   1 Alexandre Marchetti 2 léo ramos

of Minas Gerais (UFMG) (see Pesquisa FAPESP Issue No. 228). “There are half a dozen companies in the world that focus on the development of electric aircraft. And we are one of the few with a flight-tested plane,” he says. The Sora-e – a version of the main model produced by ACS-Aviation, the combustion-engine Sora – was developed in partnership with the Center for Research, Development and Assembly of Vehicles Powered by Electricity (CPDM-VE) of Itaipu Binacional and received a R$500,000 subsidy from the Brazilian Innovation Agency (FINEP) for the design of an electric system for use in aircraft. The aircraft is equipped with two 35-kilowatt electric engines, powered by six 400-volt lithium-ion polymer batteries that can keep the plane airborne for up to one hour and 30 minutes.

Infographic ana paula campos

Diversity in the air

Model Company/Institution Location

T-Xc Novaer São José dos Campos (São Paulo)

Noteworthy models produced by Brazil’s leading manufacturers of light aircraft

Certified Aircraft with no restriction as to number of pilots, crew, type, weight, models, and purposes, so long as they comply with the rules for certification, including rules related to pilot training, crop dusting, cargo transport, and passenger transport, among others LSA Acronym for light sport aircraft. This subcategory of experimental aircraft includes models that can be sold fully assembled. ANAC is still deciding whether to permit commercial use of these aircraft Experimental Uncertified light aircraft of less complex construction, sold as assembly kits or built from designs. By law, 51% of their assembly must be performed by the buyer, normally an amateur pilot. Cannot be used commercially

Super Petrel LS Scoda Aeronáutica Ipeúna (São Paulo)

Two-seat amphibian aircraft

Single-engine two-seater

Use of laser cutting and laser drilling to build complex metal components, such as wings and surfaces

New Conquest Inpaer São João da Boa Vista (São Paulo)

Wega 180 Wega Aircraft Palhoça (Santa Catarina)

Super Flamingo Aeropepe Recife (Pernambuco)

Advanced ultralight high-wing two-seater

Wings with carbon fiber spars that reduce drag and increase speed

P-1 Technological Institute of Aeronautics (ITA) São José dos Campos (São Paulo)

PEDAL-POWERED PLANE São Carlos School of Engineering/USP São Carlos (São Paulo)

Anequim Center for Aeronautical Studies (CEA) at UFMG Belo Horizonte (Minas Gerais)

Experimental pedalpowered manned aircraft

Made from carbon fiber and composite materials, the first of its kind in Latin America

Racing aircraft with bold aerodynamics

Designed to be the fastest in its category, weighing 330 kg and flying at up to 575 km/h (310 knots)

Singleengine four-seater

Built entirely from composites of carbon fiber and aramid fiber (Kevlar)

Sora-e ACS-Aviation São José dos Campos (São Paulo)

Quasar Aeroalcool Tecnologia Franca (São Paulo)


Innovative feature

Listed price

Large-scale use of carbon fiber in the airframe, reducing weight and increasing performance

R$ 2,5 million


Brazil’s first electric aircraft

Electric propellers in the engine are powered by lithium-ion polymer batteries

Currently undergoing tests; no listed price


Two-seat light aircraft

Experimental single-engine two-seater

More aerodynamic wing tips, leading to better flight performance


Built with composite materials, this acrobatic aircraft can fly at 350 km/h (190 knots)h



Two-seat training glider

Wings with variable sweep (angle of the wing in relation to the fuselage) provide improved aerodynamics

R$280,000, if mass-produced

No stated price, not currently built

No stated price, not currently built


1 Quasar single-engine aircraft: 60 units sold 2 P-1, a pilot training glider designed and built at ITA

Built using a composite of carbon fiber and aramid fiber (Kevlar), the Super Petrel LS was inspired by the French amphibian aircraft known as the Hydroplum, from the 1980s. Scoda Aeronáutica handles 81% of its own production requirements, importing only the mechanical components. An unusual aspect of the development and certification process for the Super Petrel LS was that 90% of it was performed by 4th- and 5thyear students from the aeronautical engineering course at EESC-USP, working as interns on the project. “We work in partnership with universities whenever possible. Three of our eight engineers graduated from EESC,” says Scoda. The company has a team of 100 collaborators, including technicians, engineers, mechanics, pilots and managers. CERTIFIED MODELS

In addition to Scoda, the Indústria Paulista de Aeronaves (Inpaer) is also looking to certify its aircraft in an attempt to expand its market. Founded in 2002, the company changed hands two years ago when it was acquired by entrepreneurs Milton Pereira and Helio Gardini. “We have already invested R$40 million in Inpaer since 2013. We made important changes in the management process, reformulated the product portfolio, and expanded the staff from 60 to 115 people. We want to make Inpaer a global company, following in the footsteps of Embraer,” says Pereira. The company’s flagship product, the single-engine two-seater Conquest 180, has been modernized and renamed the New Conquest. “The New Conquest is being certified as a LSA. Our next goal is to start exporting,” says Pereira. With 230 aircraft already delivered since the company was founded, Inpaer has been working on two new models, the EZY300A and the 48 z special issue  december 2016

EZY300B. Both planes will seat four people and will have the autonomy to fly 1,950 km (1,210 miles) without refueling. The difference between them is the position of the wings in relation to the fuselage: high-wing planes, such as the 300A, offer more panoramic views and fly at lower speeds, while low-wing aircraft, such as the 300B, are faster. “We want to certify these aircraft under Standard 23 of the Brazilian Register of Civil Aircraft (RBAC 23). This will allow their use for commercial purposes, such as pilot training and passenger and cargo transport,” Pereira explains. The first prototype of the 300A took flight last year and is currently undergoing improvements, while the 300B is still in the design stage. PEDAL-POWERED PLANE AND ETHANOL ENGINE

Many of the aeronautical engineers currently in charge of designing new aircraft in Brazil graduated from one of three institutions: EESC-USP, the Technological Institute of Aeronautics (ITA, managed by the Brazilian Air Force), or UFMG. “During their five-year undergraduate course,


Photos   1 and 2 Picasa 3, 4 and 5 léo ramos


fotos  1 e 3 nonononono 2 nonononno


3 The aeronautical engineering course at USP São Carlos focuses on aircraft maintenance 4 At UFMG, the emphasis is on prototype construction 5 Assembly of the Super Petrel LS amphibian aircraft


students learn to build a complete aircraft. Our emphasis on aircraft certification and maintenance sets EESC apart. As a result, the market covets our students,” says Professor James Waterhouse from EESC-USP. “Building an airworthy aircraft is easy, but making one that complies with aviation standards and that is fit for certification is 100 times more difficult.” One of the most innovative projects developed at EESC was a pedal-powered manned aircraft, the first of its kind in Latin America. In the prototype, weighing only 42 kilograms and built from carbon fiber and composite materials, the pilot activates the propeller by moving pedals with his feet. The inaugural flight, covering only a few meters, was made three years ago. “The aerodynamics of a pedal-powered aircraft must be extremely refined, otherwise it won’t fly. Right now, our students are improving the design for longer flights,” says Waterhouse, who holds a doctorate in alternative aviation fuels. In addition to teaching at USP, Waterhouse owns a company called Aeroalcool Tecnologia in partnership with aeronautical engineer Omar José Junqueira Pugliesi, who has a master’s degree in engine engineering from EESC-USP. Installed in the city of Franca, 400 kilometers from São Paulo, the company was established in 2001 with the goal of maturing and marketing the technology for the ethanol-fueled aircraft engine designed in the early 1980s at USP São Carlos. “We were able to improve the technology, but market contingencies kept our ethanol-fueled aircraft engine from becoming a commercial product,” Waterhouse says. The partners decided to invest in designing their own aircraft, which they named the Quasar. “It was an aircraft designed from scratch, part by part. We made the wheels, brakes, and several other components that are normally imported. In


2006, the Quasar had its maiden flight,” recalls the researcher. Sixty Quasars have already been sold. The first eight to be built were exported to the United States. Aeroalcool verticalized the production of its components and achieved a high percentage of Brazilian-made parts. “The engine, propeller and avionics are imported because it is not costeffective to build them here,” says Waterhouse. “Our biggest innovation was using laser cutting and laser drilling to build complex metal components, such as the wings and surfaces of the aircraft. I studied this technology during my master’s degree studies, and it resulted in a successful PIPE project (Innovative Research in Small Businesses Program) from FAPESP. With this technology, we cut manufacturing labor costs by 80%, reduced the amount of physical space required, and achieved a higher degree of standardization and manufacturing quality.” GROUNDBREAKING GLIDER

ITA professor Ekkehard Carlos Fernando Schu­ bert designed and built a two-seat glider called the P-1 for basic and advanced pilot training. The dePESQUISA FAPESP z 49

An ambitious project Novaer has plans to build a certified aircraft to compete against major international companies, such as American manufacturers Cessna, Piper, and Cirrus Building more than 100 aircraft

only two seats and will be used

a year from the fourth year of

for air force pilot training.

production onward and exporting

Both versions were inspired by

75% of all its planes to the

the experimental aircraft

international market:

K-51, designed by Hungarian-born,

this is the target established

naturalized Brazilian engineer

by Novaer, which is developing

József Kovács, one of Brazil’s

its first aircraft, provisionally

foremost aircraft designers.

called Project T-Xc. The plane had

The greatest innovation of

its maiden flight in August 2014

the T-Xc project is the large-scale

and is currently in the certification

use of carbon fiber. “Many

and testing stage, which should

commercial planes are already

take another year. What sets

being built with this material, but

Novaer apart from most Brazilian

none of them to date have had

manufacturers is the fact that the

100% of their airframe made

T-Xc will be designed for

from carbon fiber, like the Novaer

certification under Standard 23 of

aircraft does,” says Campos.

the Brazilian Register of Civil

Currently based in São José

Aircraft (RBAC 23). This

dos Campos, Novaer is planning

certification will allow the aircraft

to transfer part of its operations

to be used for air taxi services,

to the city of Lages, in Santa

cargo transport, and civilian or

Catarina, where the state

military pilot training –

government plans to establish

uses not permitted for experimental

an industrial complex for the

aircraft. “We will not have any

aviation industry. Novaer

competitors in Brazil. Our biggest

wants to set up its T-Xc and

competition will be international

Sovi assembly lines in Santa

manufacturers such as Cessna,

Catarina. Established in 1998,

Piper, and Cirrus,” says Novaer

the company also develops

president Graciliano Campos.

aircraft components. For example,

The T-Xc will be built in two

it supplies the landing gear

versions: utility and training. The

for the T-27 Tucano, a training

first model, a four-seater, will be

and light combat aircraft

designed for passenger and light

built by Embraer and used by

cargo transport. The training

the air forces of Brazil and

version, dubbed the Sovi, will have

10 other countries.

n Carbon fiber n  Vendor-supplied items n  Metal parts


velopment of the first P-1 prototype began in 1995 and was completed in 2002, when the aircraft made its first flight. “I decided to build a two-seat training glider because I thought Brazil needed to stop importing this relatively simple product. When I started the project, there was a possibility that the Civil Aviation Department [DAC, which would later be reorganized as ANAC] would place a large order for use by Brazil’s aeroclubs, but they never followed through,” says Schubert, a Brazilian born to German parents. Gliders are engineless aircraft that ride on air currents. Therefore, they have to be built from lightweight materials with the proper aerodynamics. The P-1 was built from a composite of fiberglass, epoxy resin and rigid PVC foam. Wing geometry is among its biggest technological innovations: the P-1 has variable-sweep wings, that is, their sweep (angle between wing and fuselage) changes along the length of the wingspan. “This design makes the wing more aerodynamic and enhances flight efficiency,” says the ITA professor. Schubert plans to certify the aircraft as an LSA to try selling it to aviation schools in Brazil and abroad. In the 1960s, ITA students advised by Professor Guido Fontegalant Pessotti – who would later move on to become the technical director of Embraer in the 1980s – were already building gliders. They built the Urupema, which was then manufactured by Embraer for a short period, as well as a glider tow plane called the Panelinha. ITA offers six undergraduate engineering courses. Six thousand aeronautical, aerospace, mechanical, electronic, civil, and computer engineers have graduated from the institution since it was founded in 1950. WELLSPRING OF NEW DESIGNS

UFMG also plays a prominent role in training Brazilian professionals to work in the aviation industry. Forty to 45 students complete its aerospace engineering course each year. The university’s Center for Aeronautical Studies (CEA) 4

fotos  1 e 3 nonononono 2 nonononno


1 Pedal-powered aircraft developed at EESC-USP 2 Instrument panel of New Conquest single-engine aircraft

Photos 1 USP / Public domain image 2 inpaer 3 Daniel Popinga 4 novaer

3 Wega single-engine aircraft, built from an academic project


focuses on the design, development and operation of aircraft prototypes. “Few academic institutions in the world are able to work on building a plane. Since our first prototype, the Gaivota glider, which flew in 1964, we have designed and built 10 different aircraft,” says aeronautical engineer and UFMG professor Paulo Henrique Iscold. According to Iscold, UFMG’s emphasis on prototype construction sets its undergraduate program apart from the rest. “Our students receive hands-on learning on how to build a plane. In this process, we continuously try to innovate and create something extra that can be adopted by the industry,” says the engineer. Each aircraft takes five to six years to complete, and the students participate in designing the prototypes, making drawings and calculations, and assembling the airframe. The most recent model built at the CEA is the Anequim, a racing aircraft that weighs 330 kilograms and can fly at 575 km/h (310 knots). The Anequim had its maiden flight in November 2014, and now, in August 2015, its creators will try to break seven world records for speed. The flights will be monitored by the World Air Sports Federation (FAI), an entity based in Switzerland that certifies international aviation records. The single-engine CEA-308, built in 2011 by UFMG, is recognized by the FAI as the world’s fastest light aircraft (less than 300 kilograms in total weight, including pilot and fuel). The CEA308 broke three world speed records – for 3-, 15-, and 100-kilometer flights – and one climb-rate record for ascent to three thousand meters. Two years ago, a four-seat aircraft project designed at the CEA won an international contest sponsored by French aircraft engine manufacturer Price-Induction. According to Iscold, another noteworthy project designed at the CEA is the Triathlon, an acrobatic aircraft made of wood and composite materials, which started to get off the drawing board between 1997 and 2001, during the doctoral studies of professor and CEA founder Cláudio de Barros. This model was the inspiration for two

other planes, which were built on an industrial scale by private companies – the Sora, by ACSAviation, and the single-engine Wega 180, by Wega Aircraft, based in the state of Santa Catarina. Founded by aircraft mechanic Jocelito Wildner, Wega Aircraft is based in the city of Palhoça in the metropolitan area of Florianópolis. It is the first aviation company in Santa Catarina. In addition to the Wega 180 with its 180-horsepower engine, the company also builds the Wega 210 with a more powerful, 210-horsepower engine. “Our aircraft are built from carbon, glass and high-quality resin, have retractable landing gear, and follow international safety standards,” says Wildner, who was trained at the school operated by the now-extinct Brazilian airline Varig. Wega has a production capacity of two units per year and has sold a total of eight aircraft so far. The state of Pernambuco also has its own aircraft manufacturer, Aeropepe, founded in 1999 in the city of Recife. The company has sold 15 of its Flamingo and Super Flamingo high-wing single-engine aircraft that can fly at 200 km/h (108 knots). One of them was exported to Portugal. These planes have two main innovations: 100% of their airframe is made from composites, and their wings are built with carbon fiber spars that increase the structural strength and make it unnecessary to use splices and joints. “The aircraft has lower drag and reaches a higher speed while consuming less fuel,” says company owner José Rodolfo Garrido Andrade, also known as “Pepe.” Pepe wants to launch three new aircraft models based on the same platform. The first, a certified LSA, was designed in partnership with Aeron, a spin-off that began life at the CEA-UFMG. “The engineers at Aeron were put in charge of making the aerodynamics calculations and designing the plane, which is still unnamed and has no estimated date of launch,” says Pepe. The second model is a version of the LSA with electric engines, and the third is a high-performance aircraft equipped with retractable landing gear and a turboprop engine with variable-pitch blades. n PESQUISA FAPESP z 51


Made-to-measure prostheses Biofabris Institute produces titanium alloy implants for patients who have lost skull or face bones due to accidents or disease Dinorah Ereno Published in july 2015

52  z  special issue  december 2016

Tomography images of patient, 3D model of the skull and made-to-measure prosthesis designed on software

photos  INCT-Biofabris


made-to-measure titanium prosthesis transformed the life of a 23-year-old student, Jessica Alves Farias Cussioli. After a serious accident in September 2014, in Araçatuba, São Paulo State, when she fell from a motorcycle and hit her head against a dumpster, Jessica had a deep indentation on the right side of her skull, in the area between her eyes and the top of her head. Eight months later, on May 26, 2015, she became the first patient in Brazil to receive a titanium craniofacial implant, a procedure performed at the Hospital das Clínicas of the University of Campinas (HC-Unicamp). The manufacture of the made-to-measure prosthesis by the National Institute of Science and Technology in Biomanufacturing (INCT-Biofabris), headquartered at Unicamp and funded by FAPESP and the National Council for Scientific and Technological Development (CNPq), is part of a long process of multidisciplinary research and development that began in 2009.

In addition to Unicamp, members of Biofabris include institutions such as the University of São Paulo (USP), the Federal University of São Paulo (Unifesp), the University of Rio Grande do Sul (UFRGS), the Nuclear and Energy Research Institute (IPEN) and the Renato Archer Information Technology Center (CTI). “We work on the development of polymers, biopolymers, metal and ceramic materials, intended for various applications,” says Rubens Maciel, a chemical engineer and professor at the School of Chemical Engineering (FEQ) at Unicamp and Biofabris coordinator. Studies on the development of new materials still involve in vitro and in vivo tests to determine whether they will harm the patient upon implantation in the future. “Their performance in the body must not be harmful to cells nor harm the body in the implanted area.” Jessica’s operation lasted more than eight hours and was performed by a medical team consisting of four plastic surgeons and a neurosurgeon. The sur-

gical procedure was the culmination of a collaborative effort involving doctors and researchers over a period of three months. The partnership between the Institute and the HC-Unicamp started shortly after Biofabris was founded. “After a long conversation with Rubens Maciel and Andre Jardini [a mechanical engineer and researcher at Biofabris Institute], I realized that we could form a scientific partnership,” says Paulo Kharmandayan, a professor and coordinator of Plastic Surgery for the Department of Surgery at the School of Medical Sciences (FCM/Unicamp), a member of Biofabris. In addition to the convergence of interests in lines of research, there was the physical proximity of their laboratories. “It was an afternoon of conversations in which I explained my needs in the medical field and they set out to find solutions to meet my requirements.” As time passed and the Institute grew, more questions and proposals arose. “We now hold weekly meetings and each discussion generates new ideas.” pESQUISA FAPESP  z  53



Manufacturing the three customized titanium implants comprising the prosthesis, consisting of a 10-cm-long surface, took 20 hours. The first step in manufacturing a prosthesis is to use tomography to make images of the area of the body requiring repair. These images are placed in the InVesalius program, a software developed by CTI, which is responsible for reconstructing the affected part in 3D. Based on a comparison of the intact part and the part affected by trauma or accident, the researchers create a prosthesis using the most appropriate scale and format, preserving the appearance and restoring the original function of protecting the brain. Based on this virtual model of the patient’s head, a skull model and a nylon prosthesis for 3D printing are then made. “The virtual planning is a time-consuming step, in which the programmer and the medical team discuss any necessary adjustments before arriving at the final metal prosthesis,” says Kharmandayan. FINISHING AND STERILIZATION

In the final step of manufacturing the metallic prosthesis, an alloy with titanium powder is placed in the additive manufacturing machine, a printing technique in which a three-dimensional model is created by successive layers of material. The powder is sintered by laser to form layers measuring 0.4 millimeters. Depending on the type of piece, its manufacture can take up to one day for the process to be completed. Once 54  z  special issue  december 2016

1 Craniofacial prostheses made of titanium 2 Design of the prosthesis based on the 3D model 3 Skull study model and prosthesis

removed from the machine, the piece is given a thermal or chemical treatment and, if it is to be used in medical implant applications, it will undergo a cleaning process and surface finishing to remove residues and be sterilized. Jessica was the sixth patient operated on by Kharmandayan’s team. She is one of the patients who is part of a project approved by Unicamp’s Ethics Committee, which forsees 15 surgeries. “It was the first craniofacial surgery we did with the material. The others were just the skull or face,” says Kharmandayan. The first patient was operated on in 2012,

photos 1 caius lucilius/hc-unicamp 2 inct-biofabris  3 antonio scarpinetti

with the placement of a prosthesis to reconstruct the skull of a 17-year-old, three years after a serious bicycle accident. “He had stopped studying, was confined to his house, and had no social life. After the surgery, he went back to school, started playing the guitar, got engaged, obtained a driver’s license and went on to pass a civil service examination.” The treatment now most widely used to restore the affected area is to remove a bone segment from the healthy side of the head and place it in the traumatized area. However, this is not always possible. “When the defects are large or when bone absorption occurs because of infection, one has to resort to a synthetic, metal or non-metal replacement,” Kharmandayan explains. One of the materials most frequently used for this purpose is methyl methacrylate, a type of plastic discovered in the 1920s. “There have been several reports of patients whose systems rejected the prosthesis because the material can release chemical substances.” Another aspect is that reconstruction using methyl methacrylate is done by hand by the surgeon. “The plastic in the form of paste, at a temperature of 82° Celsius, is shaped directly over the patient’s skull in the case of a cranial reconstruction.” Shaping by hand leaves much to be desired. Among the patients operated on at Unicamp’s Hospital as part of the project, four had previously had prostheses made from plastic. Titanium alloys have long been used in medicine and, some years ago, were used in dental implants—titanium is a material that has already been well tested, is safe and does not subsequently release residues. “In addition to being safe, the mini-plates we use allow integration with bone,” says Kharmandayan. “Their surfaces are manufactured with small grooves so that bone integration and cell growth occur more rapidly than on an ordinary surface,” says Maciel. Titanium plates for craniofacial reconstruction are produced by other countries and sold in the market, but they are made in a standard size, and are not tailored to patients and their needs. “A plate like the one implanted in Jessica would cost around R$130,000 in the market,” says Maciel. “The expenses we incurred for the material to build a customized plate and plates used by other patients cost around R$3,000 to R$5,000, depending

on the material used.” This does not include medical fees and machine acquisition costs, design and sterilization, for example, which have been absorbed by Biofabris. NEW MATERIALS

In addition to the prosthesis customized with titanium alloys, other lines of research involving the search for new materials are developed with partner institutions. One line of research, in collaboration with UFRGS, focuses on calcium phosphate bioceramics, such as hydroxyapatite, a material similar to the mineral part of bone, as well as other parts of the bone. “We do the synthesis and characterization of ceramics, and we shape the pieces in rapid prototyping equipment,” says Cecilia Zavaglia, a professor in the Department of Materials Engineering, School of Mechanical Engineering (FEM), and deputy coordinator of the Institute. The ceramics we developed, known as beta tricalcium phosphates, may be used as replacement bones and teeth, in minor repairs. In vitro and in vivo tests have been performed to evaluate the biocompatibility of the material and its toxicity. The next step will be clinical trials. Other materials used in biomanufacturing are biopolymers. Molasses from sugarcane, açaí seeds and castor oil are raw materials from renewable sources used to manufacture these materials. From molasses, for example, research-

ers have obtained polylactic acid, a poly- ria Ingrid Rocha Barbosa Schiavon. mer absorbed by the body at control- She initiated the research during her lable rates. “We polymerize lactic acid postdoctoral work, which resulted in a to use as a base for a number of applica- joint patent filing with other Biofabris tions, such as tissue regeneration, artifi- researchers. From the polylactic acid obtained cial skin, and formation of cartilage and bone,” says Jardini. “This material can from sugarcane, in combination with pobe used like a scaffold for seeding cells ly (2-hydroxyethyl methacrylate) (pHEthat need to be developed in a particu- MA), a hybrid polymer was formed as a lar location.” The polymer is processed result of Marcele Fonseca Passos’ docon a 3D printer to acquire the proper toral research, under the mentorship of format for implantation in the patient. Maciel and Carmen Gilda, of the DepartThis biopolymer is then seeded with the ment of Mechanical Engineering, at the patient’s own cells and, after growth, Federal University of Pará (UFPA). The the prosthesis can be implanted in the research led to a patent filing. The process does not require chemical agents desired location. A polyurethane was developed from and the product obtained has the potenaçaí seeds to be used as a bone pros- tial to be used in dentistry, and for the thesis, especially in the skull and facial partial regeneration of meniscus and ear cartilage. Cytotoxicareas (see Pesquisa ity tests showed the FAPESP Issue No. polymer’s biocom196). Castor oil assopatibility and it is ciated with citric acid now being tested on has also resulted in a Molasses, açaí animals at the UFPA new polymer, which seed and School of Biology in led to a patent filing. collaboration with “The castor oil was castor oil are the Evandro Chagas subjected to a reacInstitute, both in the tion with citric acid, tested as raw state of Pará. n which resulted in a cross-linked polyesmaterial for ter obtained from a prostheses polymerization process that did not involve toxic agents to Projects induce the chemical 1. Biofabris - Institute of Biomanufacturing (No. 2008/57860reaction,” says Ma3); Grant Mechanism Thematic Project - INCT; Principal Investigator Rubens Maciel Filho (Unicamp); Investment R$2,691,894.52 (FAPESP) and R$2,239,094.33 (CNPq). 2. Epoxy biopolymer synthesis from renewable sources for building biomedical devices using rapid prototyping techniques and biomanufacturing (No. 2009/16480-6); Grant Mechanism Fellowships in Brazil – Post-doctoral; Principal Investigator Rubens Maciel Filho (Unicamp); Recipient Ingrid Maria Rocha Barbosa Schiavon; Investment R$215,732.36 (FAPESP). 3. IPNs networks of pHEMA-PLA for use in tissue engineering (No. 2011/18525-7); Grant Mechanism Fellowships in Brazil - Doctorate; Principal Investigator Rubens Maciel Filho (Unicamp); Recipient Marcele Fonseca Passos; Investment R$177,978, 84 (FAPESP).

Scientific articles


CALDERONI, D.R. et al. Paired evaluation of calvarial reconstruction with titanium implants prototyped with and without ceramic coating. Acta Cirúrgica Brasileira. V. 29, p. 579-87. 2014. JARDINI, A.L. et al. Cranial reconstruction: 3D biomodel and custom-built implant created using additive manufacturing. Journal of Cranio-maxillo-facial Surgery. V. 42, p. 1877-84. 2014. LAROSA, M.A. et al. Microstructural and mechanical characterization of a custom-built implant manufactured in titanium alloy by direct metal laser sintering. Advances in Mechanical Engineering. V. 2014. p. 1-8. 2014.



It’s time for biotechnology in biomass GranBio invests in R & D to meet the challenges of producing second generation ethanol Marcos de Oliveira

Pereira, standing at left, and the GranBio research and development team in Campinas. In the rear, bales of straw from sugarcane

Published in september 2015



fter sugarcane is harvested, the remaining straw is the principal raw material GranBio uses in ethanol production. In September 2014, the company became the first in Brazil to produce cellulosic ethanol or second-generation (2G) ethanol, which is made from biomass by an industrial scale biotechnological process. Traditionally, first-generation ethanol fuel is produced from sugarcane juice. GranBio, an industrial biotechnology company founded in 2011 and headquartered in the capital city of São Paulo State, operates over the entire length of the supply chain. GranBio also pursues scientific and technological solutions for several components of the agricultural and industrial production system. 56  z  special issue  december 2016

The company has already made important technological strides, such as constructing genetically modified yeast and varieties of sugarcane aimed at producing 2G ethanol. The Bioflex 1 plant was set up in São Miguel dos Campos in the northeastern state of Alagoas next to the Caeté Plant, which produces first-generation ethanol. GranBio obtains sugarcane straw from the Caeté Plant and three other plants in the region. Cellulosic ethanol is produced experimentally in only a few commercial plants around the world. Two commercial plants in the United States use the stems and leaves of maize as a raw material, and one in Italy uses wheat leaves. In July 2015, the Brazilian energy company Raízen opened a plant in the city of Piracicaba, São Paulo State that uses sugarcane bagasse and straw.


R & D Center Campinas, São Paulo State

Nº of Employees 18

Main products Development of technology for ethanol production from the leaves and stalks of sugarcane

léo ramos

GranBio’s initial strategy was to import technology from abroad to speed up the production process. A number of ingredients were chosen, such as yeast from the Dutch company DSM and enzymes from the Danish company Novozymes. At the same time, GranBio set up a research and development (R&D) center in Campinas. “What we do is convert science into technology,” says Gonçalo Amarante Guimarães Pereira, a GranBio partner and chief scientist at the company. At age 51, Pereira has been a professor at the Genomic and Expression Laboratory of the Institute of Biology of the University of Campinas (Unicamp) for 18 years. Most members of the research team he leads were recruited from the university. Currently, there are 18 researchers and technicians working

directly on R & D: eight doctoral degree holders, two master’s degree holders and four doctoral students. SPECIAL YEAST

The team led by Pereira was responsible for two recently announced technological achievements. The first is the development of a yeast strain capable of processing xylose, the sugar present in hemicellulose, one of the three main types of fiber in sugarcane leaves and stems along with cellulose and lignin. “In the first generation, the industrial yeast strain (of the Saccharomyces cerevisiae species) consumes the sucrose and fructose found in soluble form in sugarcane juice to produce ethanol; in bagasse, the sugars in the fibers of the leaves, such as xylose and pentose, are

not soluble and so the yeast does not recognize them,” says Pereira. To make yeast capable of processing xylose, the GranBio team developed a genetically modified strain with a gene from another microorganism—which they prefer not to reveal—and some modified genes of the Saccharomyces species itself. The modified organism was approved for commercial use by the general coordination office of the National Biosecurity Commission (CTNBio) in April, and its use is the subject of a patent filed with the Brazilian Industrial Property Institute (INPI). “We will start using genetically modified yeast on the production line in 2016.” The use of xylose, according to Pereira, produces a profit of approximately R$50 million annually for the company, which intends to pESQUISA FAPESP  z  57

1 In Pauliceia (São Paulo State), on the left, traditional sugarcane and, on the right, energy-sugarcane 2 Sugarcane straw in the molecular biology laboratory 3 Sugarcane samples in the analytical chemistry laboratory 4 Ethanol test in a biochemical analyzer 1

process 400,000 metric tons of biomass per year. “Glucose makes up 40% of this material, pentose approximately 35%, and xylose 25%, which translates into approximately 100 metric tons. For the second generation to be profitable, xylose and other sugars found in the straw and bagasse must be processed.” The yeast genetic engineering work was led by biologist Leandro Vieira dos Santos, 32. “We did a study to identify genes and combinations of genes that would induce Saccharomyces to consume xylose,” says Santos, who is working on a doctorate at Unicamp. Santos is a grad­ uate of the Federal University of Viçosa (UFV), where he received a master’s degree in microbiology. After working for two years at the biotechnology company Agrogenética, he decided to pursue a doctorate focusing on yeast. He contacted Pereira in 2011, when the researcher

was putting together the GranBio team. Today, with the yeast ready, Santos is working on perfecting it. The propagation of the microorganism and time scale are the work of biotechnology engineer Luige Calderon. He is originally from Peru, where he graduated from the Catholic University of Santa Maria in Arequipa. Calderon obtained a master’s degree from Unicamp and, in 2012, was recruited to work as a researcher at GranBio in the bioprocess area. “I select microorganisms using genetic and evolutionary engineering, and then develop, for example, the most appropriate means of cultivation,” Calderon explains. Yeast genetics also drew Osmar de Carvalho Netto to the company. He has a degree in food science from the University of São Paulo (USP) and a doctorate from Unicamp. He participated in the sequencing of

INSTITUTIONS FROM WHICH GRANBIO RESEARCHERS GRADUATED Gonçalo Amarante Guimarães Pereira, Chief Scientist (agronomist)

Federal University of Bahia (UFBA) - undergraduate University of São Paulo (USP) - master’s degree and post doctorate University of Düsseldorf, Germany - doctorate

José Bressiani, Agricultural Director (agronomist)

University of São Paulo (USP) - undergraduate, master’s and doctoral degrees

Osmar Carvalho Neto, Process Coordinator (food scientist)

University of São Paulo (USP) - undergraduate and master’s degrees University of Campinas (Unicamp) and University of Colorado, United States - doctorate

Leandro Vieira dos Santos, Researcher (biologist)

Federal University of Viçosa (UFV) - undergraduate and master’s degrees University of Campinas (Unicamp) - doctorate (in progress)

Luige Calderon, Researcher (biotechnology engineer)

Catholic University of Santa Maria, Peru - undergraduate degree University of Campinas (Unicamp) - master’s degree and doctorate (in progress)

58  z  special issue  december 2016


the Saccharomyces genome at Unicamp and thought about forming an industrial yeast company with Santos. “We were going to be one of GranBio’s suppliers, but they convinced us to join the company instead,” he says. He became the company’s process coordinator for areas such as fermentation, hydrolysis and pretreatment of biomass. He was also assigned to bridge the gap between research and corporate areas. “It had to be someone who understands the language of scientists and I now spend half my time on this. The other half is spent on process coordination,” he says. For example, he is involved in organizing tests, delivering materials and staying in touch with the plant, all which is conducted so that GranBio’s researchers can concentrate on research. BACK TO THE BEGINNING

In addition to yeast, another GranBio innovation was the energy-sugarcane introduced in August. This sugarcane is a new non-transgenic variety developed with traditional crosses between several other cultivars in collaboration with the University Network for the Development


Photos 1 Granbio 2, 3 and 4 Léo ramos


of the Sugar-Energy Sector (Ridesa) of Alagoas and the Campinas Institute of Agronomy (IAC). “We went back to the beginning of sugarcane breeding. Instead of increasing sugar in the juice, we boosted the amount of fiber in the plant. And so we have a more rustic sugarcane. It is taller, has harvest longevity, flowers less and is more disease-resistant as well as being harder,” says José Bressiani, an agronomist and the company’s agricultural director. Along with undergraduate, master’s and doctoral degrees in breeding from USP, Bressiani gained experience in producing sugarcane cultivars during his 15 years working at the Sugarcane Technology Center (CTC) and five years at Canavialis, part of the Monsanto group. “My job is to think about the biomass function for sugarcane plants. We are creating a plant that should have low production costs,” he says. Tests with energy-sugarcane, which bears the trade name Cana Vertix, are taking place in the Southeast, Northeast and Central-West of Brazil. The idea is that, in the future, specific sugarcane varieties will be used only to produce 2G ethanol and to generate electric energy

As of August 2015, the company had produced 3 million liters of ethanol just from sugarcane straw

by burning waste. Initially, only the straw of Cana Vertix will be used. After mechanical harvesting of the sugarcane, the straw is left behind on top of the soil. It dries after a few days, after which it is either collected and transported to the 2G plant or stockpiled for several months. Technological advances and the growth of GranBio increased the importance of the R & D center, which is now a subsidiary known as BioCelere. The formation of BioCelere began in March of 2010 with a conversation between Pereira, Bernardo Gradin, president of GranBio, and Alan Hiltner, executive vice president of GranBio. Gradin was stepping down as president of Braskem and wanted to invest in biotechnology and 2G ethanol. “We were at a restaurant and on the back of the check I outlined what the future GranBio could do in the scientific field. He liked it and then invited me to be one of the partners,” says Pereira. The two had met before—they served together in the Army in Bahia. They were reunited in 2007 when Pereira coordinated a project between Unicamp and Braskem on renewable propylene (raw material for the production of plastics) made with sugarcane for the Partnership for Technological Innovation (PITE) of FAPESP. GranBio’s investment has already reached $265 million for a production capacity of 82 million liters per year. As of August 2015, ethanol production had reached a total of 3 million liters. It was not as high as we had hoped because some industrial processes needed improvement. “But we have already found solutions and are going to implement them in early 2016,” says Pereira. n pESQUISA FAPESP  z  59

Photography y

A 19th century letter on the Cartesian table. Below, text transcription for the study of period Portuguese

60  z  special issue  december 2016

Recording writing A new method facilitates the transformation of historical handwritten documents into digital files Published in april 2015

photos  Lapelinc


he challenges involved with handling rare historical documents and manuscripts led a group of researchers from the State University of Southwestern Bahia (UESB) to develop a photographic method that facilitates the transcription and analysis of texts from previous eras. "There are old documents and books for which the traditional methods of obtaining an image through scanning can damage or even destroy the original, because they often require folding it or removing it from its bindings in order to place it on a scanner," says Professor Jorge Viana Santos of the UESB Corpus Linguistics Research Laboratory (Lapelinc). The researchers study 19th century official registry books and documents, texts that have been handled often over the years and are very fragile. "Unlike with photography, in scanning the document must adapt to the device, and not the opposite," he says. There is software currently available that is able to convert typed or printed text into a text file using a method called optical character recognition (OCR), which takes the scanned image of a document as its input. This cannot be done with documents written by hand. The new method, created by Professor Santos in collaboration with fellow UESB Professor Cristiane Namiuti Tempon, begins with a photograph of the text. Before taking the photo, the document is placed on a flat sheet of gray

plastic with millimeter markings that allow the computer to identify the exact measurements of the document. Color tone scales, cataloging, pagination and sequence information are also placed on this Cartesian table. The document page can be displayed on the computer with all of this information or with the handwritten part only. Details on the screen

Through photography, software (also developed at Lapelinc) transposes the document from the physical world to the digital one. It interprets this data, recovering the colors and tones of the original document and recreating them on the computer screen. Thus, the method translates historical handwritten documents into electronic texts suitable for scientific research. One advantage of the Lapelinc Method is the ease with which the original text can be magnified on the computer screen, allowing researchers to check details or answer questions about the writing. These digital documents can be consulted several times without damaging the historical materials. According to Santos, the new method contributes to analyses performed by paleographers or specialists who study the language of a text, transcribe it, and translate it to modern Portuguese, if necessary. Corpus linguistics (the study of electronic texts) requires that the documents studied be in text format, allowing research-

ers to compile corpora (the plural of corpus) for automated linguistic analysis. "Our method allows compilation of an electronic corpus, forming a database in which each word can be identified and labeled, facilitating the linguist's work when searching for the object of study; for example, nouns and verbs can be tagged," says Santos. "The historian can read the text in modern Portuguese, but the linguist wants to know how the text was written in the original language, to analyze the patterns and evolution of the language." Development of the Lapelinc method began in 2008 and is ongoing. Text transcription and editing functions must still be incorporated into the software. The system created at UESB could also be useful to other academic institutions and even to businesses. "We do research, and external or commercial support would not change our work, but a prototype could lead to a product, since the method could result in a patent. We are currently wrapping up development," explains Santos. The project was financed by the Bahia Research Foundation (FAPESB), the National Council for Scientific and Technological Development (CNPq) and the university itself. n Marcos de Oliveira

Article Santos, J. V. and Brito, G. S. Fotografia técnica de documentos para formação de corpora digitais eletrônicos: o método desenvolvido no Lapelinc. Letras & Letras. V. 30, No. 2, p. 421-30. July/Dec. 2014.


Illustrations Mariza

62 z special issue  december 2016

humanities   SOCIOLOGY y

Days of fury New study by José de Souza Martins reveals that more than a million Brazilians have taken part in or attempted an act of lynching Juliana Sayuri Published in april 2015


t was the second day of January 1998, a 58-year-old stonemason had his arms tied behind his back with barbed wire and was lynched by a mob in Caboto, in the metropolitan region of Salvador, after having argued with and wounded two neighbors with a scythe. On February 14, 2008: a teen, age 15, was beaten up by other inmates at the Fundação Casa in Franco da Rocha, in metropolitan São Paulo; the assailants thought he had “ratted” on other offenders. On May 3, 2014, a young mother, 33, was brutally assaulted on the beach at Guarujá, on the southern coast of São Paulo, having been mistaken for an alleged kidnapper of children who was practicing “black magic.” After being reported in the press, these stories became mere statistics. Over the past 60 years, more than a million Brazilians have taken part in— or attempted—an act of lynching. This finding, a symptom of a disease that afflicts Brazilian society, is the conclusion reached by sociologist José de Souza Martins, who has spent more than three decades studying lynchings in Brazil. “The frequency of lynchings in Brazil demands that we learn more about vig-

ilantism, a practice endemic in our society,” says the author of Linchamentos: a justiça popular no Brasil (Lynchings: Vigilantism in Brazil) (Contexto, 2015), a study funded by FAPESP and the National Council for Scientific and Technological Development (CNPq). Professor emeritus from the USP Faculty of Philosophy, Languages and Literature, and Human Sciences (FFLCHUSP), Martins began his research into lynchings in the 1970s while he was investigating the conflicts and tensions characteristic of the social movements taking place in Brazil’s interior regions, especially along the borders of the state of Amazonas, where he observed outbreaks of looting and vigilante practices. He incorporated many other incidents into his study, some actually documented in the press, along with three field studies carried out in the interior regions of the state of São Paulo, in western Santa Catarina State, and in the scrublands of Bahia State. Over the years, he developed a catalog of 2,028 cases, which focused primarily on the years between 1945 and 1998. During that period, 2,579 individuals were the targets of either attempted pESQUISA FAPESP z  63

or consummated lynchings. Only 1,150 (44.6%) people were rescued (by police in more than 90% of the cases). Another 1,221 (47.3%) were overcome by public fury, beaten, and attacked with clubs and rocks and by kicking and punching, in that order and in that progression. There were even extreme cases in which eyes were gouged out, ears cut off, or men castrated. Martins’ unprecedented study reveals that among these, 782 (64%) died and 439 (36%) were wounded. Martins argues that his figures show that lynching has become part of Brazilian social reality and is gradually becoming less anomalous. In other words, a day of fury, once a rare event, has now become a daily occurrence referred to in the plural: days of fury. Parallel to the main body of his research, the sociologist followed up on 2,505 other episodes, updating his data through 2014. He adopted an experimental procedure: the daily monitoring of incidents. He also enriched his study with research conducted in other countries at different periods of time, having consulted libraries and archives in England, Italy, and France. In addition, he reviewed bibliographic information from the US—the principal theoretical model in the field; after all, the roots of the term “lynching” date back to the 18th-century Lynch Law. The term reached Brazil in the 19th century. “The first lynching that occurred in Brazil was recorded in 1585. At the time, such an act was not called “lynching.” Instead, it referred to a practice already found in various countries that causes a mob to kill someone for some reason,” Martins says. “The Americans have compiled the largest number of studies, but they are limited to certain fields. Mainly they wanted to find out who was lynched, who performed the lynching, and what was the likely cause,” says Martins, who expanded the scope of his analysis by using 189 fields to collect data in an effort to thoroughly probe the sociological environment surrounding lynchings. As a sociologist, Martins keeps in mind that one should study lynching not to judge but rather to determine whether or not a lynching is comprehensible, i.e., to understand the participants’ point of view. “Lynching is a cowardly form of capital punishment. The victim of the person being lynched is already dead 64 z special issue  december 2016

or has been violated. A crowd gathers to do justice on behalf of that victim and reacts against a situation that, in their milieu, has become morally intolerable,” he explains. “Someone who lynches realizes that he is committing a crime. If the lynching takes place in broad daylight, there will be fewer participants. At night, however, the number of participants almost doubles—and the degree of cruelty increases—since there is an expectation of impunity. Getting involved is an irrational act, but in the hearts of the participants there is an awareness of what is right and what is wrong. People think they are punishing someone who, from their perspective, deserves to be punished. At the same time, they realize that they are not the ones who should be administering the punishment.” Razor’s Edge

To Martins, lynchings are an expression of a crisis of social disintegration. “The crimes that provoke lynchings are interpreted by the lynchers as crimes against the human condition. They are not everyday crimes like stealing a wallet,” he says. “If someone rapes a child, for example, that means that rules were broken and that the police and justice system have failed. The public finds itself between blind justice and cynical justice—a justice system that the public can no longer accept and that de-legitimizes the principle that crime must be confronted. And this leads to explosions of public fury.” Martins places lynching in the arena of collective behavior and, at the same time, within the realm of a community crime committed between the multitude and the anti-multitude. “It means that in this society people are living like outlaws, as defined by sociologist Everett Stonequist. These are people who are living on the razor’s edge of social transition, in a society that is based on societal relationships of a contractual nature that explode from time to time with mob behaviors, but is also structured as a community and family-oriented world,” he says. According to Martins, the major cities of São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, and Salvador rank highest in number of lynchings. This information is consistent with the survey conducted by the USP Center for the Study of Violence, which, between 1980 and 2006, counted 580 lynchings in the state of São Paulo, 204 in Rio de Janeiro, and 180 in Bahia.

“It typically occurs in the larger cities but is committed in the name of small-town values,” Martins observes. In his latest book, the sociologist presents original insights developed from a cross-referencing of the 189 fields he investigated. For example he identifies what he calls the “durability of hate” – in 70% of the cases, hate lasts apTo Martins, proximately 20 minlynchings are utes; later, it can extend for 24 hours. In an expression other cases, it might even persist for more of a crisis than a month, or a year; such is the imof social pact of the original disintegration crime that provoked it. “In general, lynching is not a premeditated crime. It is committed while people are in an emotional state provoked by the original crime,” he who was crying in the street by giving says. The author also introduces a “cru- him a banana. That was all it took for a elty index” that he uses to illustrate the resident to identify her as the “witch of contrast between blacks and whites: “If the coast.” In a matter of minutes, she the motivation is the same, an offender, was surrounded by thousands of raving, whether white or black, will be a tar- violent people. “People have ultramodget of lynching. However, if the offend- ern media available, but they live in a er is black, a greater degree of cruelty completely rustic world. A lynching is is involved, which may include actions attempted every day in Brazil. There such as gouging out the eyes, or cutting are no rules. And so people invent ad off the ears or penis of the accused,” he hoc rules to do ‘justice’ here and now,” says. Contrary to what one might think, he says, critically. however, financial status is not much of At 76, José de Souza Martins has puba factor in these cases: both the wealthy lished more than 30 books. Recently, he and the poor take part in lynchings, and also released Diário de uma terra lontana individuals from both classes are victims (Diary of a Distant Country) (Fundaof lynchings. ção Pró-Memória, 2015) and Desavessos: crônicas de curtas palavras (Misfortunes: Chronicles in Short Words) (Com-Arte All Against One There is an immense amount of folklore Editora Laboratório, 2014). Martins is behind lynchings, which today is aggra- now working on another book, this one vated by multimedia tools. The case of about the ritual dimensions of lynchFabiane Maria, brutally lynched in Gua- ings as a sacrificial blood rite. A sociolorujá, became symbolic because of the gist with an anthropological sensibility, presence of smartphone cameras. The Martins plans to decipher the “protocol” “news” that a blond woman was kidnap- that is implicit in lynchings. “There is a ping children to use in witchcraft spread sequence. First, pursue. Suddenly, 2, 3, via the Internet, and Fabiane, a brunette or 4 become 8, 9, 10, or 100. All against who had put red streaks in her hair on a one. If the accused is too far away, people sunny Saturday afternoon, passed by a throw stones. If he’s closer, they take up friend’s house to pick up a Bible, stopped clubs, sticks—a cane or a broom, whatat a little shop and, in a series of coin- ever is handy. Then comes the beating cidences, paused to console a little boy with kicks and punches. In the logic of

a lynching, there is no such thing as ‘giving up.’ The lynchers attack, but they stop and wait for the subject to appear defeated. If the victim stirs for even a minute, they attack again.” So far, Martins has found that 7.8% of the cases he has studied involved the lynching of an innocent party—a high rate, in his opinion. The final impression is that, in a fractured society, anyone at all could become influenced by the violent impulses of a mob. “In Santa Catarina, there was an attempt to lynch a judge from the Superior Court who was there on vacation with his family, because he was using an official car. A priest in the Ipiranga neighborhood of São Paulo was surrounded by furious parents because he wouldn’t let the kids play in the church courtyard. This proves that no one is immune to a lynching,” he concludes. n

Projects 1. Conditions of the sociological study of lynchings in Brazil (No. 96/09765-2); Grant Mechanism Regular Research Grant; Principal Investigator José de Souza Martins (USP Faculty of Philosophy, Languages and Literature, and Human Sciences); Investment R$11,725.73 (FAPESP). 2. Lynchings in Brazil (No. 94/03202-0); Grant Mechanism Regular Research Grant; Principal Investigator José de Souza Martins (USP Faculty of Philosophy, Languages and Literature, and Human Sciences); Investment R$4,311.02 (FAPESP).



A difficult

Study shows rising ignorance about the democratic system Published in september 2015


uring Brazil’s most recent elections, held on October 26, 2014, more than 100 million Brazilians flocked to the polls to choose their representatives. Days later, a team of researchers from several universities went into the field to investigate the relationship between voters and the representative political system. Since 2002, this study— which has ties to the University of Michigan through an international agreement— has been conducted after the results of each election cycle have been determi66  z special issue  december 2016

ned. “We want to analyze to what extent democracy is viewed as a system that satisfies citizens,” says political scientist Rachel Meneguello, a professor with the Department of Political Science at the University of Campinas (Unicamp), a researcher with Unicamp’s Center for Studies on Public Opinion (Cesop), and the study’s coordinator. One of the key aspects of this research project is the Brazilian Electoral Study (ESEB), a nationwide survey last conducted between November 1 and 18, 2014, when 3,136 interviewees were

asked questions concerning their support to democracy (and its definition), voter memory, party preference, and political representation. In 2002, the year in which Workers’ Party (PT) candidate Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva was elected to his first term as president, approximately 59.1% of Brazilians preferred democracy as a political system, 15.6% were open to the possibility of a dictatorship, 15.2% replied “either,” and 9.9% did not know how to answer. In 2010, during the transition from President Lula to Dilma Rousseff, adhesion to democracy




Voter preferences

Illustrations daniel kondo

Nationwide survey of 3,136 voters shows decline in support to democracy in 2014 (%) skyrocketed to 78.5%, while 8.7% did not oppose a return to an authoritarian regime. In 2014, however, the preference for democracy fell back to 65.2%. “A comparison must be made with other data from this research,” Meneguello says. “The portion who thinks a dictatorship is preferable to democracy in some situations went up [from 8.7% to 10.5%], but it’s still low. At the same time, the percentage of those who don’t know how to define a democratic regime climbed substantially, from 25.1% in 2010 to 47.8% in 2014.” These results, in addition to the

n Democracy  n Dictatorship  n Either  n Don’t know/No answer 78,5

















16,3 8,1


Sources: ESEB-CSES Collection, 2002-2014. Cesop/Unicamp Database


fact that fewer than half of those surveyed (40.7%) said they were satisfied with how democracy was working, signal discontent with Brazil’s current regime. “Preferring democracy does not mean being happy with it,” Meneguello notes. “Moreover, we received different responses about the definition of democracy,” says Valeriano Mendes Ferreira Costa, a member of the research team at Unicamp. “Is it about rights and duties? About justice? Kinds of freedom? This is a time of diminished belief in democracy, which is understandable given the current conjuncture, political polarization, weakened identification with parties (including PT), general political fallout, and the economic crisis. There have been a series of fluctuations to take into account but no steady downward trend in support for democracy,” adds Ferreira Costa. The preference for democracy had been increasing continuously until 2010, while a drop was detected only between 2010 and 2014. From the perspective of political scientists, this reversal reveals a paradox, which is now the main question to be explored. In other words, following a period during which policies meant to foster inclusion, expand rights, and reduce inequality were broadly disseminated as the basic elements of democratic construction in Brazil, the benchmarks associated with strengthening democracy grew more nebulous, increasing the portion of the public that does not know how to define a democratic system. Meneguello observes that fluctuations in voter perceptions of democracy have to do with the current administration’s cornerstone policy. During the two terms of office of former President Fernando Henrique Cardoso (Brazilian SocialDemocratic Party, or PSDB), economic stability was one of the most widely recognized values associated with the democratization of Brazil, along with direct elections. Under the more recent PT administrations, social policies moved to the forefront. While support for democracy did not change among voters polled in 2014, results still showed less adhesion to the prevailing form of government and a decline in public understanding of democracy. “If we analyze the jump from 2002 to 2010 [when support for democracy increased from 59.1% to 78.5%], we have to remember that we were in a time of acquiring rights and 68  z special issue  december 2016

Fluctuations in perceptions of democracy are related to the current administration’s cornerstone policy

greater socioeconomic inclusion. The data for 2014 suggest that during this period, the public lost sight of what constitutes the benchmarks of democracy,” Meneguello says. Meneguello is wary of drawing any links between the results of the study and the protests and political crisis of 2015. “The data from 2014 cannot be analyzed from the perspective of what happened afterwards. However, the survey did indicate discontent,” she says. In her opinion, one telling sign was that the percentage of interviewees who considered themselves represented by a political party fell by half from 2010 to 2014, that is, from 57.9% to 26.4%. Mistrust

A primary focus of the study is on the representative capacity of the electoral system. “We have a tradition of presidentialism in Brazil. The voter remembers his vote for the Executive office but very often forgets the candidate he chose for the legislature not long after the elections,” Meneguello adds. According to Meneguello, data from the study indicate mistrust of the very workings of representative institutions: in 2010, 25.6% of citizens gave Congress a positive evaluation, but in 2014 this figure dropped to 16.8%. In her assessment, “this means the relationship between the citizen and the political system is bad.” However, there is no major crisis regarding the

value of voter participation and choice: in 2014, 79.1% of citizens believed their vote held the power to bring about change; in 2010, this number was 71%. In addition to the analyses made possible by Eseb data, the project encompasses other lines of research and involves political scientists from a number of universities: Meneguello, Ferreira, and Oswaldo Estanislau do Amaral from Unicamp; Maria Teresa Miceli Kerbauy from São Paulo State University (Unesp); Pedro Floriano Ribeiro and Maria do Socorro Sousa Braga from the Federal University of São Carlos (UFSCar), and Bruno Wilhelm Speck from the University of São Paulo (USP). A second project was dedicated to a first-of-its-kind Brazilian study about the internal workings of political organizations, evaluating the role of political party activism and party membership in the state of São Paulo, where Brazil’s 32 active parties maintain a presence. A total of 445 voters belonging to São Paulo’s 10 largest parties were surveyed. One study indicator showed that party activists are quite participative: 92.1% of PT members were involved in at least one party event during 2013 and this high rate was echoed by PSDB (90.2%), the Brazilian Socialist Party (PSB; 82.8%), and the Democratic Labor Party (PDT; 82.4%), among others. There are a variety of theories that attempt to explain voter behavior around

the world. One contends that the economy is the determining factor in elecIn 2014, over 40% of those surveyed did not remember the candidate they tions. Researchers affiliated with the had chosen for state and federal representative just weeks after the election Unicamp-led project take other contextual variables into consideration, such as socioeconomic structures. Although they n 2002  n 2006  n 2010  n 2014 45,3 43,5 43,2 do not ignore the weight of the econo40,7 my and the role of institutions, they also 34,5 33,7 consider approaches that recognize the 28,5 *In 2006 and 2014, only impact of different levels of social reality 27,9 26,8 one-third of the Senate on individual political behavior. was up for election “Generally speaking, the economy is 15,9 an extremely important factor behind 11,8 voter behavior, but in itself it cannot ac10,2 7,3 count for the different choices voters 5,6 make,” says Bruno Bolognesi, a researcher with both the Research Group on Brazilian Political Sociology, of the Federal Did not remember Did not remember Did not remember Did not remember vote for vote for vote for vote for University of Paraná (Nusp/UFPR), and SENATOR 2nd SENATOR* FEDERAL REP. STATE REP. the Research Group on Latin American Political Parties (Nepla/UFSCar). “Various factors have to be investigated.” Meneguello calls attention to another A gamut of answers issue: “We’re working with individual Regime preference according to definitions of democracy (2010-2014) data, with people’s perceptions. If voters feel the economy is doing well, they vote for government leader X. If the economy is doing poorly, they think: ‘I’m going to Democracy is always better In some situations, Either/ lose my job; I don’t have any economic than any a dictatorship Neither prospects’, and they vote for candidate other form of is better than a of the two Definitions of government democracy is better Don’t know democracy Y. However, it’s not just that. People have political ideologies, beliefs, and values.” 2010 2014 2010 2014 2010 2014 2010 2014 According to Valeriano Ferreira Costa, Rights and duties/ this observation is particularly true beSocial rights/ Citizenship 86,8% 90,6% 5% 3,8% 4,4% 7,1% 2,4% 0% cause the last elections came at a time Form of government/ of political polarization. “The economy Procedures 82,4% 88% 9,3% 5,6% 0,6% 2,8% 8,9% 2,5% for governing matters, but so do ideological and party identification. In 2014, for example, why 8,9% 2% 2% Freedom to come and go 87,1% 82,7% 11,55 5,8% 0% did so many people vote for Aécio Neves [who received 48.35% of the votes], if the Freedom of expression economy was apparently doing well then 8,9% 11,5% 4% 2,5% 84,6% 81,9% 5,3% 1,2% and opinion under [President] Dilma [Rousseff ]? In 2006, given the ‘mensalão’ vote-buying Right to vote 78,6% 79,8% 10,3% 12,5% 6,9% 5,8% 4,1% 1,9% scandal, why did so many people re-elect Unity of the population/ Lula?” the researcher asks. “After all, A victory of the people/ 94,3% 81,8% 2,9% 2,9% 0% 9,1% 4,5% 4,5% Struggle the vote expresses the voter’s opinion. For a long time, in the 1970s, democratic Freedom of choice/ 6,1% 6,1% 1,5% 86,3% 84% 11,2% 3,6% 1,2% studies only looked at socioeconomic Right to choose indicators— which explain a lot but not Freedom in general 90% 87,5% 6% 0% 4% 10% 2,5% 0% everything. In the end, our public opinion research highlights this dimension: opinion matters.” n Justice/ Equality/ Respect 74,3% 74,6% 14,3% 18,3% 0% 5,6% 14,3% 1,4%

Sources ESEB-CSES Collection, 2002-2014. Cesop / Unicamp Database

Voter memory

Responses critical of democracy in Brazil Other answers Don’t know

45,5% 58,3%

36,4% 20,8%












60,9% 47,8%








Project The organization and functioning of representative politics in the State of São Paulo between 1994 and 2014 (No. 2012/19330-8); Grant Mechanism Thematic grant; Principal Investigator Rachel Meneguello (Cesop-Unicamp); Investment R$854,931.60 (FAPESP).


History y

A new edition of the first book by the historian Sérgio Buarque de Holanda makes clear his preference for rewriting his works Marcos Pivetta Published in april 2015

70  z special issue  december 2016


ne of the most respected Brazilian intellectuals of the 20th century, Sérgio Buarque de Holanda (1902-1982) was almost never completely satisfied with what he had written. A literary critic who came into his own as an official historian between the late 1940s and the early 1950s, he liked to rewrite his books and often gave new forms and endings to old texts or texts still being written. For example, between 1957 and 1958, he was forced to dedicate six long months to the task of producing a thesis that would allow him to hold the History of Brazilian Civilization chair at the University of São Paulo (USP). To fulfill these academic obligations, he expanded the introduction to his book – already underway – on the Brazilian baroque period of the 17th and 18th centuries (some of these writings would become his posthumous work Capítulos de literatura colonial [Chapters in Colonial Literature], published only in 1991) and transformed it into Visão do paraíso (Vision of Paradise). Defended in 1958, the dissertation became a book the following year and was one of his most significant works, along with Raízes do Brasil (Roots of Brazil) (1936), Caminhos e fronteiras (Highways and Borders) (1957) and Do Império à República (From Empire to Republic) (1972). The year 2015 marks seventy years since Buarque de Holanda launched his first book as a historian, Monções (Monsoons), which

discusses the river expeditions that departed from São Paulo and that moved westward during the colonial period. For a good part of his life, he attempted to rewrite the book, but he never managed to complete this goal. In early 2015, a new edition of Monções (Companhia das Letras) (Monsoons), 624 pages, arrived at bookstores. More than just commemorating the anniversary of the original, this revision allows the reader to glimpse the ongoing revisions the author made to his work. Compiled over the last two years by historian Laura de Mello e Souza and her former student André Sekkel Cerqueira, the new two-volume version presents, in a brand new way, Buarque de Holanda’s most important findings on the westward expansion by colonists in São Paulo. The first volume contains the original text as it appeared in published form in 1945. The second, called Capítulos de expansão paulista (Chapters on the westward expansion from São Paulo), brings together three chapters of Monções that were rewritten by the author (probably in the 1960s and 1970s) with other texts, some of them incomplete, that made up the book O extremo Oeste (The Far West). O extremo Oeste was named in 1986 by historian José Sebastião Witter (who died in July 2014), a disciple and friend of Buarque de Holanda. “For decades, Buarque de Holanda dreamed of rewriting Monções, a work that was a companion to him throughout his life,” says Mello e Souza, who retired from USP


Monções (almost) rewritten

For decades, Sérgio Buarque de Holanda dreamed of rewriting Monções, his book on the westward expansion from São Paulo State during the colonial period

in 2014 and currently holds the the History of Brazil chair at the University of Paris-Sorbonne. “Probably because he was a perfectionist and held himself to a very high standard, he could never complete this task.” One less plausible hypothesis is that the historian became bored with the topic, and he gave up the task at the end of his life. Of the six original chapters that make up Monções, Buarque de Holanda managed to rewrite the first (“Os caminhos do sertão” [Backland roads]), the second (“O transporte fluvial” [River transport]) and the fifth (“As estradas móveis” [Mobile highways]). In addition to undergoing changes in style, the three chapters were lengthened by the addition of new data and documentation collected by the historian; these chapters were lengthened by 40, 17 and 37 pages, respectively. Only the new version of the book’s first chapter, “Os caminhos do sertão,” published as an article in the journal Revista de História in 1964, was completely finished, including a full bibliography. In March 2014, as the research was almost complete, Cerqueira found the original versions of the two rewritten chapters of Monções among documents in the Coleção Sérgio Buarque de Holanda (Sérgio Buarque de Holanda Collection) at the Cesar Lattes Central Library of the University of Campinas (Unicamp). Monções may be the most representative example of Buarque de Holanda’s incessant quest to update and improve his books in response to new documents or interpretations of historical events. Paradoxically, despite his best efforts, the historian was able to rewrite the book only partially. “In the 1970s, after having located a lot of material on the expansion westward from São Paulo and reworking some sections of Monções, Buarque de Holanda decided to write another book on the pESQUISA FAPESP z  71


topic instead of rewriting this one,” says Cerqueira. The draft of this other book included the incomplete and undigested texts that became the work cited above, O extremo Oeste.

Book on the formative years of Sérgio Buarque de Holanda (left) and the new edition of Monções: the scholar’s writings revisited


As the daughter of Antonio Candido and Gilda de Mello e Souza, who were friends of the Holanda family in São Paulo, Laura De Mello e Souza had frequent opportunities to visit the Holanda family thanks to this close relationship. She remembers once visiting the historian alone, and, in the course of their conversation, Buarque de Holanda, seated in his armchair in his living room, pulled out from his pocket several pages from a notebook that contained notes he had written and rewritten by hand over time. “He showed me the pages and explained that this was how he wrote,” Mello e Souza remembers. “I grabbed the chance and asked what he was writing. He answered that he was rewriting Monções.” Drafting was not an easy process for Buarque de Holanda, who might take up to a week before he was comfortable with the final version of a paragraph, as Mello e Souza recalls in the preface of the new edition of Monções. Buarque de Holanda was obsessed with the idea of rewriting this book for approximately 40 years, according to Mello e Souza and Cerqueira. In 1965, the already famous historian and USP professor, at the age of 62, made a plan to move forward with this personal goal. He produced a proposal and sent a typed

two-page letter to FAPESP, which three years before had begun operations on the 14th floor of a building on the Paulista avenue. Mello e Souza and Cerqueira reproduce, in its entirety, Buarque de Holanda’s request for a new edition of Monções (FAPESP authorized this after obtaining the consent of Buarque de Holanda’s children). Dated January 29, 1965, the letter is a defense of his plan to collect more data and documentation on river navigation between São Paulo and Cuiabá during the colonial period, an undertaking that the historian estimated would take approximately 18 months. The proposal was essentially intended to cover expenses related to travel, food

and lodging for trips to Rio de Janeiro – the main location of important public archives such as the National Library and the Instituto Histórico e Geográfico Brasileiro (Brazilian Historical and Geographical Institute) – and to Cuiabá, where he would do “meticulous research in the archive of manuscripts held in the Mato Grosso State Library and Public Archives.” With this new field research, Buarque de Holanda believed that he would have what he needed to produce a revised second edition of Monções. There was some urgency in producing an updated version of the book. In his request for support, the historian confirms that the first edition had been sold out for some time. He had only one copy of it himself. In justifying funding for the project, Buarque de Holanda wrote in the script of the time “that the planned research, aimed at clarifying some of the more important aspects related to how Brazil was unified through the connecting of the Plata and Amazonas river basins, would also help to explain Brazil’s formation, illuminating the present through a study of the past.” Buarque de Holanda’s timeline for the work is ambitious. He says that, “barring unforeseen events,” the fieldwork would be completed in 1965, and the new edition of the book would be ready by mid1966. The second version of Monções would be published by Livraria José Olímpio, in its Coleção Documentos Brasileiros (Brazilian Documents Collection), according to the historian. In

Printed invitation from the University of Rome to a lecture given by Sérgio Buarque de Holanda: the historian lived in Italy from 1952 to 1954 2

72  z special issue  december 2016

Attn: To the Director of FAPESP Dear Sir, The research project for which I am taking the liberty of requesting funding from the São Paulo Research Foundation is focused on gathering sources of information that pertain to river navigation between São Paulo and the far west of Brazil in the 18th and 19th centuries. Toward this aim, meticulous research in the archive of manuscripts held in the Mato Grosso State Library and Public Archives, located in Cuiabá, as well as at the National Library – “Morgado de Mateus Archives” – and the Brazilian Historical and Geographical Institute will be needed (...) (...) received in microfilm, Excerpts from the 1965 request for research funding sent to FAPESP by the historian: the proposal received the equivalent of R$8,400

begun some time ago. As this is strictly a personal 3

matter, however, it is impossible and seemingly unnecessary to indicate a

photos 1 eduaro cesar 2 siarq / unicamp 3 Reproduced from the book Monções

substitute or even an assistant.

response to his request, project number 65/0223-4 was approved in June 1965 and received funding from FAPESP in the amount of 550,000 cruzeiros, which is currently about R$8,400 in reais, according to the conversion rate found on the Central Bank of Brazil’s website. However, certain unforeseen events occurred. For reasons that are still not completely understood today, Buarque de Holanda never managed to finish the new version of his book. He did produce some writings about the westward expansion from São Paulo, based on material collected not only during his trips to the former national capital and the State of Mato Grosso but also during visits to Paraguay and Portugal. Although the book was not rewritten in the way the historian initially wanted, new versions of Monções were published. A second edition, with almost the same content as the 1945 version, was published in 1976. A third version, yet another remix of the original version, with the addition of an appendix containing the three rewritten chapters, reached the market in 1990.

The current edition represents the fourth version of the original work. “When he died, I think he was working on some rewrites,” says Sérgio Buarque de Holanda Jr., known as Sergito, who is a retired professor from the USP School of Economics, Business Administration and Accounting (FEA), and one of the historian’s seven children. “But, he didn’t talk a lot about his work with his children.”

I am attaching my request for registration, duly completed, as well as a summary of the necessary funding and an excerpt from the work mentioned above, and with sincere appreciation for your support, I remain Sincerely yours, Sérgio Buarque de Holanda


Thiago Lima Nicodemo – who earned his undergraduate and graduate degrees from USP and, since 2014, has been a professor at Rio de Janeiro State University (UERJ) – is an historian of the new generation who has been studying the work of Buarque de Holanda for the last 15 years. He agrees that the professor was always extending, editing and amending his writings. “He wanted to create a coherent intellectual legacy,” says Nicodemo. “He was a true perfectionist.” According to Nicodemo, Buarque de Holanda tried to reinforce the historical nature of his oldest work, the

predominant tone of which had been influenced by his perspective as a literary critic and essayist, by including notes and documents taken from new publications and archives. “After publishing Monções, Buarque de Holanda rewrote Raízes do Brasil with this concern in mind,” he says. “In subsequent versions of the book, he attempted to water down the essay style of Raízes, generating more cohesion with his new perspective as a professional historian.” In 2008, Nicodemo published a book on Buarque de Holanda’s intellectual pESQUISA FAPESP z  73

siarq / unicamp

journey over the course of the 1950s, after Holanda wrote Visão do paraíso. This month, he is publishing another book on Holanda, Alegoria moderna – Crítica literária e história da literatura na obra de Sérgio Buarque de Holanda (Modern Allegory – Literary Criticism and the History of Literature in the Works of Sérgio Buarque de Holanda) (Editora FAP-Unifesp, 384 pages). In this book, he focuses on the historian’s formative years – it would be more accurate to say decades – that laid the groundwork for his works as a literary critic and steadily pushed him to the boundaries of history. Alegoria moderna grew out of research Nicodemo conducted for his dissertation at USP, supported by funding from FAPESP, in the early 2010s. “I analyzed the relationship between Buarque de Holanda’s output of literary criticism and historical writings, using, as core documents, articles published in newspapers like Diário de Notícias and Diário Carioca, and works published between 1940 and 1961,” says Nicodemo, who also works as a researcher at the Institute of Brazilian Studies (IEB) at USP. Before he finally embraced the work of research in archives and the search for sources and documents on which he could base his historical research on

74  z special issue  december 2016

Brazil, Buarque de Holanda worked as a journalist, essayist and literary critic. Since the 1920s, when he was active as a militant in the modernist movement in São Paulo and became friends with Mário de Andrade, he had become interested in writing, an activity to which he would dedicate himself two decades later. “In the 1940s, he wrote literary criticism to survive, publishing the most between 1948 and 1952,” says Nicodemo. When he accepted the History of Brazilian Civilization chair at USP in 1958, his activities as a literary critic, which had been decreasing during the preceding years, came to a definitive stop, according to Nicodemo. While conducting research, Nicodemo spent some time in Italy, where Buarque lived between 1952 and 1954 and where he taught at the University of Rome. In Italy, the literary critic who was becoming a historian came into contact with archives and bibliographical sources that were useful to him in his work analyzing literary texts produced in the Portuguese colony. “Many of the poetic forms used by Luso-Brazilian authors in the 17th and 18th centuries originated in Italy, as is the case, for example, of the arcade movement,” says the UERJ researcher. New editions of books by Buarque de Holanda, and more books about the lit-

erary critic and historian, are expected to appear soon. Pedro Meira Monteiro, a full professor at Princeton University, where he teaches classes in Latin American studies with a specific emphasis on Brazilian literature, is preparing a biography of Buarque de Holanda. Monteiro, who edited a book of correspondence between Buarque de Holanda and Mário de Andrade in 2012, is also working with anthropologist Lilia Schwarcz of USP on an annotated critical edition of Raízes do Brasil. Buarque de Holanda’s most well-known work turns 80 in 2016. If Monções deserved a shiny new version when it reached its 70th birthday, the 80th birthday of the most classic work of one of the most important Brazilian thinkers of all time is a good reason to get reacquainted with his life and work. n Projects 1. A sense of the past: history and literary criticism in the works of Sérgio Buarque de Holanda (1940-1961) (2006/50659-5); Grant Mechanism Fellowships in Brazil – Doctoral; Principal Investigator Raquel Glezer (FFLCH-USP); Recipient Thiago Lima Nicodemo (FFLCH-USP); Investment R$133,153.80. 2. River navigation between São Paulo and Cuiabá in the XIX and XX centuries (65/0223-4); Grant Mechanism Regular Research Grand; Principal Investigator Sérgio Buarque de Holanda (USP); Investment 550,000 cruzeiros, currently about R$8,400.

Research notes of Sérgio Buarque de Holanda from his Italian period: an important phase in his life during which he came into contact with archives and bibliographical sources


Forest lace Arildo Dias obtained this image by cutting and dyeing the stem of a liana (climbing vine) as part of his doctoral studies on plant biology at the University of Campinas (Unicamp). The areas in red are fibers (used for structural support) as well as vessel elements of xylem, the water-transporting tissue of plants. The blue areas consist mostly of sugar-transporting phloem as well as the storage tissue called parenchyma. This distribution of colors enabled Dias to compare lianas and forest trees in the cities of Campinas and Ubatuba, located, respectively, in an inland area on the coast of SĂŁo Paulo State. Partly because they use trees for support, lianas can expend more energy on developing transport tissue and less on structural support. This makes them more efficient in less rainy areas.

Photo submitted by biologist Arildo Dias

Published in march 2015

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