ISSUE NO. 3 | JULY 2020
WiE - UC Newsletter IEEE Student Branch of the UC - Women in Engineering Affinity Group
ISSUE NO. 3 | JULY. 2020
IEEE Interviews Mariana Hugo Mariana Hugo was born in Coimbra, Portugal, received the M.Sc. degree in Biomaterials from University of Coimbra in 2018 and is currently enrolled in a Ph.D. degree in the project LongActNow. She was part of IEEE during her studies in Coimbra. Her research interests are vast and encapsulate many areas of sciences such as Nanotechnology, Tissue Engineering and Biomaterials. 1. Tell us a bit about why did you decided to pursue a Doctorate? What is your main research about? I never thought that I would be pursuing a PhD, it was not even one of my career milestones. I thought that after getting my degree I would be done. However, during my masters’ I became passionate about research and wanted to keep working on it, but at the same time explore different fields. So, I worked in different research groups (e.g. microbiology, immunology and physics and world heritage) from different countries. One thing became clear, regardless of the field I always enjoyed being in the lab, running my experiments, analysing data and find new questions. However, at the same time, I had never tried something different, I did not know if I was losing something that would fulfil me even more than research. I worked at a technological consulting company for some months, however, I just knew that was not for me. Research was certainly my future. One thing that I realized was that if you want to keep working on research long term in the future, a PhD will cross your path, so I started looking for projects that were related with Nanotechnology, Tissue Engineering and Biomaterials. I applied to some and got accepted on the LongActNow project, a consortium between Janssen Pharmaceutica, Trinity College Dublin, University of Limerick and TU Dortmund. The most interesting aspect of this program is that it combines industry and academia. This way, by the end of the PhD it will be clearer in which one I see myself working, while acquiring essential skills. My project aims to develop a new generation of long-acting injectables (LAI). This means that instead of taking a certain drug in the oral form, the drug is injected. Due to the properties inherent of crystalline API microparticles, the drug is released during a ah
certain number of months, instead of taking a daily pill. This will improve patients’ outcome since it improves the engagement with the treatment and assures that the therapeutic dose of a certain drug is being administered. LAI can have a broad range of applications, such as contraception, treatment and/or control of psychological disorders, tuberculosis, cancer, chronic diseases, among others. Furthermore, it would be of the utmost importance for the low-income countries by securing a better healthcare without requiring lot of resources, human and financial. 2. What can you tell us about the feeling of winning a Marie Curie Scholarship? When they called me to tell I had received the Marie Curie and that I would be part of the Innovative Training Network LongActNow, I just could not believe it. It is a Marie Curie!! They are the most prestigious scholarships in Europe. I felt like all
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all the work that I have been putting into my studies, extracurricular projects, and all the risks that I took were being rewarded. From shock, to complete happiness. 3. How and when did you start at IEEE? Which chapter did you take part in? Have you also been a member of an affinity group? I first heard about IEEE thanks to professor Miguel Morgado, at that time he was the president of the EMBS chapter from Portugal. Afterwards, a friend of mine, Rita Viegas, decided to create an EMBS student branch associated to the student chapter of the University of Coimbra. It made sense particularly because our course was not wellknown, and we wanted to bring more opportunities and real-life experiences to the Biomedical Engineering students. She talked with me about it and more colleagues joined, Samaritana Silva, Ricardo Margarido, InĂŞs GonĂ§alves and MĂłnica Martins, and it was done. The EMBS branch was born. I was also a member of women in engineering, but at that time not many events or gatherings were being organized. 4. What can you say to encourage young students to ingress in IEEE as student members? In your point of view, what are the main advantages to be part of IEEE as a student member? Being part of IEEE made me feel part of a bigger community, the community of all the engineers in the world. When you think about it, that is quite amazing. I had the opportunity to meet new people from other university departments, to organize events and participate in events, and do networking. When we hosted the Leadership Camp 17, I met people from different chapters of the country and planned some activities together. Also got a chance to go to the SYP region 8, which is the annual meeting of the different chapters that belong to the region 8. During the event the future of different field of engineering was discussed, innovative projects were presented, a lot of ideas were exchanged, and a lot of unexpected friendships were forged. It was amazing to meet the community, see how big we are just in region 8 and what engineering can do for the construction of a better world.
5. What are the most challenging aspects of a woman in science? And the most gratifying ones? Actually, when I think about it, in the labs which I have worked for, most of the people were women, although the group leaders were mainly males. Times are changing and the scientific community is becoming more aware of that. Although, is well-known that men are usually at higher positions than women and have more papers published. Another thing that is quite curious is that the groups that had female PIs (principal investigators) were not Portuguese. One was Spanish and another Swedish, but it can be just a coincidence. When you achieve something great you can provide inspiration for the new generations of women, even just by telling your story and sharing experiences. Talking about what science can do to help other people, showing what scientists are doing and plan to do in the future and make people excited about it. That way you can understand such a variety of fields and deconstruct them into ideas that can be understood by everyone. It is pretty awesome and amazing. 6. Have you ever felt any kind of discrimination (during your academic career) for being a woman? I can state that during my academic career I never faced discrimination, at least not that I have noticed. 7. Can you tell us someone who is an inspiration to you? To be honest I do not have a specific personality that inspires, but if I had to name some for sure Marie Curie and Albert Einstein would be in that list. Just think about it, Marie Curie is the only person that has ever been awarded two Nobel Prizes and it is a woman! And Einstein just re-conceptualize the whole universe with the Theory of Relativity, which was only possible to prove decades later because technology needed to evolve. Such a visionary, but also a person that fought for people' rights, he defended that everyone was a citizen of the world, and I could not agree more. I see myself as one. However, one thing that do inspires me a lot is the picture taken at the Solvay Conference in 1927. Is surprisingly amazing how many Nobel Prizes were reunited there sharing and discussing d
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discussing ideas, the most brilliant minds of that time. Now things have changed, to revolutionize a specific field, collaborations between groups must be established, so certain discoveries and Nobel Prizes are not attributed to a single person but the representants of the groups that contributed towards the new concept and/or discovery. A consequence of the current times. 8. At last, what do you expect for the future? I believe that we come to this world for a reason and that we should leave the world better than when we found it. I am creating my own path towards that. Working in science and being able to build something that will help other peoples’ well-being and quality of life, is my main goal. However, we should not stick just to big goals, simple gestures can make a lot of difference and turn the world into a better place, a smile, kind words, offer help… simple gestures are powerful too!
Finally, a bit of humour: What are the best gifts to offer an academic? Post-its, pens, mugs, highlighters, notebooks, good playlists and calendars are never too much!! I love to receive these and use them on a daily basis.
I f you were shipwrecked on a desert island, but all your human needs, such as food and water, were taken care of, what two items would you want to have with you and why? Sun-powered kindle, I just love to read, and reading on a beach is the perfect setting for me. So, the idea of all the free time on an island without having a lot of books close by, would drive me crazy. That is why the kindle, a lot of storage to fill with interesting books (all before the tragic event that leaves stuck in the island happens). Since it is sun powered you do not need electricity. And a swiss army knife, to build a shelter, maybe make some clothes, and to deal with some basic daily stuff.
Her legacy, now more than ever, will forever be cherished.
Achievement THE SISTERS BEATRIZ AND FLOR Portuguese sisters, Beatriz and Flor, ages 7 and 9, won, this month, the 2019-2020 edition of the Wonder League Robotics Competition, a global robotics event promoted by Wonder Workshop. They beat all competitors in the 9 to 11 age group, a very impressive achievement considering that this year’s edition was attended by SOURCE: PÚBLICO.PT more than 8400 children from 91 countries, divided by 4500 teams. Their project, “Mountain Explorers”, tells the story of 3 friends and their little robot, Dash, who decide to visit the Lost Realm. Dash helps the adventurers to explore the realm, navigating the surroundings to identify a set of important landmarks where the team needs to retrieve important items. Along the quest, the little friends fall into a trap, which Dash helps deactivate with the use of… an incredible homemade ballista! Wonder Workshop is partners with Acer, which provides STEM sets for students of the first and second cycle. By developing their own stories and projects, kids are stimulated to explore science, robotics and programming in a playful way. Well done, girls!
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Biography ADA LOVELACE Augusta Ada Byron was born on December 10th, 1815, in London, England. She was the only legitimate daughter of the acclaimed poet Lord Byron. She was raised by her mother, who encouraged her interest in mathematics and sciences from an early age, which was very rare for that time. This way, Ada developed a considerable talent for numbers and languages. When Ada was seventeen, she met the acclaimed British mathematician and inventor Charles Babbage. Thanks to him, she started studying Applied Mathematics at the University of London. Known as the father of computers, Babbage is known for the creation of an analytic machine capable of solving mathematical calculations. It was during this time working with Babbage, that Alda had the opportunity to add her personal notes and scientific opinions to a scientific paper from Luigi Menabrea (Italian military engineer) that she was translated. In these notes, Ada explained the use of codes and theorized the methods under which the machine could repeat a series of instructions (such as the programs that we still use nowadays in our computers). Her notes contain what many considered to be the first computer program. The translated article, which ended up being three
Painting titled "Portrait of Ada Lovelace" by Margaret Sarah Carpenter
published by an English journal under the initials A.A.D. (Augusta Ada Byron). Thanks to her notes and her groundbreaking ideas, Ada is recognized as the first programmer of the nineteenth century. For these reasons, â&#x20AC;&#x153;Adaâ&#x20AC;? is the name of a computer language created by the Defense Department of the USA. Unfortunately, Ada Lovelace passed away at 37, victim of cancer.
Her legacy, now more than ever, will forever be remembered!
Curiosity of the month... The Bletchley Circle (2012/14) is a TV miniseries of mystery, crime, and drama (IMDB: 7.9/10). It is based on the true story of women who, supposedly, did clerical work during World War II but, in reality, worked as codebreakers at Bletchley Park trying to decipher German military codes for the British military. The series tells us the story of four of these women who decided to use their skills to track down a serial killer.