#PHDstory | Carolina Arruda Braz
How would you describe yourself?
I’m a relatively reserved person, tend to talk as little as possible but enjoy the presence of people I consider close.
What is the focus of your research?
My research is in the Drug Design and Developing field, with a focus of compounds with action against Leishmania spp.
What are the questions that you are dealing with?
I’m researching if a determined class of compounds has an action against parasites and looking for a possible protein target.
Why are they relevant?
Because Leishmania current treatment is highly toxic for patients, so new alternatives are always welcome. And this particular class of compounds has actions against several other parasites, but the mechanism of action is still unknown.
What kind of answers would you like to get out of it?
I’m hoping to propose a target and find a hit – highly potent- compound.
Why is this kind of research relevant?
Improvement in the already limited therapeutical arsenal.
How do you see the future in this field, what kind of challenges you believe we will encounter?
Challenges concern of leading this research to the next logical step, which is animal trials. The optimal future, in this case, would be to be able to launch a new drug in the market.
Is there a new research approach that you think is going to be relevant?
Probably the neglected diseases field is not much within the industry’s concerns, but I think getting rid of parasitic diseases, especially in under developing countries, is relevant for public health.
Is this a topic that you think is relevant right now?
Yes. Because of the recent cases of resistance to current treatment.
How did you get interested in what you are doing?
I have always liked medicinal chemistry, especially when allied with molecular modeling approaches. The field of research for new drugs is the very first step in the drug industrial process and has always caught my attention.
Why should everybody learn about subjects like history or biology?
Everybody should learn biology and chemistry – at least the very basics – because it’s primordial to have a basic understanding of how your own body and the environment around you work. All the debate around whether or not vaccines are bad for children would be avoided, for example.
What do you need to be a good researcher or a Ph.D. student in your program?
Independent and innovative behavior. Focus. The ability to overcome the many problems that happen every day. Networking and seeking other researchers’ aid and opinions.
Who inspired and who continues to inspire you?
Some of my professors in undergrad.
What motivates you?
The thought that I can contribute minimally to knowledge production and eventually help someone (or myself) in the future with some outstanding discovery.
What book would you read again?
I’m currently rereading a few of Garcia Marquez’s books.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
Working in a research facility.
A challenge? The most beautiful day? The most difficult one?
Getting up every morning and solving all the problems that never cease to come. A beautiful day is always near the sea.
What kind of impact would you like to have?
I’d like to lead a successful research project, possibly discovering a new drug.
What does the world need the most right now?
What does research need the most right now?
Emotional balance and fundings.
If you could change one thing, what would you like to change?
The political scenario.
What is your dream, or the society you dream of?
I dream of a society where everybody has equal aces to health and education.
What is life about?
Learning every day and improving as a person. And traveling as much as possible.
I decided to interview Carolina because she is a young researcher in the health area and works in a very relevant field. She is a Brazilian pharmacist who is studying the development of new drugs. As Brazil is a country with great potential for this, her research becomes very relevant worldwide. So, it would be very interesting to know what her goals are, as well as the inspiration to do it.
And in fact, it truly was. She is a nice girl with great intentions on her research. It is a very relevant study, englobing a neglected disease and the improvement of its treatment. I found it fascinating to learn more about it and to understand her field of work a little better.