Interview with Vanessa Cardoso Pires - EURAXESS Science Slam Brazil Winner 2014

Categories: Meet the researchers

About Vanessa Cardoso Pires

Vanessa Cardoso Pires Brazilian, nutritionist, started her research career in 2006 working in a project of scientific initiation as an undergraduate student. In 2012 she finished her Master’s degree in Health Sciences and studied at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center as a research intern. Currently, she is finishing her PhD in Food Science, working with maternal and paternal programming of breast cancer. Email: vanessacpires@usp.br


Vanessa, please tell us about your research background and interests

At the beginning of my research career, I was interested in investigating the effects of functional foods on male reproduction. Following this interest, I worked with green tea and grape juice. However, when I finished my Master’s degree, I wanted to open my mind to new areas. For this reason, I went to the US to learn more about natural products on cancer prevention and treatment, but this was not exactly what I wanted to work on. So, in my PhD project, I had the opportunity to put together the topics of male reproduction, functional foods and cancer, in an amazing and new area called maternal and paternal programming. Finally, my currently research project is focused on investigating the effects of maternal and/or paternal blackberry extract consumption on breast cancer risk in female offspring.

How did you learn about the EURAXESS Science Slam competition?

I learned about the EURAXESS Science Slam on Facebook.

Why did you decide to participate?

I decided to participate in this competition because I and other friends created a group about science communication in Brazil (GATU), mainly due to the difficulty that some professors have in transmitting knowledge. However, we had no idea about how relevant this topic is around the world, since in Brazil this has no great importance.

Please tell EURAXESS Links Newsletter readers about the live presentation that you made.

In my live presentation, I represented Death. She talked about her life and the difficulty of doing her job, which is to induce breast cancer in women, mainly because of research on the prevention of breast cancer before one is born through parents’ food intake. She was desperate and searching for a new opportunity in life in Europe.

What was the message that you wanted to deliver to the audience attending the live finals?

The most important thing in the final is to relax, enjoy this unique moment and have fun. What did you find more challenging, preparing the pre-selection video or the live presentation? The live presentation was more challenging because you need to transmit the principal message about your research project to a non-expert audience, that is not easy, and holding everyone’s attention using funny tools.

What was your experience like as winner of the 2nd global EURAXESS Science Slam?

I can say that was a unique experience, not only the European trip (that was wonderful), but I also had the opportunity to show my research project on a TV show; radio; the website of my university; a lot of blogs, etc. I have been able enjoy good visibility to present a little of the big research world in Brazil.

Would you recommend taking part in the Science Slam to other researchers? Why?

Definitely yes! This is a great opportunity to develop abilities that in the academic environment, in general, is not allowed.

Are there any tips that you would like to give to prospective EURAXESS Science Slam participants?

If their grandparents and parents could understand their research project, probably is because is it easy to understand. I think this is the principal thing in the EURAXESS Science Slam. Other thing is: have fun!

You were awarded a trip to Europe and met the other slammers from ASEAN, China, India, Japan and North America. How was your training in scientific communication?

The training in scientific communication was wonderful! Not only because the course was extremely intense and productive, but also the opportunity to work with the other slammers. I was able to learn a little about each country and what the research area there is like.

EURAXESS also funded your trip to visit to a European research institute of your choice. Which institute did you visit and who did you decide to meet? Why?

I decided to visit the University of Cambridge where one of the most important research groups in my area is located.

Have you had any contact with European research before?

Yes, I have participated in a workshop at my university in partnership with the University of Cambridge. But the experience to be in the European research environment is irreplaceable.

Would you now consider coming to Europe for either a short-term or longterm period to pursue a research career or additional studies?

Yes. During my visit in Europe, I could see how much greater the investment is in research compared to Brazil. It is really different and much better than in my country.

You also had a meeting with the local EURAXESS Service Centre. What kind of information did you receive?

I have received a lot of information about different ways to apply to a post-doc programme at the University of Cambridge; what kind of assistance they have; the cost of living in Cambridge and the benefits of studying there.

Do you think that being a Science Slam winner had an influence on your ability to gain an appointment at your institution of choice?

I think so, because I could show my possible future boss more abilities than we can learn in academia. Maybe this can be a differentiator between me and other candidates.

Thank you for your time!

Attachment: EURAXESS Science Slam Winners 2014, including the Brazilian Vanessa Cardoso (602.57 KB)