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Nature Awards for Mentoring in Science recognise those that help shape careers of young researchers in Brazil

2021 award recognises Carlos F.M. Menck, Alessandra D'Almeida Filardy and Waldiceu Verri

London, 28 January 2022

Three scientists from Brazil have been presented with the Nature Awards for Mentoring in Science. The award for lifetime achievement in mentoring goes to Carlos F.M. Menck, professor at the University of São Paulo. The award for mid-career achievement in mentoring has been jointly awarded to Alessandra D'Almeida Filardy, an immunologist at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro and Waldiceu Verri, Associate Professor at the State University of Londrina. 

Editor-in-Chief of Nature and Chair of the judging panel, Magdalena Skipper, said: “The mentorship of young researchers is perhaps the least remarked upon activity that goes on in a laboratory, but is among the most important. Mentors play an integral part in helping to forge the future of science through their support for their mentees and we are delighted that the Nature Awards for Mentoring in Science can shine a spotlight on the value of their time and commitment.”

Launched in 2005, the Nature Awards for Mentoring in Science are awarded annually for outstanding scientific mentorship. The awards recognise those supporting early career researchers in their career development and invite former mentees to nominate a mentor that has made a significant contribution to their careers. Each year the award focuses on a different country or region, ensuring that those supporting the development of science in all corners of the world have the opportunity to be recognised.

Speaking of his lifetime achievement award, Dr. Carlos F.M. Menck, University of São Paulo commented: “I am delighted to be recognised as a mentor by the Nature Awards and to have been put forward by the community of which I value being a part of. For me, being an effective mentor means creating reciprocal trust between my students and me. Most of my students are now my friends for life. That is the most essential achievement I could get from mentoring.”

Dr. Menck has supervised 13 Masters, 37 PhD Theses, and 22 Postdoctoral fellows. In nominating him, his mentees commended his “enormous effort in fostering science in Brazil” and work in “bringing students from smaller, underprivileged institutions to his laboratory”.

Reflecting the calibre of the nominees for the lifetime achievement award, a special mention was given to Paulo Nussenzveig, a physicist at the University of São Paulo, who has mentored eleven PhD students. He was praised for pushing his mentees to be scientifically rigorous and to always question their results.

Joint mid-career mentoring awardees Alessandra D’Almeida Filardy and Waldiceu Verri work as a professor and scientist at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro and as Principal Investigator at the Laboratory of Cellular Immunology, and Director of the Animal House at the State University of Londrina, respectively.

Filardy mentors graduate students in two prestigious Graduate Programs (Microbiology, and Immunology and Inflammation) and was praised for her personal mentorship style and focus on recognising that success can have many faces. Mentees noted that she was not simply a boss, but “the skeleton of the team”, providing them with the “structure and strength” needed to continue in research.

Verri has mentored 27 MSc, 18 PhD students and 14 post-docs, and co-mentored six MSc and four PhD students. Those who nominated him for the award highlighted his commitment to promoting diversity and his efforts to support parents and women in science, focusing on the professional challenges and barriers they face.

Next year’s Mentoring in Science awards will have a focus on Singapore. More information on these, the current and past awards and winners can be found here


Note to Editors:

Each award comes with a cash prize of US$10,000 (which will be shared by the joint winners).

Alongside Magdalena Skipper, the judging panel was comprised of Prof. Ester Sabina from the University of São Paulo, Dr Daniel Mucida of The Rockefeller University and Prof. Marcia Castro from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

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Sam Sule | Communications | Springer Nature