A return to science

Trip Start Jul 02, 2009
Trip End Jun 28, 2010

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Flag of Brazil  , São Paulo,
Saturday, August 1, 2009

So I successfully escaped from Paraguay, overnighted in São Paulo and arrived in São Carlos (via Ribeirão Preto) on the Sunday evening.  A mere three months after retiring from Pharma I was back in the saddle, albeit in the rather different environment of an academic lab in Brasil.   I'd met Carlos, my friend and host, at a Gordon Conference a couple of years back and we'd kept in touch.  The idea was that I'd spend some time with his PhD students to try to help them with their projects.  It was a great way to make new friends and see Brasil beyond the guidebook.

There are two universities in São Carlos which is close the centre of São Paulo State.  The one that I was visiting is part of USP (University of São Paulo) and there is also a Federal University.  São Carlos is quite a bit smaller (and quieter) than São Paulo. Malu and Carlos, both natives of the larger city, refer to the main drag as 'Avenida Paulista' which I found rather droll. 



The walk into the Institute of Chemistry would typically take about 25 minutes and one day the camera came along.





The main research interest of my friends in São Carlos is Chagas disease which is like a South American version of sleeping sickness.  The BrazMedChem conference in November will recognise the work of Carlos Chagas, the Brazilian scientist who disovered the disease.  It can lead to heart damage and there has been speculation that Charles Darwin may have become infected on one of his trips ashore during the voyage of the Beagle.  Here are pics of some of my friends in São Carlos. 









Life in Grad School is tough, even in Brazil.  Just after we'd finished the photo-shoot, The Boss dropped by to see what breakthroughs had been made since the day before.  I had to explain to Igor what the the character called Igor normally does in vampire movies.



Here are a couple of pics from the regular lunch place which is 'por kilo'.  You filll the plate with food, they weigh it, you pay them and then eat it.  It really is that simple.


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