Man on stage with microphone talking to an audience
Rômulo Neris on stage at FameLab Brazil 2018. ©

Thiago Russi, used with permission.

3 September 2020 

Former FameLab Brazil participant Rômulo Neris has been selected for scholarship funding for his research in the diagnosis and treatment of Covid-19 patients in his home country and beyond. 

The 27-year-old doctoral researcher in Immunology and Inflammation from the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ) and the University of California Davis is one of the seven Brazilian researchers selected to study the Covid-19 in Brazil with the support of a three-month Dimensions Sciences scholarship.  

The scholarship provides funding for scientists from underrepresented backgrounds performing research with practical applications in the diagnosis and treatment of Covid-19 patients, who are currently working without monetary compensation in the US, Canada, and Brazil. 

Molecular tests are being held at the Centro de triagem diagnóstica para COVID-19 (Diagnostic Screening Center for Covid-19) created by UFRJ and responsible for providing diagnostic backup for health professionals in the city, assisting in virological and immunological studies of infection by the new coronavirus.  

‘We have a big test lag in Brazil. The cases are being underreported, we can no longer even estimate much more how underreported the situation is in the country,’ said Rômulo in an interview with BBC News Brazil. 

‘I will study the genetics of the virus and its mutations, but also changes observed in the individual during infection, such as metabolic and pulmonary. The idea is to understand how the virus infects cells of different tissues and why there are such diverse and sometimes so severe pictures - in some, without any comorbidity.’ 

Commitment to science communication 

FameLab is a global science communication competition owned by the UK’s Cheltenham Science Festival and delivered globally by the British Council. 

In 2018, Rômulo reached the semi-final of the FameLab Brazil competition, which helped to develop his skills in science communication.  

Rômulo’s commitment to scientific communication is clear, and in February he posted about coronavirus prevention methods on Twitter and his tweet went viral, having had tens of thousands of retweets and likes.  

‘I’ve always tried to communicate my research. Whenever a paper I write is published I post something on my social networks with a summary of the article in simple language. But it’s been two years since I’ve taken scientific communication as a duty of my work as a researcher.’ 

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