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UNICAMP physicist and UFRJ biophysicist win national award

Physicist Marcelo Knobel (left) and biophysicist Jerson Lima Silva

Léo Ramos Chaves / Revista Pesquisa FAPESP

Physicist Marcelo Knobel of the University of Campinas (UNICAMP), and biophysicist Jerson Lima Silva of the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ) won the fourth CBMM Science and Technology Award, the largest in the field in Brazil, awarded by the Brazilian Metallurgy and Mining Company (CBMM). The pair were recognized in both categories for their contributions beyond their original areas of research and their performance as managers. As well as having been dean at UNICAMP, Knobel also formed a research group at the university that investigates the magnetic properties of nanoparticles, a subject with potential applications in a wide range of areas, from medicine to oil exploration. He is also dedicated to scientific communication. At UFRJ, Jerson Lima Silva studies the impact of deformations in the structure of the p53 protein, among other topics. Responsible for repairing damaged DNA, p53 is known as the guardian of the genome. Some years ago, Silva and his group proposed that misfolding of the protein could be behind cases of cancer. The altered version of the molecule could cause healthy ones to deform, leading to loss of their original function. Silva has been president of the Rio de Janeiro State Research Foundation (FAPERJ) since 2019, after serving as scientific director from 2003 to 2018.