The covid-19 pandemic elevated Brazilian science to a leading role in the search for solutions to the worst health crisis in the last hundred years. But even before the pandemic, Brazilian scientists always had a prominent place in scientific research in the most diverse areas around the world.
The series "Brazilian Scientists Among the Best” is created by Claudia Santos and has as head scriptwriter Pamela Bausher. Available on Looke, the series presents a dynamic format, in a fusion of fiction, animation and documentary. There are 13 episodes of 26 minutes, with the presence of the greatest scientists in the country, whose research and discoveries have received international recognition and great applicability to the lives of all of us.
"Brazilian Scientists Among the Best” competes for the Brazilian Cinema Grand Prix 2021 in the category Best Documentary Series for Pay TV, alongside great productions like “Yellow Prism” (GNT) and "Anitta: Made in Honorio” (Netflix). The awards will take place on November 28, 2021.
about the series
Strolling between fiction, documentary and animation inserts, each episode of the first season reveals impressive research findings, also presenting solutions to the problems experienced by our society that Brazilian scientists are developing in different areas.
An example is the pill against suicide, developed by one of the world's leading experts on the subject, Dr. Humberto Corrêa (UFMG-MG). The pill is already being tested in humans and is currently considered the most effective, as it is the only one that ends with the impulse to kill yourself in just 4 hours.
The research by scientist Frederico Garcia, from the Faculty of Medicine of the Federal University of Minas Gerais (UFMG), also draws attention. The doctor developed a vaccine to treat cocaine and crack addicts. The substance is already being tested in human beings and there are already huge lines of people waiting for treatment.
Another highlight is the research by neuroscientist Sidarta Ribeiro, vice president of the Brain Institute of the Federal University of Rio Grande do Norte (UFRN), a reference in the study of dreams and psychedelic substances, who developed the project that emphasizes the importance of napping for retention of learning.
– The series arose from the need to publicize the essential work that Brazilian scientists have been developing. We opted for a hybrid language, which unites narratives and images of these distinguished scientists with fictional everyday situations to deliver a program that speaks to all audiences, from all classes and age groups, but especially to people with low or little understanding of reading. It is essential that all layers of society understand Brazilian science, that's why I used fiction and animation – comments Claudia Santos, author of the program.
Claudia says that the idea for the series came when she was working at Cornell University, in New York, one of the biggest references in science in the world.
– When I arrived in Cornell, I thought I would find only American scientists, however, I was impressed by the large number of Brazilian scientists working in research in one of the largest science centers in the world – she says.
Claudia then realized that many of the Brazilian scientists ended up looking for opportunities in other countries due to the scarcity of resources and little structure in their own country, but many ended up choosing to stay here. So, he decided he wanted to show science made in Brazil and looked for a different format. Together with screenwriter Pamela Bausher, she created episodes that combine fiction, animation and documentary to reveal the discoveries of these great scientists, but in a language accessible to everyone.
– Scientists are extremely passionate about what they do, dedicated and solving our problems. So, I'm very grateful and happy for the reception of the series and the nomination for the award. I say that our objective has already been achieved: to show that we have great scientists in Brazil and that Brazilians like to watch series about science – he reflects.
Claudia says that several of the episodes are remembered, such as that of scientist from Minas Gerais Ado Jório (UFMG-MG), a physicist who identified a structure in people's eyes, in which it is possible to identify Alzheimer's disease early, about 30 years before the disease begin to show symptoms. Another that is seen several times is the scientist Elza Melo (UFMG-MG), who develops projects and ways to improve the quality of life of women victims of violence and also identifies ways to deal with and cure the abuser's violent behavior.
– The series exposes studies and discoveries that, in fact, can change our lives. The pandemic highlighted the importance of science for society and it is a pride for us, as Brazilians, to have research like this under development in our country – concludes Claudia.
Turning used cooking oil into fuel and optical treatment for skin cancer are also themes of the episodes.
“Brazilian Scientists Among the Best” is directed by Silvia Godinho and Guilherme Fiusa, and its chief screenwriter is Pamela Bausher. The first season brings the most varied themes in its 13 episodes. Meet:
Rochel Lago (UFMG-MG): The episode shows the work of Dr. Rochel Lago, who brings solutions and viable ways to reuse waste such as oil used in our kitchens and transform it into fuel for the car.
Humberto Corrêa (UFMG-MG): The episode brings the work of Dr. Humberto Corrêa at the Faculty of Medicine of the Federal University of Minas Gerais (UFMG), one of the greatest scholars in the country on suicide, who produced the most effective pill in the world against the problem.
Ricardo Gazzinelli (UFMG-MG and Fiocruz-RJ): The episode shows the vaccine development work of Dr. Ricardo Gazzinelli, who is a professor at the Federal University of Minas Gerais (UFMG) and a researcher at the Oswaldo Cruz Foundation (Fiocruz). Gazzinelli has contributed to the discovery of vaccines against neglected diseases related to poverty such as leishmaniasis, Chagas disease and malaria.
Paulo Artaxo (USP-SP): The episode shows the work of Professor Paulo Artaxo at the Physics Institute of the University of São Paulo, one of the most respected scientists in the country, who studies the impacts of climate change on the Amazon Forest. For his work on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) of the United Nations (UN), a scientific body he has been part of since 2003, Paulo Artaxo was part of the winning team of the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007.
Lygia da Veiga (USP-SP): Lygia da Veiga is a geneticist and works in the Department of Genetics and Evolutionary Biology of the Biosciences Institute of the University of São Paulo (USP). The highlight of the episode is his research on embryonic stem cells. The professor also coordinates the DNA of Brazil project, which will identify the main genetic characteristics of Brazilians.
Frederico Garcia (UFMG-MG): The episode shows the work of scientist Frederico Garcia at the Faculty of Medicine of the Federal University of Minas Gerais (UFMG). Together with his team, the doctor developed a vaccine to treat cocaine and crack addicts. The vaccine is already in the testing phase with humans.
Sérgio Pena (UFMG-MG): The episode shows the work of the physician-geneticist, director of Laboratório Gene – a national reference in genetics and professor at the Federal University of Minas Gerais (UFMG). He studies the diversity of genomes, the genetics of the Brazilian population, as well as the diagnosis of diseases based on the study of genes, being closer to cures.
Vanderlei Bagnato (IFSC-USP): The work of the atomic physicist and professor at the São Carlos Institute of Physics (IFSC-USP), Vanderlei Bagnato is the theme of the episode. Bagnato created innovative and accessible health technologies through photodynamics. Among them, a device for the diagnosis and optical treatment of non-melanoma skin cancer, with promising results, mainly in the elimination of early tumors.
Ado Jório (UFMG-MG): The scientist and his team at the Department of Physics at the Federal University of Minas Gerais (UFMG) have made important contributions to biomedicine, through optics combined with the study of nanostructures. The scientist's work has been helping to diagnose Alzheimer's up to 30 years before the symptoms, thus preventing the disease from showing its first signs. For this, the teacher's team studies changes in the structure of people's eyes.
Siddhartha Ribeiro (IC-UFRN): The episode reveals the findings of the vice president of the Instituto do Cérebro at the Federal University of Rio Grande do Norte (UFRN), neuroscientist Sidarta Ribeiro on the biology of mind. The teacher studies sleep, dreams, and how we retain information better if we study and then take a nap.
Renato Lima (UFMG-MG): The episode tells about the work of Dr. Renato Lima at the UFMG Veterinary School, mainly the development of the vaccine against brucellosis in different animal species.
Maria José Campagnole (UFMG-MG): The episode shows the work of Dr. Maria José Campagnole at the Institute of Biological Sciences at UFMG, where she works mainly in the development of drugs against asthma.
Elza Melo (UFMG-MG): The episode shows the project developed by Dr. Elza Melo (UFMG) and her team, with women who were abused, either by their husbands or their children. She has helped to understand the causes and reduce violence against women. Elza believes that it is necessary to study the abuser's behavior in order to contain the problem of domestic violence. Your project has helped hundreds of women.
“Brazilian Scientists Among the Best” is a series in a format that combines fiction, animation and documentary to easily explain cutting-edge science developed in Brazil. Each episode shows a Brazilian scientist whose discoveries, research and/or patents have gained international recognition. Several areas of science are approached in order to present to the public Brazil's strength and great contribution to world scientific and technological development.
Brazilian Scientists Among the Best – First season
Season: 13 episodes