Carlos T. Moraes

Born: July 17, 1962 | São Paulo, BR

Carlos T. Moraes grew up in São Paulo, Brazil. When pursuing his mater's degree, he explored several career options, including a course at the Instituto de Investigaciones Bioquimicas Fundacion Campomar, where he worked under Armando J. Parodi. He eventually enrolled in a doctoral program at Columbia University, where he worked in the Eric A. Schon lab. He accepted a position at University of Miami to study mitochondrial diseases; he also has devised some related projects and possible applications of his DNA mutation studies. He discusses the advantages and disadvantages of being a principal investigator, competition and collaboration in science, thoughts about ethical issues, concerns about overpopulation, differences between American and Brazilian students, and thoughts about the use of animals in scientific research. 

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Interview Details

Interview no.: Oral History 0532
No. of pages: 90
Minutes: 450

Interview Sessions

Helene L. Cohen
13-15 March 2001
University of Miami, Miami, Florida

Abstract of Interview

Carlos T. Moraes grew up in São Paulo, Brazil, one of three children. His father was in the military at first, but then became a mechanical engineer and a professor. His mother completed a degree in physical education. He discusses some of his childhood activities, which he says were much like those of American children's, and some of his memories of his private-school education. After assessing the value of his education at a private school he discusses his reasons for attending Escola Paulista de Medicina and describes some of his college experiences. Moraes then pursued a master's degree; he explored several career options after his internship, including a course at the Instituto de Investigaciones Bioquimicas Fundacion Campomar, where he worked under Armando J. Parodi. He eventually enrolled in a doctoral program at Columbia University, where he worked in the Eric A. Schon lab. Moraes's decision to come to Miami was abetted by his love of windsurfing. He professes no religion, but in his youth was involved in Pró-Vida; he feels that one can define God to be compatible with science. Moraes continues with his first impressions of the United States; his admiration for Alex Tzagoloff; obtaining dual citizenship; the shortage of American students in American science; and his funding history. He talks about the grant-writing process, explaining why he believes that he writes better than he speaks. Lab management for him includes the difficulties of article writing in a lab with many native languages. Moraes's administrative duties are substantial, but he has few teaching responsibilities. He compares American and Brazilian graduate students in medicine; discusses the ethnic makeup of graduate students at the University of Miami; describes a typical workday; again talks about his love of windsurfing; and gives us his thoughts on the underrepresentation of women on science faculties. A major reason for Moraes attending Columbia University was his fascination with mitochondrial abnormalities. He accepted a position at University of Miami to study mitochondrial diseases; he also has devised some related projects and possible applications of his DNA mutation studies. He discusses the advantages and disadvantages of being a principal investigator and of competition and collaboration in science. Moraes explains his thoughts about ethical issues in science; his concerns about overpopulation; and his thoughts about the use of animals in scientific research. Moraes concludes the interview with an assessment of his professional and personal achievement and an intimation of his future plans. 

Education

Year Institution Degree Discipline
1983 Escola Paulista de Medicina BA Biomedical Sciences
1987 Escola Paulista de Medicina MSc Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
1991 Columbia University MA Genetics and Development
1993 Columbia University PhD Genetics and Development

Professional Experience

University of Miami School of Medicine

1993 to 1995
Research Assistant Professor
1995 to 1997
Assistant Professor
1997 to 2002
Associate Professor

Honors

Year(s) Award
1993

The Samuel W. Rover and Lewis Rover Award for Research in Genetics and Development

1995 to 1999

Pew Scholar in the Biomedical Sciences

Table of Contents

Early Years, College, Graduate Work, and Moving to the United States
1

Family background. Growing up in São Paulo, BrazilChildhood activities. School memories. Education at a private school. Reasons for attending Escola Paulista de Medicina. Experiences in college. Pursues master's degree. Explores several career options after internship. Attends a course at the Instituto de Investigaciones Bioquimicas Fundacion Campomar. Armando J. Parodi. Degree system in Brazil. Attempts to enroll in a doctoral program. Work in the Eric A. Schon lab. Meets future wife, Maria Julia L. Pace. Decision to come to Miami. Love of windsurfing.

Reflections on Science and Family in Brazil and on Current Career
31

Religion. Pró-Vida religious movement. Relationship between science and religion. Favorite hobbies and activities while growing up. First impressions of the United States. Alex Tzagoloff. Dual citizenship. Shortage of U. S. students in U. S. science. Funding history. Grant-writing process. Writing and speaking ability in English. Funding system in Brazil. Article-writing process in amultilingual lab. Lab management. Administrative duties. Communityprograms. Teaching responsibilities. U. S. and Brazilian graduate students in medicine. Underrepresentation of women on science faculties.

Graduate Work, Becoming Faculty, and Thoughts on Science
59

Reasons for attending Columbia University. Graduate work on mitochondrial abnormalities. Accepts a position at University of Miami to study mitochondrial diseases. Some related projects and possible applications of his DNA mutation studies. Advantages and disadvantages of being a principal investigator. Competition and collaboration in science. Possible applications of his work. Ethical issues in science. Professional and personal achievement. Future plans.

Index
87

About the Interviewer

Helene L. Cohen