206. Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais, Belo Horizonte, Brazil

The Federal University of Minas Gerais is one of three most important Universities in Brazil that provides high level education through the development of learning in a rich research environment and also in close contact with the outside community. UFMG has almost 50,000 students that are enrolled in undergrad and pos-graduate courses and 2800 faculty. There are 82 courses at the undergraduate level and 63 PhD programmes. Our group work at the Department of Biochemistry and Immunology which is part of the Biological Sciences Institute and we also work at the Center for Vaccine Technology, at the Technological Park nearby the UFMG campus.

Website: https://ufmg.br/

Summer Project:

The interns will work with two groups of people that are under my supervision: one is a basic research group that works in my lab at UFMG with molecular parasitology and the second one is a group that works in a lab that was more recently created at the Technological Park where experiments towards the development of vaccines and diagnostic kits are been conducted. In each lab the intern will have the chance to choose a project to work with, always under the supervision of a PhD student or a post-doctoral fellow.

Responsibilities:

The intern will perform different type of experiments, such as gene cloning and protein purification, parasite and tissue culture cell manipulation, DNA and RNA analyses. To accomplish that, he/she will learn how to plan the experiments, prepare material and analyse data. Some experiments will be done only in silico, and if he/she has good computer skills, bioinformatics techniques may also be part of the research activities.

Qualifications:

Basic laboratory experience would be helpful, but it is not absolutely required. The main personal characteristic that is highly desirable is the teamwork capacity, since most activities will have to be conducted together with other members of the group.

Independence:

On a scale from 0 (very independent) to 10 (very supervised), this internship will be about a 7.

Work Environment:

Our two labs have 10-15 people among undergraduate, graduate students, post-doctoral fellows and technicians. We have a very friendly ambience and we usually work from 9 AM to 6 PM. At the moment we have no other interns.

Additional Requirements:

Most applicants, depending on nationality, will need to get a visa.

Specific Application Instructions:

The applicant should know that we work with neglected tropical diseases, such as malaria, Chagas disease, leishmaniasis, etc., and I would expect that the intern would be interest in the study of these diseases.

Brief descriptions from the Summer 2017 Fellows:

“This summer, I am conducting research with CT Vacinas in Belo Horizonte, a partner with one of Brazil's leading universities, Federal University of Minas Gerais, and the Rena Rachou Research Institute. The research I'll conduct in my internship will determine the reasonability of developing a cancer vaccine specifically for the Brazilian population. To do this, I will determine the expression profile of the Brazilian population in response to a specific cancer antigen by producing recombinant proteins, and then characterizing the immunologic response to these proteins. If the tested population produces antibodies for the specific cancer, then there is the potential to create a cancer vaccine relevant to the Brazilian population.” – Kelcee Everette

“Hi, my name is Michael Tai, and this summer I am interning at the Renã Rachou Research Institute of the Fiocruz Minas Foundation, an immunopathology laboratory in the city of Belo Horizonte. The laboratory focuses on the study, control, and treatment of an array of tropical diseases from malaria to leishmaniasis. The project I am involved with studies Trypanosoma cruzi, the pathogen that causes Chagas disease, from a bioinformatics perspective. I am currently examining the host cell response to invasion by two clones of the parasite through gene ontology enrichment analysis. By highlighting genes that demonstrate differential expression at various points throughout the life cycle of the pathogen, I hope to gain a better understanding of why one clone is avirulent while the other is so effective at causing the disease.” -- Michael Tai

*Note that you do not need Portuguese language skills to participate in this opportunity, but having some basic skills in Portuguese or advanced Spanish is recommended for navigating the city.

Click here for instructions on how to apply.

See also: See All, ISURGH, Brazil