2023 Basic Research Award

Daniel Martins-De-Souza Named the 2023 Basic Research Awardee

Daniel Martins-de-Souza is an Associate Professor of Biochemistry, Head of Proteomics and Head of the Department of Biochemistry at the University of Campinas (UNICAMP), in Brazil.

Daniel holds a PhD in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, and his postdoctoral training was carried out in the Max Planck Institute of Psychiatry in Germany and at the University of Cambridge, UK. After that, Daniel was for two years a Principal Investigator in the Dept. of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy of the Ludwig Maximilians University of Munich (LMU), just before becoming a Professor in 2014.

Daniel has been elected as an Affiliated Member of the São Paulo Academy of Sciences and also an Affiliated Member of the Brazilian Academy of Sciences.He is currently part of the steering committee of the Human Brain Proteome Project, a HUPO initiative, and one of the coordinators for the two major funding agencies in Brazil, the São Paulo Research Foundation (FAPESP), and The National Council for Scientific and Technological Development (CNPq).

Daniel is part of the editorial board of 8 scientific journals and one of the Associate Editor for “Schizophrenia”, a Nature journal promoted by SIRS. From 2017-2021, he was one of the Assistants of UNICAMP´s Rector in the vice-presidency of research.

Besides the 6 special issues for different journals Daniel acted as invited editor, in the fields of psychiatry and proteomics, Daniel also organized three book editions. Currently, is the permanent editor for of the title “Proteomics, Metabolomics, Interactomics and Systems Biology” (Springer Nature).

Daniel´s main expertise is on proteomics and systems biology tools to investigate molecular mechanisms involved in brain disorders.

A Message from Daniel Martins-De-Souza, 2023 SIRS Basic Research Awardee

I found myself thrilled and speechless when I read the email nominating me for this award. And after having looked at the previous receivers, I found myself humbly proud.

The Brazilian scientific community has always faced challenges. Regarding grants, lack of national consumables, among others. These challenges were strengthened during the last four years, given the negacionist government we had. These facts have made me tired and every day a little more hopeless. Everytime we need a simple antibody for an experiment in the lab, we need to wait for 4 months to have it. Everytime the Brazilian president simply opened his mouth in the past four years, the exchange value of our currency diminished and thus we had less money to invest in science.

And this is a testimony from a relatively well funded scientist (me), who has great colleagues in the department and great students and postdocs. I imagine (and see!) my less fortunate Brazilian colleagues suffer much more.

Having been awarded by SIRS gave me a new perspective. Renewed my energies. Even though we Brazilians find ourselves at a disadvantage when compared to those brilliant colleagues who received this same award previously, being now among them gives me strength. It shows me that we are paving a good path and that we should go on.

Brazil is a wonderful country, with wonderful people and with so much potential! That is why I gave up a career abroad and returned to my homeland: for training new scientists, helping them to build an international network and to continue contributing to the scientific field I am working in.

Thanks SIRS and their representatives for giving me the power to keep on going forward.

A Message from Cheryl Corcoran, SIRS Awards Committee Deputy Chair

I am so pleased that my colleague and fellow Associate Editor of “Schizophrenia” has received this award, and it is so well-deserved. Daniel trained at well-resourced institutions like the University of Cambridge and the Max Planck Institute, and then came home to Brazil, despite the challenges the scientific community faces there. And he has flourished nonetheless, with membership in national academic societies, coordination of national funding agencies, and most importantly, doing great science and inspiring a new generation of students and fellows in Brazil. Using proteomics, metabolomics, neural progenitor and brain organoid models Daniel has done important work to understand the molecular mechanisms of schizophrenia pathophysiology and treatment response. This includes various pathways, including amino acid metabolism, protein post-translational modification, axonal guidance, synaptogenesis, immune function, vascularization, mitochondrial dysfunction. Daniel has also shown that cannabinoids can modulate proliferation, differentiation and migration signaling in oligodendrocytes, important given that cannabis use can increase risk for schizophrenia, an illness that involves pathology of white matter.

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