i3S received students who won the “Raquel Seruca Prize for young researchers”
Following the “Raquel Seruca Prize for young researchers” that were awarded at the National Science Exhibition 2022, the i3S received this month, for two weeks, three students from the Francisco Rodrigues Lobo Secondary School in Leiria. Afonso Pinto, Catarina Sampaio, and Filipa Costa (all 17 years old), are unanimous in praising the i3S. Not only for the unique opportunity to get to know the inside of a research laboratory, but also for the way in which they were welcomed.
The Science Exhibition, an initiative of the Fundação da Juventude and the Ciência Viva, annually brings together the best scientific projects carried out by young Portuguese people. The projects are evaluated by a jury made up of researchers from different areas. In the last edition, which took place in September 2022 at Alfândega do Porto, the researcher Raquel Seruca, who previously chaired the jury of this competition, was posthumously honored.
“We were challenged by Ciência Viva to create a prize in the area of Biology / Health with Raquel’s name in order to remember her presence in the contest. The board decided that, instead of giving money, the best thing we could do would be to organize a two-week stay in i3S laboratories for the winners”, explains Claudio Sunkel, director of i3S.
So for two weeks, the three student authors of the project “EDRoV - Science waging war against the invisible”, who won this prize, were interned in the laboratories of three researchers who were supervised by Raquel Seruca at the beginning of their scientific careers: “Microbes & Cancer”, led by Céu Figueiredo, “Cancer Metastasis”, directed by Joana Paredes and “Intercellular Communication and Cancer”, coordinated by José Carlos Machado.
Currently in their 12th year of school, the students from Leiria share the enthusiasm with which they lived these days. “It is a unique opportunity. I'm seeing things I've never seen before”, explains Filipa Costa. “I've always been interested in research, but it's much more than I thought. The part about contacting animals, for example, feels like we're in a movie”, adds Catarina Sampaio. “We only get an idea of what a laboratory is through television and, after being here for two weeks, I leave with a different perspective, closer to reality. For example, there is much more preparation and computer work than I thought”, recognizes Afonso Pinto.