Oral history interview with Carlos T. Moraes

  • 2001-Mar-13 – 2001-Mar-15

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.

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