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Spotlight on... Dr Maria Augusta Arruda #BHMwithBWiS19



Education and career

PhD (Pharmacology, 2002), State University of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; BSc (Pharmacology, 2005), State University of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Associate Fellow, Higher Education Academy UK

My scientific career started ridiculously early - I was 14 years old the first time I stepped into a lab when I started my high school course in Biotechnology. Shortly after being granted my PhD, I was appointed Senior Lecturer in Pharmacology at the State University of Rio de Janeiro (2006-2011). I led a research group studying the role of the NADPH oxidase system in health and disease, particularly in pathological states associated with haemolytic episodes (such as sickle-cell disease, which affects mainly black people).

In 2008, I joined the Pharmaceutical Laboratory of the Brazilian Ministry of Health. There I acted as the Head of the Academic Department, being involved in the conception and coordination of the Postgraduate Programme in Management, Research and Development in Pharmaceutical Industries. Maria moved to the Cell Signalling Research Group at the University of Nottingham (UoN) in 2011, where she created and supported transatlantic collaborative networks in the field of Drug Discovery, with a strong commitment to capacity building. Since June 2018, she has been the University of Nottingham Research Development Manager, mainly responsible for large-scale projects funded by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI).

During my career, I accumulated a number of national and international prizes and awards, among them the prestigious L’Oreal/UNESCO/Brazilian Academy of Sciences Women in Science Award. I am also Associate Editor for the Annals of the Brazilian Academy of Sciences. I am a firm believer that greater and genuine diversity is essential for the Progress of Science.

After many years inside a lab and classroom, I now work in Research Development, and it is great fun. It is amazing being able to be involved in so many different science areas! I am also deeply interested in Science Diplomacy, working as a consultant in the field.

Tell us about a pivotal moment in your career

A pivotal moment in my career was when I won the L'Oreal Prize for Women in Science (back in 2008!)

Career goals

Carry on learning, being inspired and inspire others.


My mother (an Occupational Therapist and Psychotherapist) and grandmother (Retired Nurse). Wonderful, erudite women with a thirst for Knowledge and Justice, who fought against all odds in a country plagued by racism and misogyny, and gave me the best education I could ask for. And my daughter, a 19yo Philosophy student at UoManchester, where she is part of a number of EDI committees, on top of working for BBC.

Outside of your scientific career, what are your interests, hobbies and aims?

I used to dance. Should find the time and stamina to come back to the dancefloor!

Why did you join the Black Women in Science Network?

Because I was inspired by Tomi, our founder and her passion for Science and Justice.

What advice would you give to other black women in science?

Together we are stronger!

Keep in touch with me @guta1610 on Twitter

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