PhD Student Raul Saraiva Soaks Up the School’s Multidisciplinary Culture
When Raul Saraiva was looking for a U.S. school where he could pursue a PhD in microbiology, he knew that he didn’t want to be isolated in a basic science silo. Still, Saraiva, who earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in his native Portugal, sought an institution with top-of-the-line lab spaces, equipment and faculty.
His discriminating search led him to the Bloomberg School, where he’s finding that multidisciplinary energy and unrivaled science facilities are inspiring his research into vector-borne disease control.
“If I find something in my research that could potentially turn out to be an intervention, there are people here with the expertise to make it happen,” says Saraiva, a doctoral student in the W. Harry Feinstone Department of Molecular Microbiology and Immunology. “It’s very rare to find a diverse group of individuals that share the same goal.”
The School meets his bench science requirements as well.
“What’s special about this building is that we have an insectary,” he says. “We have the best facilities you can find in terms of maintaining mosquitoes in artificial conditions.”
Saraiva currently is investigating the feasibility of boosting the mosquito immune system to strengthen the insect’s resistance to the malaria parasite Plasmodium vivax and limit its ability to transmit malaria. That investigation prompted him to make a data-gathering mission in Colombia—which has one of the highest incidences of malaria in the Americas—as part of a collaboration with a government research institute there.
Saraiva, who came to the Bloomberg School on a Fulbright scholarship, wasn’t committed to a specific research topic when he entered MMI’s doctoral program, and appreciated that he found “limitless possibilities” to explore. He recently won a Boeringer Ingelheim fellowship, awarded by a foundation established by a German pharmaceutical company, to support the research of promising young scientists.
Saraiva envisions a future in research, possibly in an academic setting or the private sector.
For now, he’s savoring the “limitless possibilities” that lie ahead.
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