Have you met... Welbert de Oliveira Pereira?

Welbert has 3 jobs, but it only takes away 1/3 of his energy.

Welbert de Oliveira Pereira is a biologist specialized in immunology.  His PhD was mixed between Brazil and the UK and it was focused on a liquid tumor: leukemia. Now, he works at Hospital Israelita Albert Einstein, ranked as the best hospital in Brazil in 2014. The hospital’ managers call him “human hybrid” since he is simultaneously a professor at the hospital’s medical school, a principal investigator and an innovation consulter.

Welbert at MIT (Boston, USA).

In the hospital, you must mentor a lot of young scientists! Which are the main characteristics you seek in a student or young researcher?
I have been supervising students for a long time now. What I seek in young scientists is their humbleness and work motivation. I don’t really mind if a student has some lack of background or comes from a different field and need to learn the basics. As long as they are humble and want to work/learn, they are welcome! 

In research it must be fundamental for you to collaborate with other universities or peers. Which are the main characteristics you seek in potential collaborators?
It is vital that people are very transparent about the role each part is going to execute and about what everyone seeks to attain becomes clear at the very beginning. A terrible experience that I had a couple of times (and now I strongly avoid) was starting a collaboration with researchers who didn’t have time and expected my group to perform all the hard work. It is also important that the collaborators complement themselves. So, I seek for honest, transparent, available people that complement me as a scientist.

If you weren’t a professor/researcher/entrepreneur, what would you be?
Being honest, I have asked myself that many times. Before applying to college, I was torn between biology and journalism. I love to inform people. So, I think I would have become a journalist if I hadn’t pursuit science. 

In a very bad day, what is your getaway or your escape?
I am a very balanced person. And I learned something very important during my PhD: I have three pillars in my life which are work, family and myself. So, work is important, but I only dedicate 1/3 of my energy to it. So, when stuff goes wrong I just focus on the other two: I go home, I cook for my family and wait patiently for a solution, so I can solve everything without going crazy about it. 

In the next 20 years which is going to be the next breakthrough in science?
For me, I think gene editing as a viable therapy will progress a lot in the next years. As well, it will be probably the case for wellbeing technologies so we can get old healthier.

Oh My Science! is trying to be abroad too. We started very well, don't you think? With scientists from MIT and from Brazil, right? How exciting is that? 😄 We promise, that it's only the beginning! Stay tuned for more!