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Researcher from Fiocruz wins an award from the UK for his scientific career


Luisa Picanço (Vpeic/ Fiocruz)


Leonardo Bastos, a researcher at the Scientific Computation Program of Fiocruz (PROCC/Fiocruz), won the "Study UK Alumni Awards 2024" on February 28th from the British Council organisation in Brasília. According to the British Council's Director of Cultural Engagement, Diana Daste, "in 2024, the tenth edition of the Study UK Alumni Awards received a total of 1,450 entries from alumni from nearly 100 countries." In Brazil, there were over 50 applications, including Leonardo's.

Leonardo Bastos, researcher at the Scientific Computation Program of Fiocruz (PROCC/Fiocruz)

Diana explains that the winners are considered "technical and professional leaders who stand out in the way they have used this experience and knowledge acquired at a British higher education institution, with results and impact for the benefit of their community or profession."

Leonardo Bastos obtained his Ph.D. from the University of Sheffield and was awarded in the Science and Sustainability category "in recognition of his remarkable work in using statistics to correct delays in reporting infectious disease alert systems," explains Daste.

From the UK to Fiocruz

Leonardo says he submitted part of the research he has developed in partnership with other researchers at Fiocruz, called nowcasting. "It's a statistical method that anticipates cases of diseases that have occurred but have not yet been reported in the surveillance systems," comments Bastos.

The method is key in two epidemic monitoring systems developed by Fiocruz in partnership with the School of Applied Mathematics of the Getulio Vargas Foundation, Infodengue, which monitors cases of arboviruses (dengue, Zika, and Chikungunya), and InfoGripe, which monitors cases of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS). "The systems are widely used by the Ministry of Health and some health departments," explains the researcher, who works with Claudia Codeço, Oswaldo Gonçalves Cruz, and Marcelo Gomes on the research within the Foundation.

PROCC researcher's trajectory

Leonardo says his professional trajectory was also important for receiving the award. "I came from the suburbs of Belo Horizonte, the son of a waiter, studied in municipal schools, entered the Federal University of Minas Gerais (as far as I know, the first in the family to have a degree), did a master's at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, and then a PhD in England with a scholarship from there." Leonardo's studies were all related to statistics.

"When I returned from my PhD, my long-time friend Aline made it very clear that the research environment at PROCC was excellent. I took the exam in 2010, passed, was called in December 2012, and here I am," concludes the laureate.

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