Vânia Calisto
Post-doctoral research fellow
Department of Chemistry/ CESAM
Universidade de Aveiro
Campus Universitário de Santiago
 3810-193 Aveiro, Portugal
vania.calisto@ua.pt

1.What are your personal perspectives as a researcher?
My scientific career is still in a very early stage, as I concluded my PhD only 4 years ago. Yet, I am very passionate about my work and I definitely aspire at building a solid research group dedicated to investigation concerning the presence of pharmaceuticals in the environment and ways of mitigating such problem in a near future. The presence of this kind of micropollutants in the environment is a problem of growing proportions and by building a research group working concertedly and towards a well defined purpose in this field, I expect to make a difference at national and global levels. I really believe in the importance of using science and technology towards the protection of the environment which is strictly related to health and welfare of the human being - this is the driving force that I would like to imprint in my research group. I hope to be able to embrace the right opportunities to fulfill that goal in a near future; naturally, for this, I would have to start by getting a researcher position, hopefully at UA!

2.In your opinion, what are the biggest challenges in your area of research?
In the last two decades, there was a huge amount of research performed internationally concerning the occurrence of pharmaceuticals in the environment. So, at this moment, the problem is correctly identified and, in my opinion, it is not sufficient to continue to demonstrate how relevant this issue is without directing our efforts to find a way of minimizing it. It is in this context that the research performed towards the development of new alternatives to effectively reduce the levels of pharmaceuticals in treated urban and industrial effluents is growing in the last years. It is specifically in this area that my main research work is focused. Nevertheless, this is a very challenging subject: in fact, most of the tentative solutions to efficiently remove pharmaceuticals (and other micropollutants) from contaminated waters do not jump from being an academic interesting solution to be applied in a real context. So, I believe that creating solutions that are really feasible for a practical application and that surpass the academic gates to the real world is the main challenge of this area of research for the next decade, and the key to properly address this problem.

3.Where are the strengths of the UA in your opinion?
UA have a fantastic multidisciplinary campus which enables close proximity between the majority of its Departments and Associate Laboratories and with several very young promising researchers.  In my opinion, these two characteristics are extremely important to allow for the development of creative and collaborative work inside UA, which undoubtedly strengths the existence of a common driving force inside the university.

4.Could you give one idea to improve research in the UA?
I think UA should improve the efforts to support young researchers (post-doctoral fellows and researchers) which have the extremely difficult task of starting and consolidating their careers in such a troubled period. By correctly selecting and supporting the best researchers currently working here, UA is also protecting the future of its research and research groups.

última atualização a 02-04-2015

Vânia Calisto (born in 1985) got her degree in Biochemistry and Food Chemistry at the Chemistry Department of the University of Aveiro (UA) in 2007 for which she was awarded with the prize for the best graduate of the year. In 2011 she completed her PhD in Chemistry from UA working on the “Occurrence, persistence and fate of psychiatric pharmaceuticals in the environment”. In 2012 she joined the Associate Laboratory CESAM as a post-doctoral research fellow. Since then, she has been doing research work mainly concerning the development of alternative adsorbents for the removal of pharmaceuticals from contaminated water using paper mill sludge as raw material. The work is mainly directed towards finding a new solution to be applied in waste water treatment plants in order to mitigate the entrance of pharmaceuticals into the environment, by means of the discharge of contaminated effluents. In addition, Vânia Calisto is also involved in the investigation of the impact of the presence of pharmaceuticals in aquatic environments, maintaining a solid collaboration with research groups from the Chemistry, Biology and Environment and Planning Departments from UA, with the Federal Institute of Materials Research and Testing (BAM, Berlin, Germany), with the Department of the Applied Chemistry and Physics of the University of Léon (Spain) and with several Portuguese industries. She is also involved in the scientific supervision of undergraduate, master and PhD students. Vânia Calisto is still in an early stage of her scientific career with 16 papers published in high impact peer review journals (180 citations, h-index 6). Nonetheless, the relevance of the developed work in the field of remediation of contaminated water resources by pharmaceuticals has recently resulted in the attribution of the Honor Medal for Women in Science by L’Oreal in conjunction with FCT and UNESCO (2014 edition).
Simultaneously to her research work, Vânia Calisto has also participated in scientific organizations: she was in the directive board of the Young Chemists Group of the Portuguese Chemical Society (2010-2012) and was Portuguese delegate for the European Young Chemists Network of the EuCheMS, being also involved in the organization of several scientific events, contests, prizes and science communication actions

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