Office of the Vice President for Global Communications

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

U-M group will visit Brazil to forge collaborations in education and research

U-M scientists and scholars led by President Mary Sue Coleman will travel to Brazil Sept. 22-28 to strengthen research and academic collaboration with several leading universities and foundations.

"We have partnered with Brazil for many years and witnessed one of the most interesting revolutions in higher education," Coleman said. "Brazil is not only an emerging economy, it is an emerging power in research."

 U-M delegates Michelle Heisler and Sueann Caulfield share their hopes about the upcoming Brazil trip by President Mary Sue Coleman. Learn more about the U-M Brazil trip at the Global Michigan portal.

The U-M group will have meetings and working sessions in four cities, including São Paulo, Campinas, Rio de Janeiro and Brasilia, the capital. Coleman will host meetings in São Paolo and Rio de Janeiro with U-M alumni living in Brazil.

The delegation plans to visit the Universidade de São Paulo, the Universidade Estadual de Campinas and the Universidade Federal do Estado do Rio de Janeiro, as well as three leading foundations. Part of the delegation also will meet U.S. Embassy and Brazilian government officials in Brasilia to discuss broader partnership possibilities.

Brazilian students from the "Science Without Borders" program will share their experiences.

Education and research are fast-growing sectors in Brazil, with a half-million graduates and 10,000 doctorates awarded each year. More than a quarter of all scientific papers by Brazilians have foreign co-authors. Brazil also is investing $1.5 billion in its “Science Without Borders” program, through which 100,000 Brazilian graduate and undergraduate students will have studied at a U.S. or European university by 2015.

"The University of Michigan has a tradition of global engagement as one of our pillars of academic excellence," Coleman said. "Many U-M researchers collaborate globally with peer scholars and scientists, making us a stronger university." U-M currently has nearly 6,000 international students. The first international students enrolled at U-M in the late 1840s.

Coleman previously led faculty delegations to China, Ghana and South Africa to establish academic partnerships.

One of the faculty members on the delegation to Brazil is Dr. Gary Hammer, professor of internal medicine at the Medical School specializing in adrenal cancer, and one of the world's leading researchers on this rare disease. Hammer reports that the willingness of Brazilian colleagues to share DNA samples from their adrenal cancer cohort "has enabled us to leverage our sample set with the National Cancer Institute TCGA (The Cancer Genome Atlas) platform that has now agreed to invest significant resources to sequence the adrenal cancer genome."

U-M and Brazilian institutions already have important partnerships, many of them led by the U-M Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies (LACS), in a wide array of disciplines — from environmental studies and health sciences to history and the arts in collaboration with the University Musical Society.

LACS enrolls more than 250 graduate and professional school students from 25 schools and departments in a wide variety of classes. Each year, an average of 15 U-M graduate students complete doctoral dissertations specifically focused on Latin America.