CGE Student Spotlight: Thais Pedrete, Ph.D.
Thais Pedrete, FSU international scholar from Brazil, continues her postdoctoral research on molecular self-assembly protein structures in hopes of developing pharmacological strategies that will treat and prevent diseases.
Pedrete came to FSU from Brazil in August 2021 to conduct research in FSU’s Bleiholder’s Lab within the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry.
Pedrete views being an international scholar at FSU as a major accomplishment and achievement. “Just being here, in a completely different environment facing new challenges, is already a significant achievement for me,” she said. “I have already learned more than I could ever expected in a just couple of months and I continue improving my skills on ion mobility/mass spectrometry, building my path to become a competent and renowned researcher." .
At FSU, she and her research group in the Bleiholder Lab, are using mass spectrometry to determine structural and dynamical aspects of these self-assembling systems, important for the development of pharmacological strategies to treat and prevent many diseases.
“A molecular self-assembly is a phenomenon by which macromolecular assemblies are construct, being crucial to the function of cells. How a protein functions is dependent on its structure,” she said. “Since, proteins are dynamic, they can assume different conformations and ways to self-assembly, important for Alzheimer's, diabetes, and cancer."
Since high school, she has been interested in biology and chemistry, but her specific interests in such have changed over time. “I started my academic life with elaboration and cooperation of several environmental projects, developing methodologies of cellular biomarkers and DNA damage, and analytical methods for determination of hydrocarbons metabolites by mass spectrometry,” she said. It was not until she was a Ph.D. candidate that she shifted to a focus on public health and found herself looking for international post-doctoral research opportunities soon after completing her PhD.
In addition to her research, Pedrete is passionate about teaching students about molecular biology, biochemistry, analytical chemistry and environmental chemistry through her courses and lectures.
Pedrete earned a master's degree in chemistry from Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro. She then earned a doctoral degree in science, as well as a graduate certificate in scientific and technological information in health, from Oswaldo Cruz Foundation (FIOCRUZ). Later she served as a postdoctoral researcher in bioscience at Rio de Janeiro State University.
Pedrete’s transition to the FSU way of life as an international scholar has had many challenges, but she believes that our community has made it easier.
“I feel so blessed to meet loving and welcoming people, that made my first tough weeks in Tally pretty amazing! It is not easy to move to another country and start a new life, getting all the documentation right to become staff at FSU and to settle down in the city as a citizen,” she said.
“Before applying to this position, I was amazed by FSU, with its beauty, infrastructure and all the support that it gives to international students,” she said.
Since being at FSU, she has found a love for the social events on campus, the amenities, and the game-day atmosphere. “During my time on FSU's campus, I participated in different social events on Landis Green and at the Student Life Cinema,” Pedrete said. “I really like to go to the Center for Global Engagement’s International Coffee Hour to meet and chat with people from all over the world."
The CGE’s International Coffee Hours are held every Friday classes are in session from 5-6:30 p.m. in The Globe, and are resuming Friday, January 21. Students, faculty and staff enjoy an international snack from a featuring a culture and interaction with people from around the world.
If you’re an international scholar who is interested in being highlighted by the CGE on our website, social media platforms, and in publications, please share your experience as an international student at FSU with us through this questionnaire. Plan to upload a collegiate picture of yourself and spend about 20 minutes completing the survey.