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Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ)

The Zoology Department of the Biology Institute, Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ), is the home of a laboratory dedicated to the biodiversity of protists (eukaryotic unicellular microorganisms). Dr. Inácio D. S. Neto, the coordinator, is a well-known zoologist with degrees from the University of Rio de Janeiro, University of São Paulo and specialization at the Institute de Protistologie et Zoologie dans l` Université Blaise Pascal, France. He has been the mentor of several graduate and PhD students over the years. His lab is now involved in the BIOTA program from the State Agency to Support Science with the research line entitled: “Free-living protozoa occurring in fragments of Atlantic Forest in the state of Rio de Janeiro – multidisciplinary characterization, faunal study and biotechnological potential.”

The BIOTA program aims to fund interdisciplinary research projects on the topic of biodiversity, its conservation and sustainable use in the state of Rio de Janeiro, with the following objectives, among others: to improve the knowledge about the impact of environmental actions; support public policies aimed at improving the quality of the environment; investigate the biotechnological potential of these organisms and their sustainable exploitation as a commercial product; map landscape changes, and monitor biodiversity for the establishment of reference levels.

Dr. Neto`s group uses optical and Scanning Electron Microscopy to unveil unthinkable details of a world mostly unknown to inhabitants of this planet, although they play an important role in the stability of our ecosystems. Take a minute to take a close look at the images.

Rio de Janeiro, the city and the state, are living an exciting moment in history. Massive amounts of resources are being invested in the city infrastructure and science and technology are particularly of interest in the education sector. Brazil is sending abroad thousands of students to pursue or complement higher education. Dr. Inácio Neto has been sending and receiving several students mainly to European countries, such as Italy, Germany and France. For additional information, please contact: idsnet@biologia.ufrj.br.

Dr. Inácio coordinates research expeditions to the Atlantic forest and takes science from the campus to city schools and parks: the talk to a scientist tour. There is interest of using protozoa in cleaning water treatment programs.

Dr. Neto's images can also be seen at "Oceana vida escondida" or "Oceans: Hidden Life" in the photo gallery at www.usp.br/cbm/oceano/oceano.html#imagens.