Heverton is a vector biologist with experience in mosquitoes and fruit flies. He obtained both his Master’s and PhD degrees in Health Sciences with an emphasis on Cell and Molecular Biology at the Rene Rachou Research Institute – FIOCRUZ (Brazil). His current work is focused on the host-microbe interaction between Aedes aegypti and Wolbachia, exploring the mechanisms behind the pathogen blocking effect of these bacteria on arboviruses. Previous jobs at Boston and Harvard Universities, as a PEW Latin-American postdoctoral fellow were also focused on using such bacteria as an innovative tool for vector control using Aedes aegypti, Anopheles gambiae and Drosophila melanogaster as model organisms.

1 Are you an early bird or night owl?Early Bird
2 Are you pro- or anti-pun?Pro-pun
3 Do you have any pets?No
4 Do you have any science-themed home decor?No
5 Do you prefer cooking or baking?Baking
6 Do you prefer sweet or savory?Both
7 Do you speak any other languages?Yes, Portuguese.
8 If you could switch professions, what would you do?Pastry chef.
9 If you could switch science fields, what field would you want to work in?Data Science.
10 If you got a plane ticket right now, where would it go?Brazil and visit my mom! It has been 2 years since I saw my family.
11 If you had one superpower, what would it be?Teleportation.
12 Is there anything you strongly recommend we watch and/or read and/or listen to?Lord of the Rings and Derek.
13 It’s your day off. What do you want to do?Bake!
14 What are three things you can’t live without?Computer, Video Games and a baking.
15 What beverage gives you life?Avocado smoothie.
16 What book did you read in school that positively shaped you?Vidas Secas “Dry Lives” Written in 1938 by Gracilliano Ramos. It narrates the story of this family of 5 and their dog, trying to survive extreme poverty. Interestingly enough, the dog is the most humane character in the book.
17 What did you want to be when you grew up?Physician.
18 What drives you and keeps you going?The desire to accomplish something meaningful and long-lasting.
19 What got you excited in science?The ability to use scientific knowledge to give back to the community.
20 What excites you about science now?How fast things are moving on from lab to field. Think about CRISPR-based technologies and vaccine development.
21 What is a guilty pleasure of yours?Brownies. Fudgy, cakey, you name it!
22 What is a secret talent of yours?Not sure about secret or talent in itself, but I played the clarinet, professionally, for almost 10 years.
23 What is your favorite game?In recent years it has to be Witcher 3. As for all time favorite: Counter-Strike 1.6. Played it so much with my friends, as a teenager.
24 What is the last book you read?The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss
25 What is one of the best pieces of advice you’ve received?“Always be humble. You’re not better than anyone else just because you’ve accomplished X or Y. Each person is a result of several accomplishments and failures.” My mom would always remind me of that.
26 What is something you’ve always wanted to try but you’ve been too scared to do?Skydive.
27 What is the best advice for your 18 year old self?Don’t be afraid to change. Take chances and see where life takes you.
28 What is the best way to de-stress?Baking. Nothing like a long and complex recipe to make you completely forget about all other issues.
29 What is the last thing you watched?Season 3 of Kobra Kai. Not as good as S1 and S2, though.
30 What is the weirdest thing you’ve had in your bag?Mosquitoes. While doing my PhD there were times in which I had to go to this university on the other side of the city, to perform certain experiments, as we did not have the equipment for it in our lab.
31 What is your favorite animal?Birds.
32 What is your favorite book?Lord of the Rings.
33 What is your favorite comfort food?Lasagna.
34 What is your favorite day of the year?Morning of December 25th, which is when my family would celebrate Christmas and exchange gifts.
35 What is your favorite plant?Can it be a tree? If so, jaboticaba tree, also known as Brazilian grapetree. Would spend hours on it as a kid, eating ALL the fruits.
36 What is your favorite science fact?These tiny bacteria called Wolbachia are present in up to 60% of all known insect species! Talk about spread!
37 What is your favorite season?Fall
38 What is your favorite smell?Fresh figs and frankincense.
39 What is your favorite sound?The noise your computer would make when you received a message on ICQ.
40 What is your favorite thing about yourself?Willingness to work hard and learn, knowing that there are SOO many people that are way smarter than me.
41 What is your favorite word (in any language)?Uai. A common word used by people from my State (Minas Gerais) in Brazilian Portuguese.
42 What is your proudest moment?Used to be when I got my first International grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. But now is getting married to the woman of my life.
43 What kind of tree would you be?Jaboticaba tree.
44 What’s the best thing about where you live?Minimum commute and lots of green space.
45 Tell us something we probably don’t know.I broke my arm when I was 15, doing capoeira moves from a rusty stove top citing on top of a tree trunk.
46 Who would you like to see 46 Questions interview next?Kristine Werling (@WerlingKristine)