David Gonçalves - 2011 Winning Essay

David Gonçalves

I have been fascinated by science from my earliest youth. Particularly, the infinitely large distances of space captivated me and seized all my attention. So it is paradoxical that today I work with the infinitely small - to be more exact, nanoparticles. Nanotechnology is an area that is growing very quickly. Many experts believe that this technology will develop more applications in less than 25 years than electricity did in one hundred.

After finishing microbiology studies at the University of Montreal, I commenced second level studies at the Armand Frapper Institute in Laval, on the effect of nanoparticles on human health. I am currently engaged in Doctorate studies on the same subject. I firmly believe that if we wish to profit from these technologies, we must have confidence that these new materials will not impair human health. I have already published results bearing on this subject which show that titanium dioxide, one of the most used nanoparticles, can activate neurophils, the most abundant white cells in the human body.

My academic aims are to continue my studies on this subject, and to classify nanoparticles according to their potential to cause inflammation. This without doubt will be a valuable medical tool. In the long run, I expect to obtain a position as a university researcher in the subject.

Finally, just as the infinitely great was an inspiration for me, the infinitely small is likely also to fascinate young people. My aim is to transmit my passion for science to future generations of scientists.