Imma Escofet, PhD student under the supervision of Prof. Antonio M. Echavarren (ICIQ), has virtually defended her PhD thesis entitled “Computational Mechanistic Studies in Gold(I) Catalysis and Design of New Chiral Ligands” (assigned to the Department of Organic Chemistry of the Universitat Rovira i Virgili) publicly on June 12th.
The members of the examining committee were: Prof. Enrique Gómez-Bengoa (University of the Basque Country), Prof. Rosa Caballol (URV) and Prof. Alexandr Shafir (Institut de Química Avançada de Catalunya).
Dr. Escofet was born in La Granada, a little town in the Alt Penedès county. She studied Chemistry at Universitat de Barcelona, which included an Erasmus at Dr. Trembleau’s group at University of Aberdeen. She then moved on to study Oenology and Viticulture at Rovira i Virgili University, a field in which she worked on for three years. Since late 2011, she has been working as a laboratory engineer at Prof. Echavarren’s group, where she has also pursued her PhD. She is very curious and likes learning new things. During her childhood, she was an enthusiast of sports and cultural activities.
Why did you become a scientist?
I have always been very curious about how things work in nature and have wanted to understand what factors make life possible. I had an incredibly good chemistry teacher in high school, and thanks to her classes, I wanted to know more about it. I think that science has the key to discovering many interesting things and it is in our hands, as scientists, to help solve the biggest problems humanity is facing.
From the lessons learnt at ICIQ, which one do you value the most?
The constant learning! ICIQ is an international reference in chemistry and I assure you, your colleagues will always know something you don’t – and vice versa – it’s a great place to share knowledge. Also, I have been able to learn a lot by working alongside scientists like my supervisor, Antonio M. Echavarren. I find it fascinating that some people know so much about such different topics, I really enjoy being able to learn from them.
What ICIQ moment you’ll never forget?
Among many other anecdotes, I especially remember dancing in the lab the “Gangnam Style”, dedicated to our co-worker Yahui Wang, when he left a few years ago.
What do you wish you had known at the beginning of your PhD?
I think knowing how to organise your time is crucial to doing a doctoral thesis. But most importantly, being curious to learn and wanting to work hard to achieve your goals.
Where are you going next?
I will continue working at ICIQ.
If you were a piece of lab equipment, what would you be?
Definitely, a dry box! It allows you to work in an inert atmosphere and store air-sensitive reagents. The truth is that I have spent many hours and I find them particularly useful!