ICIQ has a new Doctor: Dr. Gu!
Yiting Gu, PhD student under the supervision of Prof. Rubén Martín Romo (ICIQ) has defended her PhD Thesis entitled “C-H & C-O Functionalization by Silicon-Heteroatom Interelement Linkages” (assigned to the Department of Analytic and Organic Chemistry of the Universitat Rovira i Virgili) publicly on November 25th at the ICIQ Auditorium.
The members of the examining committee were: Prof. Elena Fernández (Universitat Rovira i Virgili), Prof. Mariola Tortosa (Universidad Autónoma de Madrid) and Prof. Igor Larrosa (University of Manchester).
Dr. Gu is from Suzhou, a city close to Shanghai. In 2012 she started an Organic Chemistry Master in the East China University of Science and Technology (Shanghai) and when she finished, she joined Prof. Martin lab in December 2015. As a PhD student she has worked on the functionalization of inert chemical bonds. She likes cooking and swimming.
Why did you become a scientist?
I think that with science you can make everything possible and different. When I was doing my Master, there was an organic chemistry teacher who encouraged and motivated all of his students to do research. In my future career, besides doing research, I also want to educate young people: I have enjoyed helping other students during my undergraduate studies. When I see first-year graduate students honing their experimental skills and being mature it feels like a great accomplishment to me. I’m really proud of helping others accelerate their success!
From the lessons learnt at ICIQ, which one do you value the most?
The teamwork among the group members is essential to carry out your project. In my case, the group’s members were really helpful at both professional and personal levels: any problem I had they always tried to help me. Also, don’t be afraid to ask your supervisor for advice, they have expertise that you need to take into consideration for you PhD. My supervisor always kept his door open so everybody in the group could talk to him directly to discuss anything or to ask questions about chemistry.
What ICIQ funny moment you’ll never forget?
Doing “Glovebox Yoga”. In our group we use the glovebox almost every day, and the vacuum valve is quite high – at least in our glovebox. So, if you are already using the glovebox and you need to turn on the vacuum, you have to use your foot to activate the valve because your hands are inside the glovebox. When that happened, we used to say that we were doing “Glovebox Yoga”.
What will you miss the most from ICIQ?
The colleagues and friends. We had some sweet moments over lunch and also eating chocolates.
What do you wish you had known at the beginning of your PhD? What advice do you have for someone who’s starting their PhD now?
My advice would be: learn from your colleagues, talk to your supervisor regularly and be a nice person. Four years will go by quickly, so make a good plan for these four years. Also, try to do all you want at the professional and personal level, for example: enjoy the sunshine and the beach here in Tarragona. I would have liked to know Spanish – this was one of the biggest challenges during my PhD.
Where are you going next? What will you do there?
I’ll join Prof. Jack Norton’s group at Columbia University for a postdoc on radical chemistry.
If you were a piece of lab equipment, what would you be?
A stirring bar. It carries my hope and good luck, it was my lucky charm during my PhD. I like how it mixes everything, initiates the chemical reactions and also sometimes it’s the engine of the reaction.