Giulia Moncelsi, PhD student under the supervision of Prof. Pablo Ballester (ICIQ), has defended her PhD Thesis entitled “Stimuli-responsive host-guest systems decorated with hemithioindigo and spiropyran units” (assigned to the Department of Analytical and Organic Chemistry of the Universitat Rovira i Virgili) publicly on July 26th at the ICIQ Auditorium.
The members of the examining committee were: Prof. Valérie Heitz (Strasbourg University), Prof. Laura Rodriguez Raurell (University of Barcelona) and Dr. Agustí Lledó Ponsati (University of Girona).
Dr. Moncelsi grew up in Passignano sul Trasimeno, an idyllic lake town in the province of Perugia, in central Italy. She obtained both her BSc and MSc Degrees in Chemistry at the University of Perugia. During her MSc she did an Erasmus stay of six months at Imec/KU Leuven in Belgium. She then moved to ICIQ to pursue her PhD under the supervision of Prof. Pablo Ballester. During this period, she carried out a six months research stay in the group of Dr. Henry Dube at the LMU München. If she weren’t a scientist, she would probably have studied foreign languages to become a translator.
Why did you become a scientist? What would you want to achieve as a scientist?
My family is very engaged and passionate about science: my dad studied biology and my brother is an astrophysicist. Eventually, I grew into the idea that the advancement of science and technology is the key to a better society. However, I believe that, as scientists, we must not disregard the ethics behind scientific advancement, because technical improvement alone does not imply going in the right direction as a society. I want to combine my technical skills and personal values to become the kind of individual seeking and pursuing sensible changes to serve this goal.
From the lessons learnt at ICIQ, which one do you value the most?
Staying humble. You might think you’re great at something, but there’s always going to be someone better than you at that. The key lesson here is to learn as much as possible from others and give back when you have the chance – always keeping in mind that you can’t be the best at everything!
What ICIQ funny moment you´ll never forget?
I won’t lie if I say that there is not one single favourite moment of my time here at ICIQ. Let’s just say that, during this last year in the PB4, every day felt like living inside a spin-off episode of “The Office” taking place in a chemistry lab. If it could all have been recorded in a documentary, I genuinely think it would be a bingeable show!
What do you wish you had known at the beginning of your PhD?
Try not to be scared or frustrated by negative or unexpected results, especially during the first year of the PhD. Embrace them because, in the end, these results will make you learn the most for all the time you’ve spent trying to understand them. Unexpected results are positive after all!
If you were a lab instrument which would you be?
I like to think of the fume hood as the lab equipment that is often overlooked but is ultimately essential to do chemistry experiments in the best way possible!
Where are you going next?
For the moment, I’m planning to take a few weeks of holidays abroad in August. In the meantime, I am already taking small steps toward a career in scientific publishing.