Cristina García-Morales, PhD student under the supervision of Prof. Antonio M. Echavarren (ICIQ), has defended her PhD Thesis entitled “Reactivity and Characterization of Gold(I) Carbenes: Key Intermediates in Gold(I) Catalysis” (assigned to the Department of Organic and Analytical Chemistry of the Universitat Rovira i Virgili) publicly on March 8th at the ICIQ Auditorium.
The members of the examining committee were: Prof. Pedro J. Pérez (Universidad de Huelva), Prof. Paolo Melchiorre (ICIQ) and Prof. Cristina Nevado (University of Zurich).
Dr. García-Morales was born in Moguer, a beautiful and white town in the south of Spain. She studied chemistry in Universidad de Huelva, and after an Erasmus stay at Strathclyde University (Glasgow, Scotland), joined ICIQ as a Masters student in 2013 and decided to pursue her PhD studies under Prof. Echavarren’s supervision. If she weren’t a scientist, she’d had been a rhythmic gymnastics coach, job she has combined with her studies.
Why did you become a scientist? What would you want to achieve as a scientist?
I’ve always known I wanted to become a scientist. My dad conveyed his passion for science to me and my siblings as kids: he would use fruit to tell us about how the planets move, for example. It was really fun! At school, I knew very early I wanted to do research in life sciences so I decided to study chemistry. As a scientist, I have very broad interests: I want to keep on learning, I don’t want to do the same stuff all my life.
From the lessons learnt at ICIQ, which one do you value the most?
You need to keep on trying: good results come when you try once, and repeat, and try again and again and again. Also, if you are lucky enough to be working at ICIQ, go around and talk to people: ask them questions. Take advantage of all these bright and experienced researchers, you might be very focused on trying to solve a problem, and casual conversations in the corridors can help you find a solution.
What ICIQ anecdote you´ll never forget? What will you miss the most from ICIQ?
Since I started my PhD, I have been working hood to hood with Pilar Calleja. We have shared many cherished moments over the years, but I will never forget our “columning choreographies.” I also remember fondly the day I proposed Ángel Mudarra to move in and live with Pilar and me. I will really miss the lunches and being surrounded by so many different and special people.
What advice do you have for someone who’s starting their PhD now?
Take every single opportunity that doing a PhD at ICIQ has to offer – both chemically and personally speaking! Always agree to go somewhere else for a short exchange and, no matter how busy you are, never stop doing things you love outside the lab.
Where are you going next? What will you do there?
After the defence, I´m going on holidays with my sister to Prague. In the long-term, I see myself working in a company but I still need to figure out where and doing what exactly.