Jixiang Ni, PhD student under the supervision of Prof. Arjan Kleij, has defended his thesis entitled “Ring-Opening of Cyclic Carbonates: From Fine Chemicals to CO2-based Polymers” publicly on October 24th.
The members of the evaluation committee were Prof. Christopher J. Whiteoak (Universidad Alcalá de Henares), Dr. Arianna Brandolese (University of Birmingham, United Kingdom) and Prof. Dr. Francesco Della Monica (Università degli Studi dell’Insubria, Italy).
Dr. Jixiang Ni was born in Shaoxing, China. He did his Master’s degree in Chemistry at Lanzhou University (2016-2019). After that, he came to ICIQ in 2019. His work is mainly focused on the research of ring-opening reaction of cyclic carbonates, and his PhD was funded by the Chinese government, China Scholarship Council (CSC). Outside the lab, Jixiang loves to go swimming and eat delicious dishes.
Why did you become a scientist?
I would like to do research that I am interested in, meanwhile, make some useful contributions to humans.
What do you want to achieve as a scientist?
I want to achieve recycled polymer and utilization of light energy as a scientist.
What is your thesis about?
My thesis is about cyclic carbonates that are versatile synthons for the preparation of a wide variety of new and functional heterocyclic products, and aliphatic polycarbonates.
What triggered your interest for the subject of your thesis?
The potential applications of fine Chemicals and Polymers caused me to become interested in the subject of my thesis.
What applications can your thesis have in the future?
In the future, my thesis will provide some useful guidance for follow-up research through the novel reactivity sites and manifolds of reaction that were investigated. Meanwhile, expands the synthesis scope of valuable polymer, which can release drug molecules as a loading.
The thing that I like most about my thesis is….
The synthesis of the valuable polymer through Anionic ring-opening polymerization (AROP)
From the lessons learnt at ICIQ, which one do you value the most?
I value the ability to think and design proposals independently the most from the lessons learned at ICIQ.
What will you miss the most from ICIQ?
I’ll miss my labmates. They are from different countries and are excellent researchers.
What do you wish you had known at the beginning of your PhD?
That I have to tolerate loneliness and work hard. During our PhD, It is also vital for us to have strong support from good platforms (excellent institutions, professors, colleagues. et. al) and good relationships (friends, families. et. al).
What advice do you have for someone who’s starting their PhD now?
If you are starting your PhD now, my advice is to make your best effort in the research, and academic communication with colleagues.
Who/What has been your biggest influence/motivation?
My supervisor, Arjan, has been my biggest influence and motivation. His knowledge and passion for chemistry are a model that he always tries to transmit to the members of his group. He is the source of all what I learned, and I feel lucky that I have been able to absorb a tiny part of his knowledge.
Chemistry/Science is fun because…
…it is an exploring unknown profession, always to get a surprise.
What is your favourite molecule?
My favourite molecule is a vinyl cyclic carbonate.
If you were a piece of lab equipment, what would you be?
As a piece of lab equipment, I would be a bottle. It can be as a container for many reactions.