Sara Cuadros, PhD student under the supervision of Prof. Paolo Melchiorre (ICIQ), has defended her PhD Thesis entitled “Exploiting Organocatalysis in Photochemical Processes” (assigned to the Department of Analytic and Organic Chemistry of the Universitat Rovira i Virgili) publicly on October 17th at the ICIQ Auditorium.
The members of the examining committee were: Prof. Svetlana Tsogoeva (Friedrich-Alexander Universität of Erlangen-Nüremberg), Dra. Mónica H. Pérez-Temprano (ICIQ) and Dr. Martín Fañanás Mastral (Universidad de Santiago de Compostela).
Dr. Cuadros was born in Benidorm, although her family is from Jaen. She studied Chemistry at the University of Alicante and joined ICIQ for the first time in the summer of 2013 as a Summer Fellow in Prof. Maseras’ group. After that, Dr. Cuadros came back to Tarragona to complete the URV/ICIQ MSc in Synthesis, Catalysis and Molecular Design and her PhD. She enjoys reading – Almudena Grandes being one of her favourite authors – and walking around the medieval narrow streets of Tarragona where she feels as if she were in a small town.
Why did you become a scientist? What would you want to achieve as a scientist?
I’ve always enjoyed science. When I was in high school it was clear I’d study either physics or chemistry at university, my teachers motivated me to work on these areas. Long term, I’d like to work in medicinal chemistry with the ultimate goal of developing new pharmaceuticals to aid people.
From the lessons learnt at ICIQ, which one do you value the most?
Group members have taught me many things. Both postdocs and PhDs help everyone else in the lab, each of us has different skills and tricks and we share them among ourselves. Everyone knows something that you don’t.
What ICIQ funny moment you´ll never forget?
I’ll always remember Dr. “Mr. Cao” singing Backstreet Boys songs or Take me to your heart loudly, while doing columns. It was really funny.
What advice do you have for students who are starting their PhD now?
Time goes on very quickly – I’ve been here 5 years already! So, I think time management is extremely important both personal and professionally, sometimes you work quite hard and forget all about your life outside ICIQ, and that’s no good. You need to find the right work-life balance and stick to the formula that works for you.
Where are you going next?
I will spend one year in a medicinal chemistry lab – I’m quite excited about it!
If you were a lab instrument which would you be?
Since I work in photochemistry… I’d be a LED-strip because I’d like to be the one that gets all the molecules excited and thus makes them react!