José Enrique Gómez, PhD student under the supervision of Prof. Arjan Kleij (ICIQ), has defended his PhD Thesis entitled “Stereoselective Synthesis of Sulfones and Amino Acids from Functionalized Heterocycles” (assigned to the Department of Analytical & Organic Chemistry of the Universitat Rovira i Virgili) publicly on September 12th at the ICIQ Auditorium.
The members of the examining committee were: Prof. Sergio Castillón (Universitat Rovira i Virgili), Dr. Martín Fañanás (CIQUS) and Prof. Jan H. van Maarseveen (University of Amsterdam).
José Enrique Gómez was born in Madrid (Spain). He obtained both his BSc and MSc Degrees in Chemistry at the University of Valladolid (UVa). Hereafter he decided to move to Tarragona to start his PhD in organic chemistry at ICIQ. In the little spare time that pursuing a PhD allowed him, he enjoyed both playing and watching sports – always in good company!
Why did you become a scientist? What would you want to achieve as a scientist?
From a young age, I was quite curious about the world around me. Thus, when the time came to make a decision, it was clear I wanted to have a career where I would get excited by the act and process of new discoveries every day. Although at the very beginning I considered pursuing a career in the medical sciences or bioengineering fields, I finally decided to stay in the fascinating field of chemistry. For better or for worse, everything is chemistry! My passion for medicine and genetics has always been there, so I guess at some point I’d like to shift my path towards pharmaceutical chemistry and eventually become a medicinal chemist.
From the lessons learnt at ICIQ, which one do you value the most?
Both ICIQ seminars and training courses – which covered different disciplines involving scientific research – were awesome. I had the opportunity to learn many different things, from new research techniques to how to communicate science to different audiences. Moreover, the capacity building courses to help you when job searching are of high value.
What ICIQ moment you´ll never forget?
One of the greatest things of ICIQ is that you are exposed to a multitude of terrific scientist from all over the world, which means that your culture and scientific knowledge grow exponentially. I have lived fantastic moments at ICIQ but what I will always remember from these years here is the fantastic group of friends that I will take with me. And of course, the Wednesday football matches!
What advice do you have for students who are starting their PhD now?
In a way, I like to think of Science as a sport, I always associate it with passion, emotion, and dedication. In this sense, my advice would be that you should “Play the ball before it plays you!” In science, that means you need to be a proactive person. Even when things are not going according to plan, if you are proactive, you’ll find things to learn.
If you were a lab instrument which would you be?
NMR tube. They are fragile, but one of the most precious instruments for organic chemists. We usually care about keeping them as clean as possible. You never know what can come out of them!
Where are you going next?
At the moment, I’m looking for job opportunities. I’d like to work in a pharma company and contribute to the development of future life-changing molecules.