Yangyang Shen, PhD student under the supervision of Prof. Rubén Martin (ICIQ), has defended his PhD Thesis entitled “Visible Light Photoredox Promoted Transformations of Inert Chemical Bonds” (assigned to the Department of Analytical & Organic Chemistry of the Universitat Rovira i Virgili) publicly on November 12th at the ICIQ Auditorium.
The members of the evaluation committee were: Júlia Pérez Prieto (Universidad de Valencia, ICMOL), Marcos García Suero (ICIQ) and Xile Hu (Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, EPFL).
Dr. Shen did his undergraduate studies with Prof. Zhiyong Jiang at Henan University and his masters studies with Prof. Xiyan Lu in the Shanghai Institute of Organic Chemistry (SIOC), China. In 2014 he joined ICIQ to pursue his PhD studies in Prof. Ruben Martin’s group, where he has focused on photo-redox catalysis in functionalizing inert chemical bonds. Dr. Shen enjoys the warm Tarragona sunshine and beach and especially the feeling of sweating after playing basketball.
Why did you become a scientist? What would you want to achieve as a scientist?
I still remember the first experiment I ever did at home! I produced oxygen by heating KClO4 catalyzed by iron rust. In high school, I found chemistry a very useful subject and was interested in the changes that occur during a chemical reaction, and as an undergraduate student, I was obsessed with organic chemistry. Since then, I always want to know more about organic transformations, which has led me to where I am today: a PhD student at ICIQ. If I am lucky enough to be a chemistry scientist in the future, I would like to find a solution to alleviate our dependence on fossil fuels, because they are not a sustainable energy source.
From the lessons learnt at ICIQ, which one do you value the most?
Always the good things I’ve learnt from my advisor and colleagues. I feel very lucky to have worked in such a wonderful institute and group. I’ve had many excellent co-workers here, but the thing I value the most is the curiosity and enthusiasm of my advisor.
What ICIQ moment you´ll never forget?
The first week I was in Tarragona, I came across Drs. Asraa’s defense celebration party. I could not imagine a crowd of PhD & Postdocs drinking and dancing with loud music. It was a definitively cultural shock. But I must confess that now I kind of enjoying the Spanish way of relaxing.
Where are you going next? What will you do there?
I will stay here a bit longer working on some interesting projects, and then I will go to Columbia University in New York to do a postdoc with Prof. Prof. Tomislav Rovis.