Aliénor Jeandin, a PhD student who is under Prof. Marcos G. Suero’s supervision, has successfully defended her PhD thesis entitled “Synthesis of cyclopropenium cations by carbyne transfer catalysis and applications in novel cyclopropene syntheses” publicly on October 27th.
The members of the evaluation committee were Prof. Dr. Ilan Marek (Schulich Faculty of Chemistry, Israel), Prof. Dr. Maria Elena Fernández Gutiérrez (Universitat Rovira i Virgili) and Prof. Dr. Rubén Vicente (Universidad de Oviedo).
Dr. Jeandin is from Switzerland. She studied chemistry at the University of Geneva (2013-2016). After obtaining her master’s degree in chemistry at the same University (2016-2018), Aliénor spent 8 months working at Roche, in Basel, as an intern. Then, she decided to move to Spain for her doctoral studies at the ICIQ. Dr. Jeandin likes to read, taking walks outdoors at the beach or in the mountains in the summer, and in the winter, she enjoys skiing very much.
Why did you become a scientist?
I initially decided to study chemistry because I wanted to become a perfumer, and a diploma in chemistry is necessary to enter in many schools of perfumery. After the first three years, however, I was too interest in science to stop there, and I decided to keep studying chemistry with a master’s degree first and then a doctorate.
What is your thesis about?
My thesis is about the development and application of a catalytic synthesis of cyclopropenium cations and their application in different syntheses of cyclopropenes.
What triggered your interest for the subject of your thesis?
I am very interested in projects that can be applied to serve for the improvement of processes in pharmaceutical, flavours and fragrances or agrochemical chemistries.
What applications can your thesis have in the future?
We have pioneered a cyclopropenylation process that can be applied to drug molecules, which could impact medicinal chemistry, and the development of future drug candidates.
The thing that I like most about my thesis is….
The small size and triangular shape of both the molecules I have worked with, the cyclopropenium cation and the cyclopropene, and all the chemistry we were able to develop with them.
From the lessons learnt (or skills developed) at ICIQ, which one do you value the most?
The capacity to adapt to new challenges and unexpected situations. This ability is like a muscle, the more you train it, the better you become at it, and it is very valuable in many areas.
What will you miss the most from ICIQ?
All the friends I have made here, and the sun!
What do you wish you had known at the beginning of your PhD?
There is no such thing as a dumb question, and the best and fastest way to learn is to ask the people around you.
What advice do you have for someone who’s starting their PhD now?
Don’t compare yourself to others, you are just as valuable as everyone else. The best investment of your time and energy is your research, and your development as a scientist.
Who has been your biggest influence?
It is very hard to name one person in particular. I met many people over the years, supervisors, mentors and colleagues who all influenced me to keep going and continue studying as I did.
What is your favourite molecule?
Cyclopropenium cations, of course!
If you were a piece of lab equipment, what would you be?
A balloon, because there are essential to the success of most reactions and they also add a little bit of colour to the lab!