Sijing Xue, PhD student under the supervision of Prof. Arjan Kleij (ICIQ), has defended her PhD thesis entitled “Dual Transition Metal/Photoredox Catalysis for the Synthesis of Quaternary Carbon Stereocenters” (assigned to the Department of Analytical and Organic Chemistry of the Universitat Rovira i Virgili) publicly on December 10th.
The members of the evaluation committee were Prof. Paolo Melchiorre (ICIQ), Prof. José Alemán (Autonomous University of Madrid) and Prof. José Luis Vicario (University of the Basque Country UPV/EHU).
Dr. Xue is from the Fujian province in China. After doing her bachelor’s in Chemistry at Harbin University of Science and Technology, she moved to Shanghai to do her masters at the Shanghai Institute of Organic Chemistry. In 2018 she joined ICIQ as a PhD student to work on asymmetric allylations under the supervision of Prof. Kleij. In her free time, she enjoys inviting people over to her place to cook together and share the food. She enjoys travelling and during her stay at ICIQ she had the chance to visit Denmark and France, but she hopes that in the future she’ll have more free time to pursue this interest.
What moment at ICIQ you’ll never forget?
My first day at ICIQ. Ingrid picked me up at the reception and showed me around. Everything was new to me: the people, the lab… the atmosphere of the institute was different to anything I had seen before, so it was truly unforgettable.
From the skills developed during the thesis, which one do you value the most?
I think the one I value the most is the ability to do photochemistry, which was a new area for me. But the skill I have developed the most is how to solve the problems you come across while doing research. At the beginning of my PhD, I took many detours from my original goal, but it proved to be a great learning experience that I really value now. When I look back, I think I learnt a lot during this time.
What advice do you have for someone who’s starting their PhD now?
Read more scientific literature, think more and do more experiments. It’s extremely important to think deeply about how a reaction works and then, maybe, you won’t need to do as many experiments…
Have you ever been emotional over an experiment?
Many times! If the reaction is important to me, I get nervous when I’m about to open the results from the chromatography unit or the NMR file.
What will you miss the most from ICIQ?
The weather and the people. I really like the people here because they are very nice and always greet you kindly.
My plan after the PhD is to go back to Shanghai and find a job there. Shanghai is a modern city, with lots of skyscrapers and opportunities. Although the weather is not as good as in Tarragona, my family and a lot of friends I made during my masters live there.
If you were to be a piece of lab equipment, what would you be?
I’d be an NMR machine because you can use it to see through your molecule.