Shang-Zheng Sun, PhD student under the supervision of Prof. Ruben Martín (ICIQ), has virtually defended his PhD thesis entitled “Ni-Catalyzed Reductive Coupling Reactions to Forge sp3 Carbon Linkages” (assigned to the Department of Analytical and Organic Chemistry of the Universitat Rovira i Virgili) publicly on December 15th.
The members of the evaluation committee were: Prof. Ilan Marek (Technion – Israel Institute of Technology), Prof. Marcos García Suero (ICIQ) and Prof. Josep Cornella (Max-Planck-Institute).
Dr. Sun is from Zaozhuang, a small city in eastern China. He obtained his master’s degree in Chemistry at Shanghai University. In November 2016, he joined the group of Prof. Ruben Martin at ICIQ to pursue his PhD studies. He is a sports fan; he likes to play basketball and football and in his spare time he likes to watch sports games.
Why did you become a scientist? What would you want to achieve as a scientist?
In high school, I dreamt about being a pharmacologist. I wanted to develop new medications to save more patients. During my bachelor’s studies in pharmacy, I realized that organic synthesis is crucial for drug discovery, so I decided to study chemistry. I want to develop simple and efficient methods to employ in drug discoveries.
From the lessons learnt at ICIQ, which one do you value the most?
I have always felt lucky that I have had the chance of studying in such a great and international institute as ICIQ. I learnt a lot from the ICIQ seminars and training courses. I also learnt a lot from my advisor and colleagues, they helped me grow up as a chemist.
What ICIQ moment you´ll never forget?
I will never forget the first international lunch in our group. That was the first time that I tasted many delicious foods from outside China. The group members were all very warm-hearted, and we ended up drinking and dancing together.
What advice do you have for someone who’s starting their PhD now?
My advice would be to “think hard, work hard and play hard.” This is what Ruben told me when I joined the group. Try to learn and collaborate with your colleagues, it will help you carry out the project more efficiently.
Where are you going next? What will you do there?
I will join the Hyster group at Cornell University in Ithaca (USA), where I will work as a postdoc on biocatalysis.
If you were a piece of lab equipment, what would you be?
I would like to be a gas chromatographer-mass spectrometer (GC-MS). Because it is immensely helpful when analyzing reaction mixtures. It tells you what you obtained after a reaction.