Eleni Georgiou, PhD student under the supervision of Prof. Paolo Melchiorre, has defended her thesis entitled “Photocatalytic Strategies for the Functionalization of Pyridines”, publicly on June 27th.
The members of the evaluation committee were Prof. José Manuel González Díaz (Universidad de Oviedo), Dr. Carla Casadevall (ICIQ-URV), Prof. Dr. Sami Lakhdar (Université Paul Sabatier, Toulouse).
Dr. Eleni Georgiou was born in Cyprus where she studied chemistry at University of Cyprus (UCY). Then she travelled to UK to pursue an MSC by research under the supervision of Prof. Bruno Linclau in Chemistry at the University of Southampton. Eleni enjoys travelling and experiencing new cultures and capturing it in photographs.
Why did you become a scientist?
I always gravitated towards the fundamental understanding on how things work and it feels like chemistry is the central spoke of many diverse processes, across multiple fields. In addition, organic synthesis, my field of choice, combines creativity, discovery, and rationalization – all things that are exciting!
What do you want to achieve as a scientist?
Rather than making iterative improvements, I really want to be part of a step change in reaction discovery and development. In order to facilitate late-stage diversification of advances feedstocks.
What is your thesis about?
My thesis is about developing new photocatalytic strategies for the functionalization of pyridines.
What triggered your interest for the subject of your thesis?
Pyridine chemistry has been intensely relevant for a number of decades. This is in part due to it is privileged nature across many research fields. Pyridine is an ubiquitous moiety in both the chemical industry and in academia. The special behavior and its functionalization are accompanied by number of key challenges. The resolution of these bottlenecks would not only have benefits to the chemical industry but to the wider chemistry community at large.
What will you miss the most from ICIQ?
Scientifically, the weekly seminars given by internationally recognized speakers. Socially, the diverse and friendly environment.
What do you wish you had known at the beginning of your PhD?
That not everything goes as planned, but you can learn from every experience.
Chemistry is fun because…
is full of surprises. Overall, it has a high failure rate, but the time something works that gives you great satisfaction.
What is your favourite molecule?
Vanillin! I have used vanillin stain for a project during my PhD to visualize compounds on TLCs. It is one of the few chemicals you can use in the laboratory and your colleagues reaction is ”Oh! That smells good!”
If you were a piece of lab equipment, what would you be?
I would have been a LEDs lamp.