Publicador de contenidos

Back to 2017_10_17_CIE_Enrique_dominguez

"The training at the University is at the forefront of the international field of science."

Enrique Domínguez (Chemistry 07, Biochemistry 10 and PhD 12), is a tenured scientist at CSIC, where he has arrived after two postdocs in Poland and Russia.

Image description
Enrique Domínguez
PHOTO: Ceded
17/10/17 11:17 Laura Juampérez

- What was the subject of your doctoral research at the University?
I did my doctorate at the department of Chemistry Organic and Pharmaceutical School of Pharmacy, under the supervision of Professors Juan Antonio Palop and Carmen Sanmartín. During my doctorate I synthesized new organic compounds containing selenium. The goal was to obtain molecules with good antitumor and antioxidant activity. The antitumor activity was evaluated by a laboratory partner at the School of Nursing of the Public University of Navarra; while to determine the antioxidant action I carried out in 2011 a 6-month research stay at the University of Saarland, Saarbrücken (Germany), at the laboratory of Professor Claus Jacob. Finally, in 2012 I defended my doctoral thesis at the University of Navarra, where I had already studied Chemistry and Biochemistry .

- After completing the doctorate at the University, what was your first work experience?
In 2013 I started a postdoc of more than two years at the high school Medical at the Jagiellonian University in Krakow (Poland), where I did research on the synthesis of new anti-inflammatory agents, and inhibitors of the mechanisms of tumor cell resistance to the action of drugs. After finishing the postdoctoral work , I prepared for the competitive examinations to become a full scientist at the committee Superior Council for Scientific Research (CSIC), after which I obtained my current place .

Before joining CSIC I did a second postdoc in Russia, at the Federal University of Kazan. In this case the line of research was very different and focused on the synthesis of metal oxide nanoparticles as new catalysts in oil refining processes.

- After all your international experience, how do you value the training that you had obtained in the Degrees of Chemistry and Biochemistry ?
I consider that the training received at the University of Navarra has been excellent, first class. Not only for the knowledge transmitted, but also for the culture of work and the methodology.

In these years I have had the opportunity to work in leading universities in different European countries. In all of them I have felt equally or better prepared than the professionals trained in those universities, even though we are talking about, for example, the University of Krakow -the oldest and most prestigious in Poland- or the University of Kazan -the cradle of Organic Chemistry thanks to the work of Butlerov, Markovnikov, Arbusov and Zaitsev-.

- What projects are you currently working on at CSIC?
I am a senior scientist at the high school of Chemistry General Organic at CSIC since this year, and during this time I have dedicated myself to launch my laboratory and my group of research. At the moment I am alone, with the occasional financial aid of some interns or Erasmus students from my international collaborators, but the goal is to gradually expand the group, as I get funding to do so.

The line of work that I follow is the same of my doctoral thesis (synthesis of selenocompounds) but with application also in infectious diseases (bacterial, viral, fungal) and in its ability to reverse cancer drug resistance -inmy thesis I focused only on antitumor action-.

I am very happy with my current work . It gives me the possibility to investigate with continuity in the topics I like, without having the research line changes of the last years. This has a great impact on the enthusiasm with which you work and the resulting productivity, since it allows you to explore the line you have taken to the end, and not jumping from one project to another.

- How do you apply the skills acquired in your training at the University of Navarra?
Both degree program and thesis taught me many techniques, knowledge and skills that today I apply in research: synthetic techniques, purification techniques, spectra analysis... The University gave me a very good base that supports me, and that little by little I am improving with the new techniques that I have been learning in my international postdoctoral experiences and in my current work .

- After the experience in other countries, do you think that the scientific training in Spain is up to par?
The scientific training in Spain in the pre-Bologna programs of study plans was of high quality, it was undoubtedly one of the best in Europe. What worries me is the quality of the teaching prior to the University, since, if students do not arrive at the degree program with a minimum base, they need time to acquire that initial knowledge, and that prevents them from taking advantage of their programs of study university as we did. In this sense, it is a pity that steps are being taken backwards in such a critical field as Education, which is the basis of a country's wealth, together with research and innovation.

- If you had to give a committee to a future student or to parents who doubted whether Chemistry or Biochemistry "have a way out", what would you tell them?
Students should never decide their programs of study on the basis that "they have a way out", that "it is fashionable", or that "that degree program is made by a friend". What they have to do is to discover in ESO / high school diploma what is their thing and "go for it" with all their dedication and enthusiasm. A student who has the illusion of studying the degree program that he/she likes (even if it is a very minority degree program ), will always get better results. In fact, the best students of each promotion always find a satisfactory exit, sooner or later; while those who got the degree program without excelling, without studying too much because they were not motivated, are the ones who have had more difficulties in times as competitive as the current ones.

In addition, at degree program they acquire specific skills and knowledge, but no less important are the habits of work, perseverance, effort and perseverance, which they will later need in their professional life. From the beginning they must be aware that the degree scroll does not give the work: they have to earn it day by day, and keep working, in good times and bad, always believing in themselves and in their possibilities.