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Friday, 06 February 2015

The first two Severo Ochoa PhDs talk about their initial experience at ICN2 and their dreams

ICN2 is hiring highly talented young researchers thanks to opportunities offered by the Severo Ochoa Award achieved last year through the Nanodevices for Societal Challenges Program. Blanca Chocarro and Christian Bellacanzone were the two first PhDs to recently enter ICN2 thanks to an ICN2-SO fellowship. Learn about them and their objectives!

ICN2 is proud to present two young talented researchers that have recently joined the Institute to work towards a PhD. They were the first two ICN2 – Severo Ochoa PhDs to arrive: Blanca Chocarro, thanks to the FPI fellowships for Severo Ochoa Excellence Centers from the Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness (MINECO), and Christian Bellacanzone, thanks to a fellowship funded with the ICN2 Severo Ochoa Award. Each one of them develops a research that joins the efforts of at least two research Groups, reinforcing shared objectives within the Institute.

Through the following interviews you will learn about these young researchers and their dreams. If you want to join them, stay tuned to the opportunities published through the ICN2 Jobs portal. There you will find new PhD positions, such as the “la Caixa” Foundation International Program for PhD Fellowship, as well as opportunities for technicians, postdocs, or administraton, among others.


How did you know about the Severo Ochoa Program? Why did you think it could be interesting for your career? How will this opportunity contribute to your professional life?

Christian Bellacanzone: I have known the Severo Ochoa program through the ICN2 web site. I think it is very interesting for my career because it allows me to study and work on cutting-edge science topics. Furthermore the opportunity to work between two groups, leader in different fields, strengthens my background of science comprehension leading me to get worthy knowledge that will be an advantage in my future professional life. The two Groups I am working with are Nanostructured Materials for Photovoltaic Energy Group and Nanostructured Functional Materials Group.

Blanca Chocarro: Since I started studying Biotechnology, I had the idea to do a Doctorate and orientate my career to scientific research. When I started checking the available scholarship programs, I came across the Severo Ochoa Program that was a very interesting and prestigious scholarship.

After finishing the Master studies, I saw that there was a Doctorate program in my field at the ICN2 which allows me to work in two leading research groups Nanobiosensors and Bioanalytical Applications Group (nanoB2A) & Supramolecular NanoChemistry and Materials Group (NanoUp), getting a cross-functional knowledge.

Since the ICN2 has a Mention of Excellence from the Severo Ochoa Program, I had the opportunity to obtain a Severo Ochoa scholarship for this research area.


Can you tell us about the scientific project you are involved in? Why did you choose this research area?

Blanca Chocarro: The main aim of this project is to achieve novel nanobiosensors with unprecedent selectivity and sensitivity by combining nanophotonic interferometric transducers with nanoscale Metal-Organic Frameworks-based bioreceptors capable of recognizing directly (without labels) and selectively pollutants without the need of using biological receptors (as antibodies) or any kind of amplification steps (as enzymatic or nanoparticles).

I chose this research area because I have been always interested in environment.

Christian Bellacanzone: My project focuses on the study of new preparation methods for the deposition of active layer for printed solar cells and the investigation upon new materials in order to improve the efficiency and stability of solar cells. I chose this research area because it is related to one of the biggest problems of our society: the production of energy. Developing a versatile photovoltaic cell with higher efficiency, stability and working-life, decreasing the production cost and using eco-friendly solvent materials it is an important route to find a solution to the cost of energy in terms of money and pollution. In my opinion this is one of the themes that will direct the research efforts and funds in the next years.


Which will be the main targets for your career after finishing this program? What do you think you will be doing in ten years?

Christian Bellacanzone: The main target for my career is for sure to carry on a high quality and productive research useful to enhance our knowledge of nanoscience world and leading to a final product able to improve the quality of our life. I hope that in ten years I will keep on working in nanoscience field carrying on new exciting research in a high level research center as it is ICN2.

Blanca Chocarro: I see my future in the world of the scientific research. For that, when I finish the Doctorate, I would like to do a Post-Doctorate abroad. I had already the opportunity to study one year abroad and it was a very enriching experience. And in ten years I would like to be back and working professionally in applied research, taking advantage of all gathered knowledge.


How do you think working at ICN2 together with scientists from around the world can contribute to a better development of your scientific research?

Blanca Chocarro: With no doubt it is an excellent opportunity to exchange knowledge with scientists of other countries and cultures. Having in mind present globalization trend, it is a rewarding experience that allows integrating oneself in this global trend.

Christian Bellacanzone: I am confident that ICN2 is the best place to realize all my purposes and ambitions because it gives me the opportunity to work taking advantage of high standard equipment and being close to scientist from different countries and different fields with whom is possible share knowledge and experiences for a personal and intellectual growth.