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"There can be greater collaboration between doctoral students".

Juan Pablo Romero receives his PhD in Bioengineering as the first graduate of Tecnun in Biomedical Engineering.

05/10/17 14:43 Communication Service

Born in Mexico (1991), he belongs to the first promotion of the Degree in Biomedical Engineering, a pioneer program in the Spanish university scene. At the end of his Master's Thesis with Professor Ángel Rubio, he decided to join the labor market as a junior researcher in the Bioinformatics Area of the School. He wanted to work on the same project that earned him his degree: Bioinformatics Analysis of Alternative Splicing.

Juan Pablo defended his thesis at Miramón on September 22. This brings to 621 the number of theses defended at the technological campus of the University of Navarra.

Did you choose to pursue a doctorate because you could not find a better way out?

Nothing of the sort! The decision was to better prepare me for the future. Many of the companies in our field ask for postgraduate levels of study in order to apply for important positions. In fact, I have offers in different countries such as Spain, Holland and USA.

But you don't get paid the same as a researcher as you would, for example, in a consulting firm.

It's true," he laughs. In industrial or consulting companies, the normal thing is to charge more at the beginning. In my case, I valued not only the economic part but also being happy with the job, the balance with family or social life and the work environment. Of course, once you have finished your thesis, it is very different to apply for a position as a doctor because you can see the advantages in every way.

What are the most common clichés among students as to why there are so few doctoral students?

The one I hear most often is: "The doctorate is to end up teaching at the university". On the other hand, there are many companies with R+D+I departments that are looking for PhDs to hire. There is also a lot of talk about the fact that one does not usually travel or that the whole time is very monotonous. During my thesis I went to congresses and I was in Portugal. There is also the option of doing stays abroad. In my case I spent a few months working in a hospital in Leiden, Holland.

There is also the opportunity to work on research projects with companies. I had the opportunity to work on a project for Affymetrix (California, USA) and on one occasion they came to San Sebastian, because I had to present them all the progress of the project.  

Surely there is some aspect that could be improved in order to better evaluate a Ph.

One values one's own work according to the results and nobody takes away the emotion when a paper is accepted, you get a prize at a congress, or the grade when defending the thesis. Perhaps we could try to make a little more collaboration between all the doctoral students in the School. Surely interesting ideas will come out and, above all, they are colleagues who are going through the same thing as you.

And, now that you are a doctor, how do you see the future?

After 8 years in San Sebastian, it is time for me to move. Now I am starting to work in the Onco-hematology group at CIMA, in Pamplona, with a lot of enthusiasm. I start with new projects and above all with new responsibilities; I am the head of all the bioinformatics there. I am a bit nervous, but I think it is more because I want to contribute as much as I can. I will be coming to San Sebastian from time to time to give classes in the Master's Degree in Biomedical Engineering, so I won't disappear completely from the technology campus," smiles Juan Pablo. 

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