My name is Joaquin Barjau,
Since I was a child I feel passion for science and I have always wanted to develop something new. When somebody asked me what I would like to be when I grow up, I always answered that scientist and doctor. My first birthday presents where plastic dinosaurs, minerals and G.I. Joes. Probably something that I really desired was that microbiology set that never arrived because my mother thought that lens would deteriorate my sight.
I decided to study chemistry without knowing what I was really choosing, after all my aunt was a chemist and she had a successful carrier in pesticides research. As undergraduate, I spend one year studying in Germany, in Hannover. After that tough, but inspiring experience, i decided to turn back to Germany, supported by the DAAD-La Caixa program. At the group of Prof Waldvogel first in Bonn and finally in Mainz, I obtained my doctor degree in Organic Chemistry, my thesis title was ¨studies on the reactivity of Electrochemically-generated dehydrotetramer of 2,4-dimethylphenol¨with the one we showed the possibilities of using electrochemistry as an inexpensive and potent tool in the synthesis of a complex compound library.
After my experience in Germany, I followed the next logic step after a PhD in basic science, I moved to Japan to start my postdoctoral period. Opportunities came from one of the best research institutes of the world, the institute RIKEN, at the group of Prof. Dr. Mikiko Sodeoka. Supported by two grants of the Japanese government I stayed 2.5 years there, working in the field of epigenetics, the field that studies molecular mechanisms that control gene expression. You won´t realize what real work is, until you work in Asia, although they are also masters in having fun.
I could not be more thankful to Japan and all the people I met there. I will never forget all the experiences in and out of the lab that shaped the person I am now. But I had to deal with some responsibilities and a research-oriented carrier does not allow you to stay too long in one place. But the crisis was already in Spain and there were no funds for research. Many researchers were leaving Spain so, how was I supposed to come back in this situation? After thinking about it deeply with my family, I decided to make true one of my childhood dreams and become a medical doctor. Private and public universities in Spain had their doors closed for me, so a friend suggested me to try to enter Semmelweis University in Hungary. Ignac Semmelweis started a revolution in the Allgemein clinic in Wien by suggesting young doctors to wash their hands before attending the deliveries. So I started my new adventure there, and I had nice experiences and made good friends with the ones I am still in contact. However, my goal was to come back home, so I applied for a transfer and I moved to the CEU University in Castellon, where I actually study medicine now.
Some think I am crazy, some say I took the right choice. I think that when you grow up you just remember things you never tried. Let´s enjoy the trip.