Paolo Melchiorre

Institut Català d'Investigació Química

Experimental Sciences & Mathematics

Paolo Melchiorre is an ICREA Research Professor at the Institute of Chemical Research of Catalonia (ICIQ) in Tarragona. Paolo, born in 1973, studied Chemistry at the University of Bologna (Italy) where he graduated in 1999. Then he began his doctoral studies in Chemistry working in the area of enantioselective catalysis. Before obtaining his PhD in 2003, he spent a research period in Denmark working with Prof. Karl Anker Jørgensen, Århus University, where his studies centered on asymmetric organocatalysis. Afterwards, he worked as a postdoctoral associate at the Industrial Chemistry Faculty of the Bologna University. There, he began his independent studies on the development of novel organocatalytic asymmetric transformations. In October 2007, he took a permanent position as an Assistant Professor at Bologna University.

In September 2009, Paolo moved to Catalonia as ICREA Research Professor and ICIQ Senior Group Leader.

Research interests

My main interest is on the discovery and mechanistic elucidation of new enantioselective organocatalytic and photochemical processes that address unsolved problems in synthetic methodology. My research on light-driven stereocontrolled processes aims at increasing process efficiency using a mechanistically-guided approach, controlling reaction selectivity, and reducing the environmental impact of chemical synthesis. My approach is based on the combination of two powerful fields of molecule activation, visible light photocatalysis and metal-free organocatalysis, to develop fundamentally new and ground-breaking strategies to asymmetric catalysis via the intermediacy of light-mediated open-shell redox processes and excited-state reactivity patterns. The motivation is that the use of light excitation to bring a molecule from its ground state to an electronically excited state can unlock previously inaccessible reaction pathways, thereby creating new synthetic opportunities.

Selected publications

- Silvi M, Verrier C, Rey Y P, Buzzetti L & Melchiorre P 2017, 'Visible-light excitation of iminium ions enables the enantioselective catalytic β-alkylation of enals', Nature Chemistry, 9, 868 - 873.

- Bahamonde A, Murphy JJ, Savarese M, Bremond E, Cavalli A & Melchiorre P 2017, 'Studies on the Enantioselective Iminium Ion Trapping of Radicals Triggered by an Electron-Relay Mechanism', Journal Of The American Chemical Society, 139, 4559 - 4567.

- Dell'Amico L, Fernandez-Alvarez VM, Maseras F & Melchiorre P 2017, 'Light-Driven Enantioselective Organocatalytic β-Benzylation of Enals', Angewandte Chemie-International Edition, 56, 3304 - 3308.

- Filippini G, Silvi M & Melchiorre P 2017, 'Enantioselective formal α-methylation and α-benzylation of aldehydes by means of photo-organocatalysis'Angewandte Chemie-International Edition56, 4447-4451.

- Cuadros S, Dell'Amico L & Melchiorre P 2017, 'Forging Fluorine-Containing Quaternary Stereocenters by a Light-Driven Organocatalytic Aldol Desymmetrization Process', Angewandte Chemie-International Edition, 56, 39, 11875 - 11879.

- Buzzetti L, Prieto A,  Roy S R, & Melchiorre P 2017, '​Radical-based C-C bond-forming processes enabled by the photoexcitation of 4-alkyl-1,4-dihydropyridines', Angewandte Chemie-International Edition, 56, 15039–15043.

Selected research activities

* Start of the 4-year European project “PHOTO-TRAIN" (722591) within the frame of H2020-MSCA-ITN-2016.

* Three of his students have been awarded the PhD degree.

* PM has delivered lectures at 12 International congresses and symposia (e.g. 18th Netherlands' Catalysis and Chemistry Conference – Noordwijkerhout, Netherlands; Beilstein Organic Chemistry Symposium 2017; Japanese National Symposium in Organocatalysis – Sendai, Japan) and 10 at international Universities or companies (e.g. University of Cambridge; University of Tokyo; Syngenta, Stein).  

* Member of the International Advisory Boards of ChemCatChem (Wiley), Advanced Synthesis and Catalysis (Wiley) and ChemPhotoChem (Wiley).