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 studied Chemistry at the University of Bologna (Italy) where he graduated in 1999. 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. 

Paolo is on a period of leave since 30/09/2018.

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 & Melchiorre P 2018, 'Expanding the potential of enantioselective organocatalysis with light', Nature, 554, 7690, 40 - 48.

- Cao Z-Y, Ghosh T & Melchiorre P 2018, 'Enantioselective radical conjugate additions driven by a photoactive intramolecular iminium-ion-based EDA complex', Nature Communications, 9, 3274.

- Mazzarella D, Crisenza GEM & Melchiorre P 2018, ‘Asymmetric photocatalytic C–H functionalization of toluene and derivatives’, J. Am. Chem. Soc., 140, 8439–8443.

- Wozniak L, Magagnano G & Melchiorre P 2018, 'Enantioselective photochemical organocascade catalysis', Angewandte Chemie-International Edition, 57, 4, 1068-1072.

- Bonilla P, Rey YP, Holden CM & Melchiorre P 2018, 'Photo-organocatalytic enantioselective radical cascade reactions of unactivated olefins', Angewandte Chemie-International Edition, 57, 39, 12819-12823.

- Verrier C, Alandini N, Pezzetta C, Moliterno M, Buzzetti L, Hepburn HB, Vega-Penaloza A, Silvi M & Melchiorre P 2018, 'Direct stereoselective installation of alkyl fragments at the beta-carbon of enals via excited iminium ion catalysis', Acs Catalysis, 8, 2, 1062-1066.

Selected research activities

* One of his students has been awarded the PhD degree.

* Supervisor of three Marie Curie Individual Fellows  

* PM has delivered lectures at 8 International congresses and symposia (e.g. 17th BMOS Brazilian Meeting in Organic Chemistry – Salvador, Brazil; Conference on Photochemistry – Munich, Germany; 8th International Forum on Homogeneous Catalysis – Shanghai, China) and 10 at international Universities or companies (e.g. University of Princeton; University of Nagoya; Merck Rahway).  

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