Pablo Ballester Balaguer

Pablo Ballester Balaguer

Institut Català d'Investigació Química

Experimental Sciences & Mathematics

Pablo Ballester studied Chemistry at the University of the Balearic Islands (UIB) where he also completed the PhD degree in 1986. In 1987 he was post-doctoral Associate with Prof. J. Rebek Jr. at the University of Pittsburgh. In 1988 after a post-doctoral stay at UIB with Porf. J. M. Saá he returned to Pittsburgh and moved to MIT in 1989. From 1991 to 2002 he held the positions of Assistant and Associate Professor and served as Secretary of the Chemistry Department, Vice-dean of of Sciences and Head of Chemistry Studies at UIB. In 2003 he was in sabbatical leave at the Scripps Research Institute (USA) with the rank of Associate Professor of Research and got an ICREA Research Professorship. He joined ICIQ as Group Leader in 2004. From 2016 to 2018, he served as ICIQ Vice-Director for BIST affairs. He is the recipient of the 2012 Janssen Cilag Organic Chemistry Prize and the Chemistry Fellow Distinction 2020-2021 Class. He was elected EurASc fellow in 2021.

Research interests

My scientific background lies in the areas of organic chemistry (making molecules) and supramolecular chemistry (study how molecules fit together). My current research focuses on the design, synthesis, study and characterization of functional molecular aggregates. I consider myself a mixture between a molecular architect and a molecular engineer. We study matter but we also produce matter and new materials. We apply molecular self-assembly processes as a methodology to construct large and functional supramolecular aggregates, i.e. molecular machines, molecular sensing assemblies and devices. A second area of my current interests resides in the design and application of molecular containers. These are molecular or supramolecular structures with an internal cavity sufficiently large to include or encapsulate other molecules. Unfortunately, although we construct monumental and even artistic structures they are not visible to the naked eye due to their reduced nanometer size.

Selected publications

- Mirabella CFM, Aragay G & Ballester P 2023, 'Influence of the solvent in the self-assembly and binding properties of [1 + 1] tetra-imine bis-calix[4]pyrrole cages'Chem. Sci., 14(1):186-195. 
- Rivoli A, Gomila RM, Frontera A & Ballester P 2023, 'Interchangeability and Disorder in the Solid-State Structures of "Two Wall" Calix[4]pyrroles Equipped with Iodine and Ethynyl para-Substituents', Chem. Asian J., 18(3):e202201192.
- Sierra AF, Aragay G, Gomila RM & Ballester P 2023, 'Quantification of the P=O-HN hydrogen bond in the binding of creatinine with phosphonate calix [4]pyrroles', Org. Chem. Front., 10, 996-1002.
- Hisano N, Valderrey V, Aragay G & Ballester P 2023, 'A robust heterodimeric bis-Rh(iii)-porphyrin macrocycle for the self-assembly of a kinetically stable [2]-rotaxane', Dalton Trans., 52, 8344-8352.
- Escobar L, Sun Q & Ballester P 2023, 'Aryl-Extended and Super Aryl-Extended Calix[4]pyrroles: Design, Synthesis, and Applications', Acc. Chem. Res., 56, 4, 500 - 513.
- Aragay G & Ballester P 2023, 'Water-Soluble Aryl- and Super Aryl-Extended Calix[4]pyrroles', Isr. J. Chem., e202300041
- Kanagaraj K, Wang R, Zhao M-K, Ballester P, Rebek Jr J & Yu Y 2023, 'Selective Binding and Isomerization of Oximes in a Self-Assembled Capsule', J. Am. Chem. Soc., 145, 10, 5816-5823.
- Sarkar S, Ballester P, Spektor M & Kataev EA 2023, 'Micromolar Affinity and Higher: Synthetic Host-Guest Complexes with High Stabilities', Angew. Chem. Int. Ed, 62, e202214705.

Selected research activities

  • Defended theses supervisor URV: A. Rivoli PhD and D. Hüsstege MSc.
  • Member of the Scientific Advisory Board, IQAC, Spain
  • Scientific Collaborator of Agencia Estatal de Investigación (AEI), Area 14. CTQ/Ciencias y Tecnologías Químicas