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 he decided to return to Pittsburgh and moved to MIT in 1989. From 1991 to 2002 he held the positions of Assistant and Associate Professor at UIB and served as Secretary of the Chemistry Department, Vice-dean of the Faculty of Sciences and Head of Studies of Chemistry at UIB. In 2003 and while enjoying a sabbatical leave at the Scripps Research Institute (USA) with the rank of Associate Professor of Research he got an ICREA Research Professorship and joined ICIQ as Group Leader in 2004. He is the recipient of the 2012 Janssen Cilag Organic Chemistry Prize awarded by the Spanish Royal Society of Chemistry. From 2016 to 2018, he served as ICIQ Vice-Director for BIST affairs.

Research interests

My scientific background lies in the areas of organic chemistry (making molecules) and supramolecular chemistry (study how molecules fit together). My research is mainly focused in 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 work in trying to understand molecular self-assembly processes (non-covalnet synthesis) as a methodology to construct large and functional supramolecular assemblies, i.e., molecular machines. A second area of interest 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

– Escobar L, Escudero-Adán EC, Ballester P 2019, ‘Guest Exchange Mechanisms in Mono-Metallic PdII/PtII-Cages Based on a Tetra-Pyridyl Calix[4]pyrrole Ligand’, Angew. Chem., Int. Ed., 58, 16105-16109.

– Escobar L, Villaron D, Escudero-Adan EC & Ballester P 2019, ‘A mono-metallic Pd(ii)-cage featuring two different polar binding sites’, Chem. Commun., 55, 5, 604 – 607.

– Penuelas-Haro G & Ballester P 2019, ‘Efficient hydrogen bonding recognition in water using aryl-extended calix[4]pyrrole receptors’, Chem. Sci., 10, 2413 – 2423.

– Martinez-Crespo L, Sun-Wang JL, Ferreira P, Mirabella CFM, Aragay G & Ballester P 2019, ‘Influence of the Insertion Method of Aryl-Extended Calix[4]pyrroles into Liposomal Membranes on Their Properties as Anion Carriers’, Chem.–Eur. J., 25, 4775 – 4781.

– Helttunen K, Annala R, Suhonen A, Iloniemi J, Kalenius E, Aragay G, Ballester P, Tuononen HM & Nissinen M 2019, ‘Oligoamide Foldamers as Helical Chloride Receptorsthe Influence of Electron-Withdrawing Substituents on Anion-Binding Interactions’, Chem. Asian J., 14, 647 – 654.

– Escobar L & Ballester P 2019, ‘Quantification of the hydrophobic effect using water-soluble super aryl-extended calix[4]pyrroles’, Org. Chem. Front., 6, 1738 – 1748.

– Moncelsi G & Ballester P 2019, ‘Photoswitchable Host-Guest Systems Incorporating Hemithioindigo and Spiropyran Units’, Chemphotochem, 3, 304 – 317.

– Li Y, Escobar L, Zhu Y, Cohen Y, Ballester P, Rebek JuliusJr. & Yu Y 2019, ‘Relative hydrophilicities of cis and trans formamides’, Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U. S. A., 116, 19815 – 19820.

Selected research activities

  • Theses: Giulia Moncesli (PhD-URV), Luis Escobar (PhD-URV).
  • Scientific Advisory Board, Institute of Advanced Chemistry of Catalonia (IQAC), Spain
  • Scientific Collaborator of the State Agency for Research, Spain