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 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 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

- Sun, Q.; Aragay, G.; Pinto, A.; Aguiló, E.; Rodríguez, L.; Ballester, P. Influence of the Attachment of a Gold(I) Phosphine Moiety at the Upper Rim of a Calix[4]pyrrole on the Binding of Tetraalkylammonium Chloride Salts. Chem.--Eur. J. 2020, 26, 3348-3357.

- Dăbuleanu, D.; Bauzá, A.; Ortega-Castro, J.; Escudero-Adán, E. C.; Ballester, P.; Frontera, A. Synthesis, X-ray Characterization and Density Functional Theory (DFT) Studies of Two Polymorphs of the α,α,α,α, Isomer of Tetra-p-Iodophenyl Tetramethyl Calix[4]pyrrole: On the Importance of Halogen Bonds. Molecules 2020, 25, 285.

- Escobar, L.; Li, Y.-S.; Cohen, Y.; Yu, Y.; Rebek Jr., J.; Ballester, P. Kinetic Stabilities and Exchange Dynamics of Water-Soluble Bis-Formamide Caviplexes Studied Using Diffusion-Ordered NMR Spectroscopy (DOSY). Chem.--Eur. J. 2020, 26, 8220-8225.

- Tzeli, D.; Petsalakis, I. D.; Theodorakopoulos, G.; Rahman, F. U.; Ballester, P.; Rebek, J.; Yu, Y. Aromaticity and Chemical Bonding of Chalcogen-Bonded Capsules Featuring Enhanced Magnetic Anisotropy. ChemPhysChem 2020, 21, 2187-2195.

- Martinez-Crespo, Luis; Liang Sun-Wang, Jia; Felipe Sierra, Andres; Aragay, Gemma; Errasti-Murugarren, Ekaitz; Bartoccioni, Paola; Palacin, Manuel; Ballester, P. 2020, 'Facilitated Diffusion of Proline across Membranes of Liposomes and Living Cells by a Calix[4]pyrrole Cavitand', Chem, 6, 11, 3054 - 3070.

- Rahman, F.-U.; Tzeli, D.; Petsalakis, I. D.; Theodorakopoulos, G.; Ballester, P.; Rebek, J.; Yu, Y. Chalcogen Bonding and Hydrophobic Effects Force Molecules into Small Spaces. J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2020, 142, 5876-5883.

- Sierra, A. F.; Hernández-Alonso, D.; Romero, M. A.; González-Delgado, J. A.; Pischel, U.; Ballester, P. Optical Supramolecular Sensing of Creatinine. J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2020, 142, 4276-4284.

Selected research activities

  • Theses: Guillem Peñuelas (PhD-URV)
  • Scientific Advisory Board, Institute of Advanced Chemistry of Catalonia (IQAC), Spain
  • Scientific Collaborator of the State Agency for Research, Spain