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Paolo Melchiorre

Senior Researcher - Principal Investigator
Principal Investigator


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Paolo Melchiorre is a Tenured Senior Researcher at IIT since October, 2018.

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. Presently, he is a Group Leader at the Institute of Chemical Research of Catalonia (ICIQ, Tarragona – Spain), and an IIT Senior Researcher.


Research Record

Researcher ID: K-9301-2014

ORCID: 0000-0001-8722-4602

Paolo Melchiorre has authored more than 110 publications in international journals (e.g. 2 × Nature, 3 × Nature Chemistry, 35 × Angewandte Chemie, 7 × the Journal of American Chemical Society, 1 × PNAS, 1 × Nature Protocols, 2 × Chemical Science, 8 × Organic Letters, 4 × Chemistry European Journal and 5 × Chemical Communication), 2 patent applications, and five book chapters.

His papers have attracted more than 8500 citations (source: ISI-Web of Science as of October 1, 2018)

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PM has delivered more than 150 invited lectures and seminars at the international level.

Paolo has served as referee for the following international journals: Nature, Nature Chemistry, Nature Comm., Nature Protocols, Nature Chem. Biol., Angew. Chem. Int. Ed., J. Am. Chem. Soc.; Chem. Sci. etc.


Asymmetric Synthesis and Catalysis; Radical chemistry; Photochemistry


ERC Consolidator Grant, grant agreement no. 681840 CATA-LUX - Light-Driven Asymmetric Organocatalysis

Funding agency: ERC (European Research Council); Period: from 1-Nov-2016 till 30-Oct-2021

Selected Publications

  • Mattia Silvi, and Paolo Melchiorre, “Enhancing the potential of enantioselective organocatalysis with light” Nature 2018, 554, 41-49 ([Link])  
  • Daniele Mazzarella, Giacomo E.M. Crisenza, and Paolo Melchiorre, “Asymmetric photocatalytic C–H functionalization of toluene and derivatives” J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2018, 140, 8439–8443 ([Link])  
  • Mattia Silvi, Charlie Verrier, Yannick Rey, Luca Buzzetti, and Paolo Melchiorre, “Visible-light excitation ofiIminium ions enables the enantioselective β-alkylation of enals” Nature Chem.  2017, 9, 868-873 ([Link])    
  • John J. Murphy, David Bastida, Suva Paria, Maurizio Fagnoni, and Paolo Melchiorre, “Asymmetric catalytic formation of quaternary carbons by iminium ion trapping of radicals” Nature 2016, 532, 218–222 ([Link])
  • Elena Arceo, Igor D. Jurberg, Ana Álvarez-Fernández, and Paolo Melchiorre, “Photochemical activity of a key donor–acceptor complex can drive stereoselective catalytic α-alkylation of aldehydes” Nature Chem. 2013, 5, 750-756. ([Link])  


Awards and Distinctions

  • 2007 - Recipient of the “G. Ciamician” Gold Medal of the Italian Chemical Society.
  • 2008 - Recipient of the Liebig Lectureship awarded by the German Chemical Society
  • 2009 - Thieme Journal Prize
  • 2009 - ICREA (Institució Catalana de Recerca i Estudis Avançats) Research Professor
  • 2009 - ICIQ Senior Group Leader
  • 2011 - “Young Talented Lecture” in the 17th European Symposium on Organic Chemistry (ESOC 2011), Crete, Greece
  • 2011 - ERC Starting Grant to carry out the 5-year project “ORGA-NAUT: Exploring Chemical Reactivity with Organocatalysis"
  • 2013 - Member of the Advanced Synthesis and Catalysis (Wiley) Academic Advisory Board
  • 2013 - Member of the International Advisory Board of ChemCatChem (Wiley)
  • 2013 - JSPS Fellowship under the FY2013 Program for Research in Japan
  • 2014 - Erdtman Lecture 2014 – Stockholm (Sweden)
  • 2015 - Thieme Lecture – DOMINOCAT SYMPOSIUM – Aachen (Germany)
  • 2015 - ERC Consolidator Grant to carry out the 5-year project “CATA-LUX" (2016-2021)
  • 2016 - Member of the International Advisory Board of ChemPhotoChem (Wiley)
  • 2016 - Prize for Scientific Excellence from the Royal Spanish Chemical Society (RSEQ)

Colleagues in Asymmetric Catalysis and Photochemistry See all


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I numeri di IIT

L’Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia (IIT) è una fondazione di diritto privato - cfr. determinazione Corte dei Conti 23/2015 “IIT è una fondazione da inquadrare fra gli organismi di diritto pubblico con la scelta di un modello di organizzazione di diritto privato per rispondere all’esigenza di assicurare procedure più snelle nella selezione non solo nell’ambito nazionale dei collaboratori, scienziati e ricercatori ”.

IIT è sotto la vigilanza del Ministero dell'Istruzione, dell'Università e della Ricerca e del Ministero dell'Economia e delle Finanze ed è stato istituito con la Legge 326/2003. La Fondazione ha l'obiettivo di promuovere l'eccellenza nella ricerca di base e in quella applicata e di favorire lo sviluppo del sistema economico nazionale. La costruzione dei laboratori iniziata nel 2006 si è conclusa nel 2009.

Lo staff complessivo di IIT conta circa 1440 persone. L’area scientifica è rappresentata da circa l’85% del personale. Il 45% dei ricercatori proviene dall’estero: di questi, il 29% è costituito da stranieri provenienti da oltre 50 Paesi e il 16% da italiani rientrati. Oggi il personale scientifico è composto da circa 60 principal investigators, circa 110 ricercatori e tecnologi di staff, circa 350 post doc, circa 500 studenti di dottorato e borsisti, circa 130 tecnici. Oltre 330 posti su 1400 creati su fondi esterni. Età media 34 anni. 41% donne / 59 % uomini.

Nel 2015 IIT ha ricevuto finanziamenti pubblici per circa 96 milioni di euro (80% del budget), conseguendo fondi esterni per 22 milioni di euro (20% budget) provenienti da 18 progetti europei17 finanziamenti da istituzioni nazionali e internazionali, circa 60 progetti industriali

La produzione di IIT ad oggi vanta circa 6990 pubblicazioni, oltre 130 finanziamenti Europei e 11 ERC, più di 350 domande di brevetto attive, oltre 12 start up costituite e altrettante in fase di lancio. Dal 2009 l’attività scientifica è stata ulteriormente rafforzata con la creazione di dieci centri di ricerca nel territorio nazionale (a Torino, Milano, Trento, Parma, Roma, Pisa, Napoli, Lecce, Ferrara) e internazionale (MIT ed Harvard negli USA) che, unitamente al Laboratorio Centrale di Genova, sviluppano i programmi di ricerca del piano scientifico 2015-2017.

IIT: the numbers

Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia (IIT) is a public research institute that adopts the organizational model of a private law foundation. IIT is overseen by Ministero dell'Istruzione, dell'Università e della Ricerca and Ministero dell'Economia e delle Finanze (the Italian Ministries of Education, Economy and Finance).  The Institute was set up according to Italian law 326/2003 with the objective of promoting excellence in basic and applied research andfostering Italy’s economic development. Construction of the Laboratories started in 2006 and finished in 2009.

IIT has an overall staff of about 1,440 people. The scientific staff covers about 85% of the total. Out of 45% of researchers coming from abroad 29% are foreigners coming from more than 50 countries and 16% are returned Italians. The scientific staff currently consists of approximately 60 Principal Investigators110 researchers and technologists350 post-docs and 500 PhD students and grant holders and 130 technicians. External funding has allowed the creation of more than 330 positions . The average age is 34 and the gender balance proportion  is 41% female against 59% male.

In 2015 IIT received 96 million euros in public funding (accounting for 80% of its budget) and obtained 22 million euros in external funding (accounting for 20% of its budget). External funding comes from 18 European Projects, other 17 national and international competitive projects and approximately 60 industrial projects.

So far IIT accounts for: about 6990 publications, more than 130 European grants and 11 ERC grants, more than 350 patents or patent applications12 up start-ups and as many  which are about to be launched. The Institute’s scientific activity has been further strengthened since 2009 with the establishment of 11 research nodes throughout Italy (Torino, Milano, Trento, Parma, Roma, Pisa, Napoli, Lecce, Ferrara) and abroad (MIT and Harvard University, USA), which, along with the Genoa-based Central Lab, implement the research programs included in the 2015-2017 Strategic Plan.