Two BIST researchers honoured by the Royal Society of Chemistry

By June 14, 2021June 21st, 2021BIST, ICIQ, ICN2

• The Organic Division of the Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) has granted its 2021 open award, the Pedler Award, to Prof. Paolo Melchiorre from the BIST centre ICIQ for “the development of asymmetric photocatalytic methodologies based on excited state intermediates.”

• Prof. Laura Lechuga from the BIST centre ICN2 has been named a new RSC Fellow.

The Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) was founded in 1980. The organisation carries out research, publishes journals, books and databases, and hosts conferences, seminars, and workshops. They designate new Royal Society Fellows every year, in addition to honouring highly accomplished researchers with awards. This year, two BIST researchers were honoured by the RSC: ICIQ’s Prof. Paolo Melchiorre who received the 2021 Pedler Award, and ICN2’s Prof. Laura Lechuga who was appointed new RSC Fellow.

The Pedler Award is chosen annually by the Organic Division Awards Committee for a researcher’s outstanding contributions to the chemical sciences in the area of organic chemistry. The winner receives £3000, a medal, a certificate, and completes a UK lecture tour.

It is a real honour, given the calibre of previous recipients of the Pedler prize. I thank my family (my wife Lorna, and my kids Niccolò and Anita) and all the past and present members of the Melchiorre group. This prize is a recognition of their support, enthusiasm, and great efforts. I will continue to enthusiastically support the RSC family,” says Melchiorre.

Since arriving at ICIQ as a Group Leader and ICREA Professor in 2009, Melchiorre has been working on the discovery and mechanistic elucidation of new asymmetric organocatalytic and photochemical processes that address unsolved problems in synthetic methodology. His group uses the energy of visible light to trigger chemical processes that cannot be realised otherwise. The final goal of his research is to develop environmentally respectful and innovative catalytic methods that will find widespread use in modern organic synthesis.

Melchiorre has received two European Research Council grants for his research: an ERC Starting Grant to carry out the project “ORGA-NAUT: Exploring Chemical Reactivity with Organocatalysis” (2011) and an ERC Consolidator Grant to carry out the project “CATA-LUX: Light-Driven Asymmetric Organocatalysis” (2016).

Melchiorre’s advice for a young person considering a career in chemistry is “do it with passion, knowing that your efforts can help make the world a more sustainable and better place.” Read the full interview to celebrate his Pedler award here.

Prof. Laura Lechuga, Leader of the ICN2 Nanobiosensors and Bioanalytical Applications Group, was admitted as a Fellow in the Royal Society of Chemistry this year.

Prof. Lechuga also recently received the ‘Juan de la Cierva’ National Research Award, and her appointment to RSC Fellow is yet another recognition of her invaluable work. Currently, she is leading the European project CoNVaT, a project that aims to develop a fast, cheap and handy test device for the diagnosis of the COVID-19.

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