Welcome to ICIQ!
Dr. José A. Berrocal will join ICIQ next summer through ICIQ’s Starting Career Programme (ICIQ-SCP) funded by the Severo Ochoa Excellence grant CEX2019-000925-S (MCIN/AEI/ 10.13039/ 501100011033). The programme is aimed at attracting highly talented young researchers, with an outstanding postdoctoral record and willing to start their independent scientific career.
His research focuses in combining organic chemistry with polymers science, aiming at developing materials potentially applicable towards sustainable development. His main research interest is in the field of polymer mechanochemistry, with a particular focus on chemo- and light-responsive supramolecular materials.
Dr. José A. Berrocal career
José got his B. Sc. and M. Sc. degree in Chemistry at the Sapienza University of Rome. He also received his Ph.D. in Chemistry (2014, cum laude) from the same university. Trained as a physical organic chemist, José dedicated most of his PhD research on the quantification of the efficiency of intramolecular reactions. He then joined the Eindhoven University of Technology (the Netherlands) as a postdoctoral researcher, working on supramolecular chemistry and supramolecular materials deriving from discrete nanophase-separating oligomers (2014-2017).
A second postdoc experience (2017-2019) took him to the University of Groningen (the Netherlands), where he worked in the field of light-driven molecular motors and machines in the group of 2016 Chemistry Nobel Laureate Prof. Ben L. Feringa.
Since September 2019, José is a research group leader in the Polymer Chemistry & Materials group at the Adolphe Merkle Institute (University of Fribourg).
Recently, Dr. José A. Berrocal has been recognized with the Thieme Chemistry Journals Prize, which is awarded annually by the editors of the German journals Synthesis, Synlett and Synfacts to the best 80 chemists from around the world who are in the early stages of their academic career as assistant professors or young researchers in the field of organic chemistry.
His new stage at ICIQ will begin in July 2023 with an ERC Starting Grant: “Reversible Heterolytic Mechanophores for Dynamic Bulk Materials (ReHuse)”. This grant aims to bridge a crucial gap in polymer mechanochemistry and utilize this research field to contribute towards sustainable development.
Know more about Dr. Berrocal
When did you decide to become a scientist and why?
I have always had a very rational and scientific mentality, partly due to the influence of my family: my parents are also scientists (they are pharmacist and statistician) as well as one of my sisters (she is a mathematician).
Since I was a child I was already very curious about how all things work.
What do you like the most about your job?
The interaction with students and postdocs, helping them grow in their professional career and guiding them to find their path.
Advice to young researchers:
Do what you like, follow your passion, with your feet on the ground but without stopping to look up and pursue your dreams.
Have you had a mentor? What did you learn from him/her?
I have learned a lot from the people I have worked with.
My PhD supervisor, Prof. Stefano Di Stefano (from the University of Rome), gave me a lot of confidence and encouragement. Prof. Bert Meijer (from Eindhoven University of Technology), has helped me to structure my career. Prof. Christoph Weder, gave me the ability to find the silver lining in everything.
Moreover, it was also a pleasure to work with the Nobel laureate, Prof. Ben Feringa.
Why do you choose ICIQ for your next step?
First of all, because of its good reputation. ICIQ works a lot on sustainability, which is what I try to do with my science. Also, for the possibility of collaborating with many researchers from the institute, without competition, in a transversal way.