Luisa De Cola

Group Leader

Since 1 November 2020 Professor at the University of Milano(chiamata per chiara fama)and Director of the Materials for Health Laboratory at the Istituto di ricerche farmacologiche Mario Negri, Milano (Italy). She is also adjunct Scientist since 2013 at the Karlsruher Institut fürTechnologie, Germany, and since 2019she is also Honorary Professor at Tianjin University, China.

Scientific Career 1978-1983

Laurea in Chemistry summa cum laude, University of Messina (Italy), supervisor Prof. Raffaello Romeo.


Postdoctoral fellow (National Institute of Health fellowship) at the Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, USA (supervisor: Prof. Lidia M. Vallarino).


Researcher at the National Research Council, CNR, Instituto F.R.A.E, Bologna (group leader Prof. Vincenzo Balzani).


Assistant ProfessorUniversity of Bologna (Italy).


Full Professor, University of Amsterdam (the Netherlands), Chair of Molecular Photonic Materials


Full Professor (C4) in Physics and Chemistry, University of Münster(Germany),Chair of Nanoelectronics and Nanophotonics.


Part-time Professor Department of Chemistry University of Twente, The Netherlands


Full Professor (Class Exceptionnelle), AXA chair of Supra-molecular and Biomaterial Chemistry, at ISIS, University of Strasbourg and CNRS, France

Awards 1986

Prize for Chemistry "Fondazione U. Bonino e M.S. Pulejo”


Prize for Chemistry of the "Accademia di Scienze Fisiche e Matematiche di Napoli".


Federchimica National Prize " per un futuro intelligente (for a smart future)".


International Prize of the European Photochemistry Association "Grammaticakis-Neumann".


Finalist of the Descartes Prize 2004


IUPAC prize for the most distinguished women in the field of chemistry and chemical engineering


Gutenberg Chair Award


Chevalier de la Légion d’Honneur appointed by the President of the Republic of France, François Hollande


nternational Prize for Chemistry from the Academia dei Lincei, Tartufari Prize, given by the President of the Republic of Italy, Giorgio Napolitano


Luigi Sacconi lecture award, Firenze, Italy


Sigma Aldrich Material Science lecture award, EPFL, Switzerland


nternational Prize Catalán -Sabatier given by the Real Sociedad Española de Química


Weber Prize from Rotary Club, Italy


The Izatt–Christensen Award in Macrocyclic and Supramolecular Chemistry


Medal from the University of Messina


She is one of the 39 selected women chemists, from all times, at the Science Museum of Valencia (Ciutat de les Arts y de les Ciencies), Spain
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Prize Anassilaos Arte Cultura Economia e Scienze


Gold Medal “Giulio Natta” from the Italian Chemical Society


Doctor Honoris Causa from Universidad Internacional Menéndez Pelayo Santander, Spain

Other Recognitions and Professional Appointments 2003-2007

Member of the Advisory Board for the Chemistry Department, Imperial College of London


European Research Council, ERC Advanced Grant Award


Member of the evaluation panel of the ERC starting grant.


Distinguished lecture, Atlanta, USA


Member of the International Advisory Panel of AMADEus, LabEx of the University of Bordeaux, France


Member of the Academia Europeae


President of the Bürgenstock Conference 2013


Member of the German Academy of Sciences, Leopoldina


Member of the Scientific Advisory Board of ICN2 (Institut Català de Nanociència i Nanotecnologia, Spain)


Elected as a ChemPubSoc Europe Fellow


Sir Jesse Boot lecture award, Nottingham, UK


Member of the Akademie der Wissenschaften un der Literatur of Mainz


Elected member of the “Institut Universitaire de France”, IUF


Member of the Committee for the Rey Jaime I Prize, Spain (together with 16 Nobel Laureates)


Member of the Scientific Advisory Board of the Nanoscience and Nanotechnology Department Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden

2018- 2022

Member of the International Advisory Board of Tianjin University, Health Science Platform (Tianjin, China)

2018- 2022

Member of the Scientific Advisory Board of the Adolphe Merkle Institute (Fribourg, CH)


Member of the Scientific Council of the Italian CNR, section Chemical Sciences and Materials Technology


Member of the Centre for Endoscopic Research Therapeutics and Training - CERTT


Melville distinguished lecturer, University of Cambridge, UK


Honorary Professor (Peyiang Professor) Tianjin University, China


Elected member of the Istituto Lombardo Accademia di Scienze e Lettere


Member of the advisory board of CIBER-BNN, Spain


President of the 8th EuChemS Chemistry Congress, Lisbon, Portugal


Elected to the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering, AIMBE, College of Fellows Class of 2021

Supervision of Graduate students and post-doctoral fellows 1996 – 1998

co-supervision of 2 PhD and 2 post-docs University of Bologna.

1998 – 2004

12 Postdocs/ 12 PhD/ about 10 Master Students University of Amsterdam.

2004 – 2012

27 Postdocs/ 15 PhD/ more than 20 Master Students Nanoelectronics and Nanophotonics Laboratory, University of Münster, Germany

2012 – 2020

21 Post-docs/19 PhD/26 Master Students at ISIS UMR 7006, Université de Strasbourg, France and and 5 post-docs and 2 PhDs in KIT, Karlsruhe, Germany


5 Post-Docs/ 4 PhD students at the University of Milano and Mario Negri

Supervision of Graduate students and post-doctoral fellows 2001-2004

Member of the editorial board of Inorganic Chemistry (ACS)


Member of the editorial board of Chemistry of Materials (ACS)

2011- 2019

Member of the editorial board of ChemPhysChem (Wiley) and ChemPlusChem (Wiley)2013-


Member of the editorial board of Material Horizons (RSC)


Member of the editorial board of Angewandte Chemie (Wiley)


Member of the editorial board of Materials Today Bio (Elsevier)


Member of the American Chemical Society, German Chemical Society, Italian Chemical Society and French Chemical Society

Scientific Output

Prof. Luisa De Cola is working in 2 main research areas: a) luminescent and electro-luminescent assemblies and supramolecular structures; b) responsive nanomaterials and soft matrices for imaging, diagnostics and therapy. She has published 389 papers (including Nature, Nature Chemistry, Nature Communications) and filed 38 international patents. She has a H-index = 83 and more than 23000 citations (from google scholars). She has been invited to more than 250 conferences as plenary or as invited speaker (Gordon Conferences, ESF, Solvay Conference 2011, Accademia dei Lincei, distinguished lecture 2010 Georgia Tech, Bürgenstock Conference 2012, E-MRS 2012, ACS 2015, MRS 2016, MRS 2017, ICCC 2018, Nanomedicine, ICOMM, EuCheMs...) and she has delivered more than 500 seminars/talks all over the world. She has organized several international conferences, schools and workshops. She is also in the panel of scientific organization and evaluation committee (Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF) for chemistry, ERC starting grant..) including the famous Premios Rei Jaume I (section new technologies) with 16 Nobel Laureates. She has been visiting professor in Japan, USA, France, Italy and Belgium. She has completed 50 PhD thesis, supervised more that 80 post-docs and several Master students. Prof. De Cola is a member of the German Chemical Society (GDCh), the Italian Chemical Society, the French Chemical Society and the American Chemical Society. She is fellow of the Royal Chemical Society. She has been a devoted teacher and she has received several recognitions for her excellent student supervision and for the encouragement she gives to her coworkers. Her group has been awarded with several prizes: e.g. E- MRS award for the best PhD presentation (F. Fiorini 2015), Wissenshaft Prise (Nanoscience Award 2011 for C. Strassert and in 2008 for Z. Popovic), DSM Science and Technology award (finalist Z. Popovic 2008) Elsevier award 2011 (M. Tsotsalas), best PhD thesis awards: 2015 (A. Aliprandi), 2017 (S. Sinn), and electrochemical society 2017 S. Carrara, just to cite some of them. Most of her former coworkers are now university professors or cover important roles in the private sector. Finally she enjoys to give talk to general public, EXPO Milano, Berzelius lecture Sweden, TV shows, several interviews, Settimo Torinese festival della scienza and she is a AXA funding ambassador. In 2008 with the University of Muenster she has organized, and participated with a stand, to a 2 weeks exhibition “High-Tech Underground" ( to present to the general public the most important fields of research at the University of Muenster. She loves chocolate and give scientific talks on this subject (