BRAGA Dario (DB) is a leading scientist in the field of solid state supramolecular chemistry, crystal engineering and crystallography. His current H-index (WOS) is 54.
CAREER DB graduated in Chemistry at the University of Bologna in 1977 and accepted a permanent position at the Chemistry Department G. Ciamician in 1982 after postdoctoral work at the North London Polytechnic, the University of Cambridge and the University of Bologna. DB became full professor of general and inorganic chemistry in 2001.
ACADEMIC DUTIES. DB has served as Director of the Collegio Superiore (2000-2006), as Director of the Institute of Advanced Studies (2006-2009) and as Prorector for Research of the Alma Mater Studiorum University of Bologna (2009-2015). Dario Braga is President of the Institute of Higher Studies and Director of the Institute of Advanced Studies of the University of Bologna.
TEACHING DB has been holding the courses on General Chemistry, Chemistry of Materials, and Crystal Engineering (Supramolecular solid state chemistry) at the Chemistry Department of the School of Sciences (formerly Faculty of Sciences). He has been supervising PhD students since 1990.
SCIENTIFIC HYSTORY At the beginning of his scientific career DB (1977-1982) was involved in the field of transition metal cluster chemistry (in collaboration with the universities of Milan and Cambridge). The investigation of ligand mobility over the cluster cores led him and his group to study the factors controlling dynamical behaviour in the solid state (fluxionaliy, reorientation ecc.) also in collaboration with solid state NMR spectroscopists at Torino University (prof. Gobetto) and several other groups abroad. These studies rapidly demonstrated the need for a deeper understanding of the interplay between molecular shape, size, presence of charges and intermolecular interactions (especially weak and strong hydrogen bonds) and the mechanisms of recognition and self-assembly with an initial focus on organometallic compounds. The 1998 Chem. Rev. article on this subject entitle “crystal engineering and organometallic architecture” published together with Prof Desiraju and prof Grepioni has received more than 1000 citations to date. The knowledge of the most relevant interactions acting in molecular crystals combined with the background in organometallic chemistry and the experience progressively acquired with organic crystals drove the group to develop research projects directed to the synthesis and characterization of new molecule-based materials especially by means of solvent free methods.
CRYSTENGCOM Meanwhile the interest in crystal engineering as a new field of research was spreading rapidly. The RSC launched CrystEngComm, the first journal entirely devoted to crystal engineering, and DB was appointed its Scientific Editor. The Dalton discussion on “Inorganic crystal Engineering” was held in Bologna in 2000. The group of “molecular crystal engineering” was constituted.
POLYMORPHISM and SPINOFF The problem related to crystal polymorphism, i.e. the possibility of more than one crystal structure for a same molecule, also became relevant, and the expertise developed in the group on the tools for the investigation of molecular materials (crystallography, thermogravimetry, calorimetry, hot stage microscopy, etc.) and on the methods to crystallize and screen for crystal forms were instrumental to the launch of the spinoff initiative PolyCrystalLine. The company was constituted in 2005 with DB as initiator and the societal participation of PhD students and collaborators. PCL is now a fully independent company with 15 employs and a wide range of industrial collaborations.
On the preparative and synthetic side, solvent-free methods were preferred, opening the way to an important mixing of crystal engineering and molecular materials with “green” solvent-less chemistry. The Chem. Rev. article “Mechanochemistry: opportunities for new and cleaner synthesis” co-authored by DB in 2012 has already received about 400 citations.
Since then, mechanochemical and solid-gas methods have been used systematically for the preparation on new materials, co-crystals both of pharmaceutical interest and of applicative interest (mainly as luminescent materials). Since the products of these types of reactions are usually powders methods for structural solution from powder data have been studied and used routinely in his group.
PROJECTS. DB has been scientific coordinator of PRIN research projects: 2000 – construction of solid supermolecules as novel functional materials; 2004 – crystal engineering of molecule based materials and their utilization in gas absorption and “solvent free” reactions; 2006 – crystal polymorphism.
AWARDS. DB contribution has been recognized also with the award of the Raffaello Nasini Prize from the Inorganic Chemistry Division of the Italian Society of Chemistry in 1988, the “per un future intelligente” Prize for 1995 FEDERCHIMICA (Federation of italian chemical industries), and the 2011 Mario Mammi Gold Medal awarded by the Italian Crystallographic Association. DB is also member of the Istituto di Bologna della Accademia delle Scienze.
PUBLICATION RECORD. DB Research activity is witnessed by more than 450 papers in international peer-reviewed journals by several review articles (including 3 Acc. Chem. Res., 3 Chem. Rev., 3 Dalton Perspectives, 2 Chem. Comm. Feature Article, 1 Chem. Comm Focus Article, 4 Coord. Chem. Rev., 3 CrystEngComm Highlight) and contributions to scientific books. DB is co-author of several patents on the polymorphism of drugs.
The total number of citations without self-citation (WOS) is ca. 12.000 in 7860 articles. 24 papers have more than 100 citations.
LECTURES and SEMINARS DB has delivered about 200 lectures and seminars at international and national Schools, Industries, Meetings, Workshops, and University Departments.
MEETINGS (inter alia) Braga has chaired:
The international school “Crystal Engineering: from Molecules and Crystals to Materials” 1999, Erice (IT)
The international meeting “Inorganic Crystal Engineering” – the Royal Society of Chemistry – Dalton Discussion - Bologna 2000.
The international meeting “Innovation in Crystal Engineering” Bristol (UK) 2002
The Euroconference “Molecular Crystal Engineering” Maratea (IT) 2003
The international meeting “New Frontiers in Crystal Engineering” Nottingham (UK) 2004
The Euroconference “Molecular Crystal Engineering- II ” Helsinki (Finland, june 2005)
Together with Lia Addadi and Juan Novoa the international school on “Crystal Design” – Erice 2007
DB has been chairman of co-chairman of the "Bologna's Convention on Crystal Forms" - a series of international meetings organized in Bologna in the years 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2012, 2013, 2015, 2017 with the aim to bring together scientists from academia and industry to discuss and compare experience on polymorphism, salts, co-crystals etc.
Member of the Review Committee “Chemistry” at the ESRF (Grenoble 1996-1997) Advisory Board of Dalton Trans. (1993-1997).
Editorial Board of Polyhedron, J. Chem. Cryst. and Cryst. Eng.
Member of the Dalton Council of the RSC (1998-2001)
Member of the National Order of Scientific Merit of the Republic of Brasil (1999-)
Evaluator of scientific projects for UK, USA, Italy, Israel, Korea, Finland
Scientific Editor of CrystEngComm - the RSC journal devoted to Crystal Engineering (1999-2006)
Member of the International Advisory Board of Chem. Commun. (1993-2009)
Two fellowships of Fondazione Donegani attributed by the Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei.
S.E.R.C. University of North London and University of Cambridge . (1980-1981)
NATO grant (1990-1995)
Exchange programme JNICT-CNR University of Lisbon (1992-1998)
CRUI Fellowships with the Universities of Heidelberg (1993-1995), Jena , (1996-1998), and Marburg 1999-2001)
Exchange project between Italy and Spain with University of Zaragoza (1994-1995) University of Barcelona (1999-2002)
CIBA-Geigy Senior Fellowship with Trinity College (Dublin - 1995)
Royal Society of Chemistry International Author Grant, University of Bristol (1997)
Galileo Exchange Fellowship with University of Strasbourg (1998-2000)
CRUI - British Council bilateral project, University of Cambridge (1996)
Ministry of Foreign Affairs- Bilateral with India – Univ. of Heiderabad (2000)
Visiting Professor at the University of STRASBOURG – 2000
Scientists on Sabbatical leave in Bologna with Braga's group
Prof. A. Guy Orpen – University of Bristol (UK ) – 1992 – 2004- 2005 -2007
Prof. L. Glasser – University of Witwatersand (South Africa) – 2000
Prof. J. Scheffer – University of Toronto (Canada) – 2002
Prof. G. Desiraju – University of Hyderabad (India) – 2003
Prof. J. Bernstein – University of Negev – Beer Sheva (Israel) – 2005 – 2006
Prof. Lia Addadi - Weitzmann Institute (2009)
Prof. Martin Schmidt - University of Frankfurt (2010, 2012, 2014)