Prof. Marcelo Calderón

Ikerbasque Research Professor


Prof. Marcelo Calderón
Group Leader

Centro Joxe Mari Korta
Avenida de Tolosa, 72
20018 Donostia - San Sebastián

Tel:+34 943 01 8182


Marcelo Calderón started his professional career in Argentina where he obtained a Bachelor (Licenciatura) degree in Chemistry in 2003 and a Ph.D. degree in Chemical Sciences in 2007, from the National University of Córdoba. He worked on the synthesis of dendritic amphiphilic polymers for his doctoral thesis, under the supervision of Prof. Miriam Strumia. During the course of the doctoral thesis, he had the opportunity to visit several national and international research groups, which motivated him to move to Germany to perform a postdoctoral research project at the Freie Universität Berlin in 2007. There he pursued the synthesis of polymer-drug conjugates for the passive targeted delivery of drugs, genes, and imaging probes, under the supervision of Prof. Rainer Haag. After successful completion of a 3-years postdoctoral tenure he started to perform activities as independent researcher as Junior Group Leader in 2010, within the frame of the Freie Universität Berlin Focus Area NanoScale, and as Assistant Professor, from 2013 to 2018. In 2019 he joined Polymat as an Ikerbasque Research Professor.

Honors and awards

Marcelo completed his bachelor and doctoral studies with fellowships from the YPF Foundation and the Research Council of Argentina (CONICET), respectively. He was the recipient of the Arthur K. Doolittle Award in 2010 (American Chemical Society, Polymer Materials: Science and Engineering Division), the Cesar Milstein Fellowship in 2011 (Ministry of Science, Technology and Productive Innovation, Argentina), the NanoMatFutur Grant for Young Scientists from the German Ministry of Science in 2012 (BMBF), an Ikerbasque Research Professorship in 2018, and was highlighted as 'Emerging Investigator' by the Royal Society of Chemistry journals Chemical Communications (2015) and Journal of Material Chemistry B (2017).


The application of nanotechnology in medicine and pharmaceuticals is a rapidly advancing field that is quickly gaining acceptance and recognition as an independent area of research called nanomedicine. Urgent needs in this field, however, are biocompatible and bioactive materials for antifouling surfaces and nanoparticles for drug delivery. Therefore, extensive attention has been given to the design and development of multifunctional, well-defined macromolecular structures. In this context, the areas of interest of the 'Responsive Polymer Therapeutics Group' led by Marcelo Calderón are related to the development of polymer-bioactive (drugs, genes, dyes, and targeting moieties) conjugates and complexes for the theranostic treatment of diseases.

The activities of the group during the last eight years were focused on the development of multifunctional polymers, with a research priority on the design of new polymeric architectures for the treatment and diagnosis of diseases. The group aim at understanding the physico-chemical parameters that should be controlled in order to develop novel efficient materials suitable for nanomedicine. The materials that are currently used in the clinics are strongly restricted regarding their disease targeting capabilities and 'on-demand' therapeutic function. Taking this into consideration, over the last years the group has focused the activities toward the development of polymer based nanomaterials that are able to sense environmental triggers and respond to them at the site of action as novel therapeutic and diagnostic approaches. The group has established chemical methodologies for the development of thermoresponsive nanogels and polymer-drug/dye conjugates. Several local, national, and international collaborations were established in order to study the potential of the developed smart architectures in different biological models. The materials synthesized by the group were successfully used for imaging, controlled drug delivery, tumor ablation by hyperthermia, capture and quantification of circulating tumor cells (CTCs), and topical drug delivery.

Responsive Polymer Therapeutics Group