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Ignacio Franco


Ignacio Franco

Leonard Mandel Faculty Fellow
Associate Professor, University of Rochester

Contact Information:
Department of Chemistry,
Hutchinson Hall, Room 454
120 Trustee Road Rochester, NY 14627


Department of Chemistry
Department of Physics
Material Science Program
Center for Coherence and Quantum Optics


Ignacio Franco is an associate professor at the Department of Chemistry of the University of Rochester. Research in the Franco group focuses on theory and computation as it applies to dynamical processes occurring in molecules, nanoscale and extended systems. The group is particularly interested in exploring quantum frontiers in molecular science, and in developing new methods to probe and control the behavior of matter by means of external stimuli, a topic that they like to refer to as “Molecules Under Stress”. Ignacio received his B.Sc. in chemistry from the National University of Colombia in 2001. In 2002, after completing the diploma program in condensed matter physics at The Abdus Salam International Centre for Theoretical Physics in Trieste, he moved to the University of Toronto to pursue a Ph.D. in theoretical chemical physics under the guidance of Paul Brumer. In 2008 he joined Northwestern as a postdoctoral fellow in the groups of Mark A. Ratner and George C. Schatz. In 2011, he moved to Berlin to take a position as group leader and Humboldt research fellow in the Theory Department of the Fritz Haber Institute. In 2013, he joined the chemistry faculty as an assistant professor and was promoted to associate professor in 2019. Ignacio is currently the Leonard Mandel Faculty Fellow at the University of Rochester. He is the recipient of the NSF CAREER Award, the OpenEye Outstanding Junior Faculty Award of the American Chemical Society, the Curtis Provost Teaching Award for Nontenured Faculty and the College Award for Undergraduate Teaching and Mentoring. Ignacio holds secondary appointments in the Department of Physics and the Material Science Program.

Short CV (pdf)

July 2019 – present
Associate Professor, University of Rochester

July 2013-June 2019
Assistant Professor, University of Rochester

Oct. 2011- June 2013
Research Group Leader, Theory Department, Fritz Haber Institute of the Max Planck Society

Jan. 2008 – Sep. 2011
Postdoctoral Fellow, Chemistry Department, Northwestern University
Advisors: George C. Schatz and Mark A. Ratner

Sep. 2002- Sep. 2007
Ph.D. in Theoretical Chemical Physics, Chemistry Department, University of Toronto
Advisor: Paul Brumer
Thesis: Coherent control of laser-induced symmetry breaking: from fundamentals to applications

Sep. 2001-Aug. 2002
Diploma in Theoretical Condensed Matter Physics, The Abdus Salam International Centre for Theoretical Physics, Trieste.
Thesis: Conformational dynamics of photoexcited conjugated molecules

Summer 2002/2003
Research Assistant, Theoretical Division, Los Alamos National Lab.
Advisor: Sergei Tretiak

2001 B.Sc. in Chemistry, National University of Colombia, Bogotá.
Thesis: Atomic contributions to molecular optical activity: an approach through Atoms in Molecules theory

Awards and Honors

Vice Chair/Chair-elect, Gordon Research Conference on Quantum Control of Light and Matter, 2023-2025.

Frederick D. and Susan Rice Lewis College Award for Undergraduate Teaching and Research Mentorship, University of Rochester, 2021

Leonard Mandel Faculty Fellow in Quantum Coherence, U. Rochester, 2019-

Lecturer on Quantum Dynamics, Telluride School on Theoretical Chemistry, 2019.

G. Graydon Curtis (’58) and Jane W. Curtis Provost Teaching Award, University of Rochester, 2019

ACS COMP OpenEye Outstanding Junior Faculty Award, Fall 2017

NSF CAREER 2016-2021

Humboldt Research Fellowship 2012-2014

Lachlan Gilchrist Fellowship in Fundamental Physics, University of Toronto 2006-07

Ontario Graduate Scholarship 2003-04, 2004-05 and 2005-06

University of Toronto Fellowship 2002-03 and 2006-07 (teaching reduction)

The F. E. Beamish Prize in Physical Chemistry 2006-07

The Michael J. Dignam Graduate Travel Award 2004-05

Summa cum Laude, Chemistry Department, National University of Colombia 2001

Winner of the 2001-02 Otto de Greiff National Undergraduate Theses Contest, Natural Sciences Area, October 2002. This distinction is given each year to the best undergraduate thesis in Natural Sciences in Colombia.

Winner of the 2001 Best Dissertation Award, Theoretical Physics Area, National University of Colombia, November 2001. This prize is awarded on a yearly basis to the best undergraduate thesis in Theoretical Physics of the National University of Colombia

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