Graduated in Physics in 1990 at the University of Catania, where she received her PhD in 1994. In 1998-99, thanks to a CNR-NATO scholarship, she was a visiting member at the Joint Institute for Laboratory Astrophysics (JILA ), University of Colorado at Boulder (USA). Between 1993 and 2016 she is an astronomer researcher at the Astrophysical Observatory of Catania.
Since 2016 she has been Primo Ricercatore at INAF – Catania Astrophysical Observatory.
In Feb 2019 she started her term as Director of INAF – Catania Astrophysical Observatory.
I. Pagano’s research activities concern the study of extrasolar planets, stellar magnetic activity, the development of tools for astrophysics from space. I. Pagano leads the Italian participation to the ESA’s CHEOPS and PLATO missions. Principal Investigator of FRONTIERA – Fostering high ResolutiON Technology and Innovation for Exoplanets and Research in Astrophysics – project funded by the Italian MIUR, she is a member of the Scientific Committee and of the Board of the long-term project GAPS for the study of extrasolar planets with HARPS-N spectrograph at the National Galileo Telescope.
Since 2016, I. Pagano is a member of the Board of Reviewing Editors of the journal Science (AAAS).
She has just completed her term as a member of the Scientific Committee of the Large Binocular Telescope in Arizona. In the years 2012-2018 Pagano served as member of the Scientific Committee of the LBT telescope.
Between 2010-2012 she was member of the Astronomy of the Working Group, the technical scientific advisory committee of the European Space Agency for Astrophysical Sciences from Space.
Author of about 250 articles, of which 110 in international refereed journals.