Chemical Biology Metal Catalysis

Our Aims

Generation, training and transfer of knowledge

Development of creative and groundbreaking
research at the interface of Chemistry, Biology and Medicine.

Education of researchers in order they become
future leaders of academic or industrial projects.

Transferring of knowledge to Society in order
to propel economical and social progress

European Research Council Santiago de Compostela University Campus Vida CIQUS - Centro Singular de Investigación en Química Biológica y Materiales Moleculares
Latest News
Media Library

Second in a row: another collaborative article, this time at Org. Lett., is now available on-line

Once again in a week, we are so happy to share another manuscript in collaboration with I. Fernández group is available through the journal website

We are really glad to announce here that another collaborative article accepted at Org. Lett., entitled "Cobalt(I)-Catalyzed (3 + 2 + 2) Cycloaddition between Alkylidenecyclopropanes, Alkynes, and Alkenes" and authored by E. da Concepción, C. Lázaro, I. Fernández, J. L. Mascarenas and F. López, is already available through the journal website.

Abstract: Cobalt(I) catalysts equipped with bisphosphine ligands can be used to promote formal (3 + 2 + 2) intramolecular cycloadditions of enynylidenecyclopropanes of type 1. The method provides synthetically appealing 5,7,5-fused tricyclic systems in good yields and with complete diastereo- and chemoselectivity. Interestingly, its scope differs from that of previously reported annulations based on precious metal catalysts, specifically rhodium and palladium. Noticeably, density functional theory calculations confirm that the mechanism of the reaction is also different from those proposed for these other catalysts.

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A new article at Adv. Synth. Catal. is already available on-line

So happy to announce our last manuscript concerning "Cobalt-catalyzed Intramolecular Cycloadditions" is available through the journal website

We are very glad to share here that our article at Adv. Synth. Catal., entitled "Cobalt-catalyzed Intramolecular Cycloadditions of Alkenylidenecyclopropanes with Alkenes and Dienes" and authored by E. Da Concepción, I. Fernández, J. L. Mascarenas and F. López, is already available through the journal website.

Abstract: Low-valent cobalt complexes equipped with phosphorous type of ligands can promote the intramolecular (3+2) cycloaddition of alkylidenecyclopropanes (ACPs) with alkenes and with allenes. Dienes can also be used as partners, but they afford seven-membered cycloadducts. The reactions are fully diastereoselective and, in some cases, we also observed moderate enantioselectivities, especially when using chiral phosphite ligands

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After summer-brake, our last article "Axially Chiral 2-Hydroxybiaryls by Palladium-Catalyzed Enantioselective C–H Act" is now available on-line

This new manuscript at ACS Catal. is already available through the journal website

We are very glad to share here that our article at ACS Catal., entitled "Axially Chiral 2-Hydroxybiaryls by Palladium-Catalyzed Enantioselective C–H Activation" and authored by P. Losada, L. Goicoechea, J. L. Mascarenas and M. Gulías, is already available through the journal website.

Abstract: This article describes the discovery and development of a palladium-catalyzed asymmetric C–H olefination of 2-hydroxybiaryls. The strategy allows a direct assembly of optically active, axially chiral 2-substituted-2′-hydroxybiaryls from readily available precursors and demonstrates that the native hydroxy unit of the substrates can work as an efficient directing group for the C–H activation. This represents a substantial advantage over other approaches that require the preinstallation of metal coordinating units. The simplicity of the approach and versatility of the products allow a practical and efficient synthesis of a broad variety of optically active binaphthyl derivatives

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Goodbye Jose M. Glez and Edu Da Concepción

José Manuel González González and Eduardo Da Concepción Vicente have left the group to pursue their postdoctoral careers. Good luck to you both!

José Manuel González González and Eduardo Da Concepción Vicente, two students that started almost together at the group some years ago to pursue their PhDs, have just left MetBioCat willing to start both postdoctoral careers.

Best of luck José and Edu!

Synthetic models in Chemical Biology

Workshop on Nanomedicine 2012. Prof. Mascareñas, ERC - Advanced Grant METBIOCAT, explains his research lines in the chemical biology field.
DNA is the key macromolecule used by nature to store the genetic information, therefore containing all the instructions that control the day-to-day function of cells. As such, it has been a traditional target for the development of different type of drugs, particularly anticancer agents. These drugs include alkylating agents, like cis-platinum and derivatives, and non-covalent binders like the anthracyclines, which interact to DNA by intercalation between base pairs. There are other types of cytotoxic non-covalent DNA binders, like distamycin or propamidine, which interact to DNA by insertion in the minor groove.

We have been interested in this latter type of molecules, because they are sequence selective and therefore provide for molecular engineering of site-specific DNA-promoted processes. In particular, we have designed and synthesized a number of variants of propamidine that work as sequence specific DNA optical sensors, or as light-activated prodrugs.

Some of the knowledge acquired in the studies of light-promoted processes has been extended to area of DNA-protein interactions. In particular, we have developed a chemical approach to control the DNA interaction of synthetic mimics of transcription factors, and expect that the tactic can be used in the future to regulate processes of gene expression.
Part of our work in this area is also focused to the construction of optical sensors that can detect minute amounts of transcription factors considered as oncogenic biomarkers, like the bZIP protein Jun.

Meet our team

José Luis Mascareñas, PhD leads this team of researchers. Find out more about him and the rest of the team in our Group members section.

Group Members

Join Us

We are always looking forward to welcoming exceptional candidates into our research Group. Please visit our Opportunities section or send us your cv.


Living and working in
Santiago de Compostela

Are you new to the city and its University?
We have gathered some facts and figures you may find interesting.


Annual mean temperature. The humid oceanic climate guarantees mild weather throughout the year.


Students attend the University. With the city population around 100,000.


Year old University. Currently imparting more than 60 degrees.


Santiago is well connected, having its own international airport, train station, etc.


Amongst many awards, Santiago was declared World Heritage City by UNESCO in 1985.


Santiago de Compostela is the capital of Galicia de most Nortwestern region of Spain.


Public transport is available in order to get around the city, which is also conveniently located to visit other sites in Galicia.


Spanish and Galician are the two official languages of Galicia. Your work will be carried out in English.


Official websites:
University of Santiago
Santiago Tourism