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

Our first publication for 2020 is already on-line

Really pleased to announce our latest ACS Catal. paper is available as a just accepted manuscript

Starting this brand new 2020 year... we are glad to announce our most recent publication at ACS Catalysis journal, entitled "Palladium-catalyzed formal (4+2) cycloaddition between alkyl amides and dienes initiated by the activation of C(sp3)−H bonds" and authored by B. Cendón, M. Font, J. L. Mascareñas and M. Gulías, is already available as just accepted manuscript.

We report a formal (4+2) cycloaddition between alkyl-nosylamides and dienes enabled by a palladium-catalyzed activation of C(sp3)−H bonds beta to the amide group. This atom economical reaction which proceeds under operationally simple conditions, is compatible with a wide variety of dienes, and provides a straightforward method to assemble different types of saturated lactams. The annulation is favored over alternative pathways in part because of the key role of the extra double bond of the diene partner. The use of suitable nitrogen-based additives as palladium ligands, which enable the C(sp3)−H activation without interfering in subsequent steps of the catalytic cycle, is also critical for the success of the reaction.

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Our PI has been awarded with an ERC Proof-of-Concept Grant

We are so happy Prof. Mascareñas has received the PoC grant in the 2019 third round!!

The new ERC Proof of Concept Grant will fund the project antiCSC, willing to explore the use of specific metal complexes to target the metabolism of cancer stem cells, and assess the viability of utilizing some of these compounds as new anticancer drugs.
This way, the highest European research institution has reinforced its support to Prof. Mascareñas and our research group.

Congrats José Luis!!

We are really proud and looking forward working on this new exciting project!!

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Congrats to Renata, on her successful PhD defense

Renata Calo Lapido has defended today her PhD Thesis at the Faculty of Chemistry, USC

Renata Calo Lapido is our brand new Doctor in the group, after defending her PhD entitled "Chemical tactics to control the interaction of synthetic systems with nucleic acids".

This PhD work, supervised by Prof. Mascareñas and Prof. Vázquez, has received the highest qualification by the jury committee.

Congrats Renata!!!

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Our former postdoctoral researcher, Dr. Verónica I. Dodero, has visited us at CiQUS for a lecture

It was so special to have back Dr. V. Dodero for such a great talk

She was introducing us her recent research, by presenting 'Translational Research: Curiosity Driven Basic Research meets Public Health Challenges'.

It was and amazing talk, with a really nice discussion and scientific exchange afterwards.

Thanks a lot, Verónica. And see you soon!

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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:
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