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

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!

Our PI has been officially recognized as a RAFG Member in a fantastic event at the 'Antigo Hospital de San Roque'

Yesterday, the Royal Academy of Pharmacy of Galicia (RAFG) has recognized Prof. Mascareñas as a new Numerary Member of the academy

Yesterday evening, Prof. José Luis Mascareñas Cid has been recognized as a new Numerary Member of the Royal Academy of Pharmacy of Galicia (RAFG), during a marvelous event at the "Antigo Hospital de San Roque", head office of the Academy.

Prof. Franco Fernández has replied to the joining speech and many authorities were attending the celebration as, for instance, the Conselleiro de Sanidade D. Julio García Comesaña.

It has been a very special moment and a really emotive event. Congratulations, José Luis

External link:

Second in a row: another brand new article, this time at RSC Chem. Biol., is now available on-line

Once again... so happy to share our last manuscript, in collaboration with M. Orozco group, is available through the journal website

We are really glad to announce here that our last collaborative article at RSC Chem. Biol., entitled "Molecular dynamics modelling of the interaction of a synthetic zinc-finger miniprotein with DNA" and authored by J. Rodríguez, F. Battistini, S. Learte-Aymamí, M. Orozco and J. L. Mascarenas, is already available through the journal website as a Gold-open access paper.

Abstract: We report the modelling of the DNA complex of an artificial miniprotein composed of two zinc finger modules and an AT-hook linking peptide. The computational study provides for the first time a structural view of these types of complexes, dissecting interactions that are key to modulate their stability. The relevance of these interactions was validated experimentally. These results confirm the potential of this type of computational approach for studying peptide–DNA complexes and suggest that they could be very useful for the rational design of non-natural, DNA binding miniproteins.

External link:

Our brand new article at Chem. Sci. is already available on-line

So glad to announce our last manuscript concerning "Ruthenium-Catalyzed Intermolecular Couplings" is available through the journal website

We are very glad to share here that our article at Chem. Sci., entitled "Ruthenium-Catalyzed Intermolecular Alkene-Alkyne Couplings in Biologically Relevant Media" and authored by A. Gutiérrez, D. Marcos, L. Cool, F. López and J. L. Mascarenas, is already available through the journal website.

Abstract: Cationic cyclopentadienyl Ru(II) catalysts can efficiently promote mild intermolecular alkyne-alkene couplings in aqueous media, even in the presence of different biomolecular components, and in complex media like DMEM. The method can also be used for the derivatization of aminoacids and peptides, therefore proposing a new way to label biomolecules with external tags. This C-C bond-forming reaction, based on simple alkene and alkyne reactants, can now be added to the toolbox of bioorthogonal reactions promoted by transition metal catalysts.

External link:

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
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