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 last paper at Chemical Science is also the front cover of the current issue

We are very happy this collaborative work at CiQUS has been selected to be the front cover of the more recent Chem. Sci. issue

So glad to announce our last collaborative work (with Javier Montenegro group, CiQUS) was selected as the front cover of the last Chem. Sci. published issue.

Congratulations to all the authors!!

External link:

Today, our group leader has received the Research Medal of the Royal Galician Academy of Sciences at the Salón Nobre, Colexio de Fonseca

We are so happy for the acknowledgment to Prof. Mascareñas by the RAGC (Royal Galician Academy of Sciences). Congrats!

We are really glad to announce our group leader, Prof. J. L. Mascareñas, has received the Research Medal of the Royal Galician Academy of Sciences.

It has been a nice ceremony at the Salón Nobre of Colexio de Fonseca

Many congrats, José Luis!!

External link:

Our last publication at the Chem. Sci. journal is on-line

Pleased to announce our Chem. Sci. manuscript in colaboration with Montenegro group (CiQUS) has been accepted, and it's already on-line

We are so glad to annouce our communication to Chem. Sci. in collaboration with our CiQUS colleagues at J. Montenegro's lab, entitled "Supramolecular Caging for Cytosolic Delivery of Anionic Probes" and authored by H. Fernández-Caro, I. Lostalé-Seijo, M. Martinez-Calvo, J. Mosquera, J. L. Mascareñas and J. Montenegro, has been accepted and it's already available through the journal website.

Abstract: The cytosolic delivery of hydrophilic, anionic molecular probes and therapeutics is a major challenge in chemical biology and medicine. Herein, we describe the design and synthesis of peptide-cage hybrids that allow an efficient supramolecular binding, cell membrane translocation and cytosolic delivery of a number of anionic dyes, including pyranine, carboxyfluorescein and several sulfonate-containing Alexa dyes. This supramolecular caging strategy is successful in different cell lines, and the dynamic carrier mechanism has been validated by U-Tube experiments. The high efficiency of the reported approach allowed intracellular pH tracking by exploiting the ratiometric excitation of the pyranine fluorescent probe

External link:!divAbstract

Already available our last publication at Chem. Sci.

We are very pleased to announce our latest collaboration with Prof. M. E. Vázquez, Dr. M. Melle-Franco and Prof. M. Vázquez has been published

Glad to announce our most recent publication at the Chem. Sci. journal, entitled "Canonical DNA minor groove insertion of bisbenzamidine-Ru(II) complexes with chiral selectivity" and authored by M.I. Sanchez, G. Rama, R. Calo-Lapido, K. Ucar, P. Lincoln, M. Vázquez, M. Melle-Franco, J. L. Mascareñas  and M. E. Vázquez, is already available.

Abstract: We report the first Ru(II) coordination compounds that interact with DNA through a canonical minor groove insertion mode and with selectivity for A/T rich sites. This was made possible by integrating a bis‑benzamidine minor groove DNA-binding agent with a ruthenium(II) complex. Importantly, one of the enantiomers (Δ‑[Ru(bpy)2b4bpy]2+, Δ‑4Ru) shows a considerably higher DNA affinity than the parent organic ligand and than the other enantiomer, particularly for the AATT sequence, while the other enantiomer preferentially targets long AAATTT sites with overall lower affinity. Finally, we demonstrate that the photophysical properties of these new binders can be exploited for DNA cleavage using visible light.

External link:!divAbstract

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