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

Further news about the ACS Catalysis, 2018, 8 (7), pp 6055–6061

Our recent paper at ACS Catalysis among the most read publications over the last month

We are very pleased to announce some good news regarding our publication at ACS Catalysis "Intracellular Deprotection Reactions Mediated by Palladium Complexes Equipped with Designed Phosphine Ligands".
The paper authored by M. Martínez-Calvo, J. R. Couceiro, P. Destito, J. Rodríguez, J. Mosquera, and J. L. Mascareñas is one of the most read articles for the previous 30 days (top 20 most downloaded).
It is an ACS Editors' Choice, too!

Thank you, guys

External link:

ACS Catalysis. Third over the last 40 days... good job guys!!

We are very glad to announce we got our third consecutive publication accepted at ACS Catalysis, in just fourty days.

Already available on-line our last publication at ACS catalysis by D. F. Fernández, C. A. B. Rodrigues, M. Calvelo, M. Gulías, J. L. Mascareñas and F. López, entitled "Iridium(I)-Catalyzed Intramolecular Cycloisomerization of Enynes: Scope and Mechanistic Course"

We report an Ir(I)-catalyzed cycloisomerization methodology that provides access to carbocyclic systems bearing exo-alkene moieties from alkynyl-equipped acyclic precursors. The method relies on the C-H activation of olefinic and (het-ero)aromatic C(sp2)–H bonds, followed by an exo-cyclization to a tethered alkyne, and provides interesting cyclic diene products that are amenable of further elaboration. Importantly, DFT calculations suggests that, in contrast to related hydrocarbonations of alkenes in which either migratory insertions or C-C reductive eliminations have been suggested to be rate determining, in our reac-tions, the energetic barrier of these steps is lower than that of the previous C–H activation.

External link:

Our last publication at ACS Catalysis among the ACS editor’s choice articles

Our latest letter to ACS Catalysis selected from acrossall ACS journals by ACS editors for its potential broad public interest

"Intracellular deprotection reactions mediated by palladium complexes equipped with designed phosphine ligands", authored by M. Martínez-Calvo, J. R. Couceiro, P. Destito, J. Rodriguez, J. Mosquera and J. L. Mascareñas, is our latest paper at ACS Catalysis.

Discrete palladium (II) complexes featuring purposely designed phosphine ligands can promote depropargylation and deallylation reactions in cell lysates. The performance of these complexes is superior to that of other palladium sources, which apparently are rapidly deactivated in such hostile complex media. This good balance between reactiv-ity and stability allows the use of these discrete phosphine palladium complexes in living mammalian cells, whereby they can mediate similar transformations. The presence of a phosphine ligand in the coordination sphere of palladi-um also provides for the introduction of targeting groups, such as hydrophobic phosphonium moieties, which facili-tate the accumulation of the complexes in mitochondria.

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Congrats to María, who got the best oral communication award at the XI ISOMC "Marcial Morena Mañas", held in Oviedo

Our colleague Dr. María Tomas-Gamasa has received the best oral communication prize at the XI international school in organometallic chemistry

Our group member Dr. María Tomás-Gamasa was awarded in Oviedo with the best oral communication prize at the XI International School on Organometallic Chemistry "Marcial Moreno Mañas", 6th-8th of June 2018.

The title of her communication was: "Ruthenium promoted reactions inside living cells", and she described the first examples of [2+2+2] cycloaddition reactions involving two exogenous, freely spreading substrates promoted by discrete ruthenium complexes inside living cells.

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