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

Congrats to David, on his successful PhD defense

David Fernández Fernández has defended today his PhD Thesis at the Faculty of Chemistry, USC

David Fernández Fernández is our brand new Doctor in the group, after defending his PhD entitled "Transition Metal Catalyzed Annulations Based on The Activation of C–H Bonds".

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

Congrats David!!!

External link:

The new Master's degree in 'Chemistry at the Interface with Biology and Materials Science', starting next academic year, has opened its admission period

The enrolment period will be open until July 19th, and there will be a maximum of 20 new students

The USC (University of Santiago de Compostela) offers this new international master's program with an interdisciplinary profile, linked to the CiQUS strategic research areas.
This is the first official master's degree in Spain for graduate students who wish to deepen knowledge in science at the boundaries between chemistry, biology and nanomaterials.

That ambitious academic initiative will begin its activity in September 2019.
See further info at:

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Congrats to Cristian, finalist of the XI JIQ Suschem awards in the Postdoc category

Happy to announce our colleague Cristian Vidal Vides has been the finalist for the Postdoc award of the XI Suschem-JIQ prize

We are really pleased to announce Cristian Vidal Vides, postdoctoral researcher at our group, has been selected as finalist for the PostDoc Award of the XI Suschem-JIQ prize, by his publication at Nature Commun. "Concurrent and orthogonal gold(I) and ruthenium(II) catalysis inside living cells"

Congratulations Cristian!!!

External link:

Our last publication at ChemBioChem is available on-line

Pleased to announce our ChemBioChem manuscript has been accepted, and it's already on-line

So happy to share we have our last review at ChemBioChem accepted. It is entitled "TiO2‐based Photocatalysis at the Interface with Biology and Biomedicine" and authored by Dr. María Tomás Gamasa and Prof. José L. Mascareñas.

Abstract: The conversion of sunlight into chemical energy using the photosynthetic machinery is at the hearth of Nature and Life. Scientists have also learned to use the energy of light to promote a great variety of chemical reactions, most of them based on redox processes involving electron transfer steps. Indeed, the area of photoredox catalysis has recently emerged as one of the hottest fields in synthetic chemistry. Many of the photoredox reactions so far discovered take place in homogeneous phases, and rely on the use of soluble photoresponsive catalysts. However, along recent years, there have been also many advances in the area of heterogeneous photocatalysis, most of which are based on the use of semiconductor materials like TiO2 as key photocatalytic system. These technologies have found different applications, especially in the field of sustainable chemistry and therapy. In this manuscript we review some of these applications, and the potential of TiO2‐based photocatalysts in biology and biomedicine.

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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:
University of Santiago
Santiago Tourism