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 publication at Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. is available on-line

We are very glad to announce our last paper about bioorthogonal chemical reactions is at ANIE Early view

We are very happy to share here that our research article at Angew. Chem. Int. Ed., entitled "Bioorthogonal Azide–Thioalkyne Cycloaddition Catalyzed by Photoactivatable Ruthenium(II) Complexes" and authored by A. Gutiérrez-González, P. Destito, J. R. Couceiro, C. Pérez-González F. López and J. L. Mascarenas, has been accepted and it's already available through the journal website.

Abstract: Tailored ruthenium sandwich complexes bearing photoresponsive arene ligands can efficiently promote azide–thioalkyne cycloaddition (RuAtAC) when irradiated with UV light. The reactions can be performed in a bioorthogonal manner in aqueous mixtures containing biological components. The strategy can also be applied for the selective modification of biopolymers, such as DNA or peptides. Importantly, this ruthenium-based technology and the standard copper-catalyzed azide–alkyne cycloaddition (CuAAC) proved to be compatible and mutually orthogonal

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Congratulations to Soraya, who was granted with the Lilly/RSEQ Research award for doctorate students

We are so happy to announce our group member, Soraya Learte Aymamí, has received the Lilly/RSEQ Research award for doctorate students

Today, 2021 Lilly/RSEQ Research awards for doctorate students were announced and Soraya Learte Aymamí has succeed in receiving one of those three prizes.

This way, her predoctoral track has been recognized by the scientific community.

So great!!

We are really proud of you

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Congrats to David, on his successful PhD defense

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

David Cagiao Marcote is our brand new Doctor in the group, after defending his PhD entitled "Novas Estratexias Sintéticas Baseadas en Catálise de Ouro".

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

Congrats David!!!

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Congrats to Soraya, on her successful PhD defense

Soraya Learte Aymamí has defended today her PhD Thesis at the Faculty of Chemistry, USC

Soraya Learte Aymamí is our brand new Doctor in the group, after defending her PhD entitled "Metallopeptides and metalloproteins in chemical biology: from DNA binding to intracellular catalysis".

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

Congrats Soraya!!!

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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