Easter is coming…

… and we celebrate it meeting in one of our favorite places!

After enjoying Japanese food…

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Dr. Sonsona, already!

Last March 15th, Isaac had the Defense of his Doctoral Thesis and he did it excellent!


We wish all the best Dr. Sonsona. Thank you very much!


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Enjoying and doing scientific dissemination at once

Raquel gave an spectacular conference about Chemistry through the mirror in the evolution of drugs, within Conferences Program (CSIC): “What do we know about…?”


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Celebrating Women’s day receiving an award!

Last Tuesday, March 12, Conchita Gimeno collected her award “March 8, Women of the Campo de Cariñena 2019”. After that, she and Raquel gave very nice talks to celebrate Women’s day. Congratulations!



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Luca and Raquel: old friends together after 15 years!

Last Friday, March 8th, Dr. Luca Bernardi (University of Bologna) visited Zaragoza and gave us a wonderful talk as a present, about “Asymmetric Organocatalysis: Principles and Applications“. Thanks a lot, Luca!

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Synergistic catalysis as well as synergistic teamwork

Proline bulky substituents consecutively act as steric hindrances and directing groups in a Michael/Conia-ene cascade reaction under synergistic catalysis, Putatunda, S.; Alegre-Requena, J. V.; Meazza, M.; Franc, M.; Rohaľová, D.; Vemuri, P.; Císařová, I.; Herrera, R. P.; Rios, R.; Veselý, J. Chem. Sci. 20199DOI: 10.1039/C8SC05258A

Abstract. In this study, we report a highly stereoselective and versatile synthesis of spiro pyrazolones, promising motifs that are being employed as pharmacophores. The new synthetic strategy merges organocatalysis and metal catalysis to create a synergistic catalysis using proline derivatives and Pd catalysts. This protocol is suitable for late-stage functionalization, which is very important in drug discovery. Additionally, a thorough computational study proved to be very useful to elucidate the function of the different catalysts along the reaction, showing a peculiar feature: the –CPh2OSiMe3 group of the proline catalyst switches its role during the reaction. In the initial Michael reaction, this group plays its commonly-assumed role of bulky blocking group, but the same group generates π–Pd interactions and acts as a directing group in the subsequent Pd-catalyzed Conia-ene reaction. This finding might be very relevant especially for processes with many steps, such as cascade reactions, in which functional groups are assumed to play the same role during all reaction steps.




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Indole and isatin derivatives with Au(I): Highly cytotoxic metallic species

Bioactive and luminescent indole and isatin based gold(I) derivatives, Fernández-Moreira, V.; Val-Campillo, C.; Ospino, I.; Herrera, R. P.; Marzo, I.; Laguna, A.; Gimeno, M. C. Dalton Trans. 2019. DOI: 10.1039/C8DT00298C

Abstract. A series of luminescent monometallic [AuL(PPh3)] (1-3) and bimetallic [Au2(µ-dppe)L2] (4, 6, 8) and [Au2(µ-dppp)L2] (5, 7, 9) complexes, where L is either 4-cyano-indole, isatin, or 5,7-dimethyl-isatin, and dppe and dppp are 1,2-bis(diphenylphosphino)ethane and 1,3-bis(diphenylphosphino)propane, respectively, have been synthesised. X-ray diffraction confirmed the tendency to establish aurophillic interations for those complexes containing dppe. Luminescent studies and theoretical calculations revealed a different origin for both families, i.e. indole and isatin species. Thus, indole derivatives presented a ligand-to-ligand-charge-transfer transition (LLCT) from the indole to the PPh3 fragment, whereas for the isatin derivatives an intraligand–charge-transfer transition (ILCT) within the isatin fragment is proposed. In both cases the gold centre slightly implicated as a ligand-to-metal-charge transfer transition (LMCT) (from the indole/isatin to Au(I)). Cell antiproliferative assays in lung cancer cells (A549), leukemia Jurkat-pLVTHM and Jurkat-shBak cells (cisplatin sensitive and resistant respectively) showed excellent cytotoxic values (10.11 – 0.28 μM), resulting the leukemia cells the most sensitive and the bimetallic species the most active agents. Preliminary studies associated the cytotoxicity to a combination of diferent factors, being the metallic fragment the main responsible. Remarkably, these complexes are able to inhibit the cellular growth of cisplatin resistant Jurkat-shBak cells highlighting their promising future as an alternative anticancer agent.

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Introduction to Drug Development. GlaxoSmithKline Spain

Last January 24th, we enjoyed a very interesting seminar about Introduction to Drug Development within the ISQCH Conferences Cycle. The seminar was taught by Jorge Esquivias Provencio (Project leader, Tuberculosis unit) and María Santos Martínez (DMPK Head), both at the Tres Cantos GSK. They were invited by Raquel P. Herrera and Conchita Gimeno, who have established a promising collaboration with the company.

We learnt a lot! Thanks!

Raquel introducing the speakers.

Conchita, Jorge, Raquel and María (from left to right).



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Enjoy reading a new review about anticancer properties of gold complexes

Anticancer Properties of Gold Complexes with Biologically Relevant Ligands, Fernández-Moreira, V.; Herrera, R. P.; Gimeno, M. C. Pure Appl. Chem. 2018, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/pac-2018-0901

AbstractThe present review highlights our findings in the field of antitumor gold complexes bearing biologically relevant molecules, such as DNA-bases, amino acids or peptide derivatives. The results show that very active complexes are achieved with this sort of ligands in several cancer cells. In these compounds the gold center is bonded to these biological molecules mainly through a sulfur atom belonging to a cysteine moiety or to a thionicotinic moiety as result of the functionalization of the biological compounds, and additionally phosphines or N-heterocyclic carbenes are present as ancillary ligands. These robust compounds are stable in the biological media and can be transported to their targets without previous deactivation. The presence of these scaffolds represents a good approach to obtain complexes with improved biologically activity, better transport and biodistribution to cancer cells. Thioredoxin reductase (TrxR) has been shown as the main target for these complexes and in some cases, DNA interactions has been also observed.

Keywordsamino acidsantitumor compoundsDistinguished Women in Chemistry and Chemical EngineeringDNA-base derivativesgold complexespeptides

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HOCA in the media

El Periódico de Aragón:


Aragón Radio:


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