The Organometallic Catalysis Group works on the synthesis of organometallic/inorganic compounds with specific properties for their use in catalytic and biological applications. We develop new synthetic strategies based on catalytic methods for the functionalization of organic molecules. We are also interested in developing new metal-based drugs for the treatment of human diseases, such as cancer and microbial infections.

Synthesis and Catalysis

Our efforts are focused on the development of sustainable catalytic methods for transforming readily accessible substances into target-relevant products. We work mainly with Earth-abundant 3d metals (Mn, Fe, Ni, Cu) as catalysts for the functionalization of organic molecules.
Ongoing projects:
  • Replacing precious metal complexes that are typically used as catalysts for reduction reactions (hydrogenation, transfer hydrogenation, and hydrosilylation) with Earth-abundant metals such as iron, manganese, and nickel and using N-heterocyclic carbenes as ligands.
  • Converting CO2 into usable energy using cheap catalyst and readilyl accesible ligands
  • Synthesis of biologically relevant N-heterocycles through metal-catalysed borrowing hydrogen methods.

Biological Applications

We work on the development of metal complexes for their application as:


Ongoing projects:


  • Anticancer drugs. The goal is the development of anticancer metallodrugs that can overcome some of the drawbacks associated with the use of platinum drugs.                 
  • Antimicrobial agents. We develop new metal-based molecules as viable and useful anti-bacterial and antifungal agents.
  • Chemosensors. We develop metal complexes as chemosensors for the detection of important biological and environmental anions and cations.
Another project related to medicinal chemistry is Marine natural products. We work in the application of the Marine Natural Products as anti-cancer and anti Infectious diseases.

Selected Publications

Adv. Synth. Catal. 2020, 362, 2437-2443. S. C. A. Sousa, S. Realista, B. Royo.

Adv. Synth. Catal. 2012, 354, 2613-2618. L. Postigo, B. Royo.

Inorg. Chem. 2021, 60, 8011-8026. O. A. Lenis-Rojas, R. Cabral, B. Carvalho, S. Friães, C. Roma-Rodrigues, J. A. A. Fernandez, S. F. Vila, L. Sanchez, C. S. B. Gomes, A. R. Fernandes, B. Royo. 

Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2018, 57 (13), 4603-4606. Franco, M. Pinto, B. Royo, J. Lloret-Fillol. 

Organometallics 2010, 29, 2777. V.V. Krishna Mohan, J. M. S. Cardoso, E. Peris, B. Royo.