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Overview of the research

       Research in the BioInorganic Chemistry and Peptide Design group incorporates different aspects of inorganic, biological and medicinal chemistry, with the main goal of designing, synthesizing and characterizing novel functional metallopeptides.


Metallopeptides for the removal of ROS.

       Oxidative stress results from an imbalance between the generation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) and antioxidant defense mechanisms. Superoxide radicals, formed following a one-electron reduction of molecular oxygen, are one of the most toxic ROS. Its damaging effects lead to a variety of detrimental health conditions including cardiovascular diseases, neurodegenerative disorders, and other types of age-related diseases. Inspired by the structure and function of natural superoxide dismutases, enzymes that catalyze the disproportionation of superoxide radicals to the less toxic molecular oxygen and hydrogen peroxide, we are developing metallopeptides for the removal of superoxide radicals. These novel metallopeptides will be valuable tools to test hypotheses about the role of superoxide radicals in cardiovascular diseases and neurodegenerative disorders and may have therapeutic potential.

Metallopeptide-based catalysts for oxidation/reduction reactions.

       The continuously increasing demand of the pharmaceutical and agrochemical industries for enantiomerically pure substances has driven the research in the area of homogeneous and enzymatic catalysis. Both type of catalysts have proven useful but still have limitations to achieve environmentally friendly and effective transformations. To overcome this, a new growing field in the area of bioinorganic chemistry has been the design of artificial metalloenzymes where catalytic metal complexes are incorporated into a protein environment. Alternatively, instead of using a protein framework, we are exploring the use of peptides to design a new generation of hybrid catalysts with novel reactivity and selectivity.



       The development of these multidisciplinary projects requires the synthesis, either chemical or biological, of small peptides, their characterization, the use of different spectroscopic methods to study metal binding and characterize the metal center, and kinetic studies to analyze the potential catalytic activity. Students in our group will therefore engage in inorganic and organic synthetic chemistry, solid-phase peptide synthesis, physical methods as well as molecular biology techniques. 




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