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Beatriz Royo Lab


The Organometallic Catalysis Group works on the synthesis of organometallic 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.

Beatriz Royo
Investigador Principal
PhD in 1993, Sussex University

Scopus Author ID: 6602728964

Researcher ID: B-6992-2008

ORCID: 0000-0002-7909-9992

Phone (+351) 214469754 | Extension 1754
Email | Lab website


Research Interests

Our research activities are mainly focused in two areas:

1. Development of catalytic systems using Earth-abundant 3d metals

The development of sustainable, more efficient, and selective organic synthesis is one of the fundamental research goals in chemistry. In this respect, catalysis is a key technology, since the majority of chemical and pharmaceutical products are made by catalysts. We are developing new catalytic systems using Earth-abundant 3d metals (Mn, Fe, Ni) and simple ligand systems for their application in a variety of catalytic reactions including, hydrosilylation, transfer hydrogenation, hydrogenation, oxidation of carbonyl groups, and CO2 activation. As an example, we have developed a new family of manganese complexes bearing N-heterocyclic carbenes that showed excellent efficiency in the electrocatalytic reduction of CO2 to CO. Our final goal is to contribute to green chemistry and sustainable development

2. Development of metal-based drugs

The development of drug-based metal-containing compounds offers many advantages due to the ability of metals to coordinate ligands in a three-dimensional configuration. This allows to build a wide variety of structures that can be designed for a defined molecular target. The oxidation state of the metal is also important in the design of coordination compounds, since it allows its participation in biological redox chemistry, and it plays an influential role in the optimal dose and bioavailability of the agent administered. In our group, we are developing new organometallic compounds with anticancer activity for the types of cancer that cause most deaths in the world such as ovarian, breast, colorectal, and prostate cancer, among others. The anticancer activity of the new complexes is evaluated in vitro and in vivo. In vitro, the activity is evaluated against specific human tumor cells, and in vivo using the zebrafish embryo model. We are also involved in the synthesis of new metal complexes, in particular Cu-, Ru-, and Mn-based compounds bearing N-heterocyclic carbene and/or azole ligands as antimicrobial agents.


Group Members

  • Luís Lima, Post-doc

  • Sara Realista, Post-doc

  • Oscar Lenis-Rojas, Post-doc

  • Sara Sousa, Post-doc

  • Sofia Friães, PhD student

  • Mara Pinto, PhD student

  • Carolina Godinho, Master student


Selected Publications

  1. (Di)Triazolylidene Manganese Complexes in Catalytic Oxidation of Alcohols to Ketones and Aldehydes, M. Pinto, M. Olivares, A. Vivancos,  G. Guisado-Barros, M. Albrecht, B. Royo, Catal. Sci. Technol. 2019, 9, 2421-2425.

  2. A Manganese N-Heterocyclic Carbene Catalyst for Reduction of Sulfoxides with Silanes, S. C. A. Sousa, C. J. Carrasco, M. Pinto, B. Royo, ChemCatChem 2019, 11, 3839-3843. Selected as a Very Important Paper (Cover journal).

  3. A Highly Active N-Heterocyclic Carbene Mn(I) Complex for Selective Electrocatalytic CO2 Reduction to CO, F. Franco, M. Pinto, B. Royo, J. Lloret-Fillol, Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2018, 57 (13), 4603-4606.

  4. Manganese N-Heterocyclic Carbene Complexes for Catalytic Reduction of Ketones with Silanes, M. Pinto, S. Friães, J. Lloret-Fillol, B. Royo, ChemCatChem 2018, 10 (13), 2734-2740. Selected as a Very Important Paper (Cover journal)

  5. RuII(p-cymene) Compounds as Effective and Selective Anticancer Candidates with No Toxicity in Vivo, O. A. Lenis-Rojas, M. P. Robalo, A. I. Tomaz, A. Carvalho, A. R. Fernandes, F. Marques, M. Folgueira, J. Yáñez, D. Vázquez-García, M. López Torres, A. Fernández, J. J. Fernández, Inorg. Chem. 2018, 57, 13150-13166.  


Laboratory's website

For further information please visit the laboratory's website


Catálise Organometálica (PT)

O desenvolvimento de novos catalisadores para a síntese de moléculas orgânicas tem um grande impacto na indústria farmacêutica e na química fina. Em particular, os catalisadores organometálicos permitem desenvolver processos muito eficientes e seletivos. O nosso grupo de investigação trabalha na síntese de compostos organometálicos baseados em metais abundantes na terra, baratos e no tóxicos (Mn, Fe, Ni) para sua aplicação como catalisadores em diversas reações químicas, tais como hidrosililação, transferência de hidrogénio, hidrogenação, oxidação de grupos carbonilo e ativação de CO2.

Nosso grupo trabalha também no desenvolvimento de novos compostos organometálicos com aplicações farmacológicas. Estamos a desenvolver complexos metálicos para o tratamento do cancro. A avaliação de suas atividades citotóxicas é feita in vitro (contra determinadas células tumorais humanas) e em vivo (usando o modelo de embrião de peixe-zebra). Também estamos envolvidos na síntese de complexos metálicos, em particular compostos de Cu, Mn, e Ru contendo ligandos carbenos N-heterocíclicos e/ou azole para sua aplicação como agentes antimicrobianos.


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