Miquel Costas

Biologically inspired design of transition metal reactivity and catalysis

Contact info:
Dr. Miquel Costas
Tel. (+34) 972 41 98 42


Selected publications

Margarida Borrell, Erik Andris, Rafael Navrátil, Jana Roithová, Miquel Costas
Characterized cis-FeV(O)(OH) intermediate mimics enzymatic oxidations in the gas phase
Nat Commun, 2019, 10, 10:901
DOI: 10.1038/s41467-019-08668-2

Alberto Hernán-Gómez, Mònica Rodríguez, Teodor Parella, Miquel Costas
Electrophilic Iron Catalyst Paired with a Lithium Cation Enables Selective Functionalization of Non-Activated Aliphatic C?H Bonds via Metallocarbene Intermediates
Angew. Chem. Int. Ed., 2019, 58, 13904-13911
DOI: 10.1002/anie.201905986

Valeria Dantignana, Joan Serrano-Plana, Apparao Draksharapu, Carla Magallón, Saikat Banerjee, Ruixi Fan, Ilaria Gamba, Yisong Guo, Lawrence Que, Miquel Costas, Anna Company
Spectroscopic and reactivity comparisons between nonheme oxoiron(IV) and oxoiron(V) species bearing the same ancillary ligand
J. Am. Chem. Soc., 2019, 141, 15078-15091
DOI: 10.1021/jacs.9b05758

Zoel Codolà, Ilaria Gamba, Ferran Acuña-Parés, Carla Casadevall, Martin Clémancey, Jean-Marc Latour, Josep M. Luis, Julio Lloret-Fillol, Miquel Costas
Design of Iron Coordination Complexes as Highly Active Homogenous Water Oxidation Catalysts by Deuteration of Oxidation-Sensitive Sites
J. Am. Chem. Soc., 2019, 141, 323-333
DOI: 10.1021/jacs.8b10211

Michela Milan, Michela Salamone, Miquel Costas, Massimo Bietti
The Quest for Selectivity in Hydrogen Atom Transfer Based Aliphatic C–H Bond Oxygenation
Acc. Chem. Res., 2018, 51, 1984-1995
DOI: 10.1021/acs.accounts.8b00231

+ Publications

Dr. Miquel Costas

Miquel Costas graduated in Chemistry at the University of Girona (UdG) in 1994, where he also pursued PhD studies in the group of Prof. A. Llobet. Research work during the PhD involved scientific stays at Texas A&M with Prof DHR Barton (1996), and in Basel with Prof. A. Zuberbüehler (1998). After his PhD dissertation, he moved to the group of Prof. L. Que, Jr, at the U. of Minnesota. In 2002 he returned to the Dept. of Chemistry of UdG with a Ramon I Cajal Fellowship, and in 2003 he was appointed professor Titular of Inorganic chemistry. In 2006 he initiated his independent career as a group leader in QBIS-CAT (www.udg.edu/qbis). He is being visiting scientist at Carneggie Mellon University (2005 with Prof. E. Münck) and Debye Institute invited professor at the University of Utrecht (2014). In 2008 he received an ICREA Academia Award, and an ERC Starting Grant. In 2014 he received the Award of the Spanish Royal Scociety of Chemistry to excellence in research. He’s coauthored over one hundred publications in international journals, and several book chapters.

Research overview

Research interests in my research team are broad and lay at the interphase of synthetic organic chemistry, coordination chemistry and catalysis. We have a strong background in the use of rationally designed coordination complexes as tools for synthetic organic chemistry. We strongly believe that coordination complexes based in first row transition metals have the potential not only to offer more sustainable catalytic methodologies than traditional transformations based in novel metals, but most importantly can also provide solutions to standing chemical problems in synthetic organic chemistry. Specifically, we focus in the development of small molecule catalyst for site chemo and enantioselective C-H and C=C functionalization by means of oxygen, nitrogen and carbon transfer. Effort is placed in the rational design of the catalysts by manipulating electronic properties of the metal center, the sterics in the first coordination sphere and supramolecular interactions in the second coordination sphere. Interest is also devoted to the identification of reactive intermediates operating in these reactions.

Functional models of non-hemo Cu, Mn and Fe oxygenases

In this research line selective oxidation of C-H and C=C bonds is targeted in this research line via design of iron and manganese catalysts inspired in the active site of non-heme oxygenases, which could operate via activation of oxidants with high atom efficiency and low environmental impact. Elements to control regio, chemo and stereoselectivity are investigated. Selectivity is pursued via rational design of catalysts that exploit substrate recognition-exclusion phenomena, and control over proton and electron affinity of the active species. The fundamental mechanistic aspects are also studied with the aim of designing the catalysts of the future, and understanding the chemistry taking place in non-heme iron and manganese-dependent oxygenases. Fundamental basis to control formation of the O-O bond via oxidation of the water molecule by well-defined high valent metal-oxo species is also pursued.
An additional goal of is to prepare and characterize non porphyrinic iron and manganese complexes with high oxidation states. Understanding the chemistry of high valent metal-oxo species is fundamentally interesting because of their relevance in biology and in challenging catalytic oxidation reactions including C-H hydroxylation and O-O bond formation.


Self-assembly of coordination driven supramolecular nanocages and nanoreactors. (in collaboration with Xavi Ribas)

Supramolecular metal-driven self-assembly is a very powerful method for the rational design of supramolecular entities exhibiting a variety of bi- and tri-dimensional geometric organizations, with potential applications as chemical sensors and reaction nanovessels. Along this strategy, we have been able to synthesize a variety of structures that include molecular nanosized squares and rectangles, helicates and trigonal and tetragonal prismatic nanocapsules. Our strategy consists in the self-assembly of hexaazamacrocyclic dimetallic (Cu or Pd) molecular clips with polycarboxylate linkers to construct capsule-like compounds with selective host-guest properties to encapsulate a variety of molecules including fullerenes. Furthermore, we are interested in the use these cages as nanoreactors.



Principal Investigator

Miquel Costas

Prof. Titular

Staff and Postdocs

Mònica Rodríguez


- M. Costas

PhD and MACMoM students

Andrea Palone

PhD Student (FPI)

- M. Costas
- M. Bietti (Univ. of Rome Tor Vergata, Italy)

Carles Fuertes

PhD student

- M. Costas
- X. Ribas

Daniel Villá

PhD student (DI)

- M. Costas
- Concentrol

Laia Vicens

PhD student (FPU)

- M. Costas

Marco Cianfanelli

PhD student (MSCA ITN)

- M. Costas
- X. Ribas

Margarida Borrell

PhD student (FPI)

- M. Costas

Najoua Choukari

PhD Student

- M. Costas
- W. Browne (Univ. Groningen, The Netherlands)

Valeria Dantignana

PhD student (MSCA ITN)

- A. Company
- M. Costas

Joel Nadal

PhD Student (FI)

- M. Costas


ERC Advanced Grants

Project: Enantioselective C-H Oxidation Guided by Rational Catalyst Design
Researcher: Dr. Miquel Costas
Reference: ERC-2019-AdG-883922
Funding: 2.500.000 €
Period: 2020 – 2024

MCIU Proyectos I+D.

Project: Catálisis de oxidación bioinspirada mediante diseño racional de cataliadores
Researcher: Dr. Miquel Costas
Reference: PGC2018-101737-B-100
Funding: 242.000 €
Period: 01/01/2019 – 31/12/2021

ICREA. Academia award.

Project: Programa ICREA Acadèmia 2018
Researcher: Dr. Miquel Costas
Reference: ICREA Acadèmia 2018
Funding: 205.000 €
Period: 01/01/2019 – 31/12/2023


Miquel Costas elected as new Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry

Miquel Costas has recently been selected as a Fellow of the Royal Society

Dynamic reconstruction of fullerene encapsulation into an adaptable supramolecular nanocapsule

The dynamic adaptability of a supramolecular tetragonal prismatic nanocapsule in the selective separation

PhD defense Adrià López

Tomorrow (28th of July, 12h, Sala de Graus, Facultat de Ciències) will take

Rational Design of Bioinspired Catalysts for Selective Oxidations

The ubiquity and relevance of oxygenated motifs in biologically active compounds calls for