Dr Diego Montagner

Chemistry, Human Health Institute


Education House, North Campus
Upper Ground Floor
(01) 474 7510


2016 Lecturer in Chemistry, Department of Chemistry, Maynooth University, Ireland
2015 Lecturer in Chemistry   School of Chemistry, National University of Ireland, Galway
2013- 2014 Marie Curie Post-Doctoral fellow School of Chemistry, National University of Ireland, Galway
2012-2013 Post-Doctoral Fellow Chemistry Department, National University of Singapore, Singapore
2011 Visiting Scientist School of Chemistry, National University of Ireland, Galway
2009-2010 Visiting Scientist Inorganic Chemistry Department, Dortmund University, Germany
2008 PhD in Chemistry University of Padua,  Italy

Research Interests

My research is inserted in the big area of Bioinorganic Chemistry and it is placed at the interface between inorganic/medicinal chemistry and biology.
It is focused on the development of new metal based drugs
that could be selectively delivered and accumulated into the tumor cell and that interact with biologically-relevant macromolecules with different mechanism of action.

In particular we are interested in:
1) Pt(IV) prodrug complexes with targeted axial ligands;
2) Cu(II) complexes that interact with the DNA via different pathways;
3) Au(I) carbene complexes as antimicrobial compunds;
4) metal based complexes (Cu(II), Zn(II), Fe(III)) that act as metallo-nuclease enzymes;
5) Nanoplatform as delivery systems for drugs

In our lab we design, synthetise and characterise with different spectroscopic techniques (multinuclear NMR, Mass, IR, UV, HPLC, AA) the metal based complexes.
In combination with our national and international collaborators we will study and speculate on the mode of action, interaction with biomolecules and cytotoxic activity of the new metal-based drugs.

Research Projects

Title Role Description Start date End date Amount
STRIKE: Comprehensive STRategIes to tacKlE malignant tumors: from nanomedicine and theranostics to precision medicine PI STRIKE-DN will raise excellence in research and training in nanomedicine/precision medicine creating new generation of entrepreneurial and innovative multidisciplinary doctoral candidates. New experimental aspects on design and synthesis of nanostructured magnetic materials will be applied to the development of innovative magnetic field-responsive nanotherapeutics for osteosarcoma (OS) combinational therapy. Moreover, the peculiar features of STRIKE nanomaterials will be exploited for liquid biopsy using biological samples of BRCA+ breast cancer (BC) patients. The cooperation among outstanding universities, research institutes and industries will provide the DCs with trans-national exchanges and the most innovative research trainings in novel anticancer therapeutic strategies, including in vivo biological evaluation, imaging in OS and early diagnosis in BC. STRIKE will provide enhanced career perspectives in academic and non-academic sectors for 8 DCs in highly innovative fields by interdisciplinary mobility among 12 institutes/companies in 8 EU countries. STRIKE aims to: 1) develop 8 highly skilled employable doctoral candidates; 2) enhance interdisciplinary capacity and cooperation within the EU nanomedicine and precision medicine research networks; 3) strengthen EU’s competitiveness and growth in nanomedicine and precision medicine through the translation of the consortium research/innovation outputs. The consortium will fulfill its goals through: a) achieving research excellence; b) providing a complete cutting edge research and innovation training program with some of the European top research institutes and industry partners; c) hosting interdisciplinary and commercial workshops, seminars and outreach events; d) maximizing knowledge transfer using Open Science and patents; e) delivering highly trained professionals, whose profiles fit within the requirements of academia, industry and public/private institutions, fostering their employability and promoting the innovation of EU research. 01/01/2023 31/12/2026 2106835.2
Advanced hybrid theranostic nanoplatforms for an active drug delivery in the cancer treatment PI 01/01/2021 31/12/2023 184484
Darren Beirne- Combination chemotherapy: a modern approach to target colorectal cancer with dualaction Tyrosine Kinase inhibitor-Pt(IV) based drugs PI Platinum complexes as anticancer drugs (i.e. cisplatin, carboplatin, oxalilplatin) were discovered in the 1970s and, they have been approved and are worldwide used to treat a variety of tumours. Their activity is limited by dose-dependent side effects (nephro-, neuro- and ototoxicity) and the lack of selectivity toward cancer tissue with respect to healthy cells remains one of the major drawbacks. Combination chemotherapy is a burgeoning strategy that consists of combining in the same molecule two different drugs with two different mechanisms of action that can operate simultaneously, targeting different features on the cancer cell. Tyrosine kinases (TK) are promising targets in oncology and play a major role in cell regulation pathways (e.g. metabolism, transcription, cell division and programmed cell death) and TK deregulation is often related to cancer onset. Several TK play a critical role in the growth and metastasis of colorectal cancers that are among the most common tumours in Ireland (ranked third among the most common cancers in 2018 from National Cancer Registry Ireland). Currently, the activity of platinum-based drugs against these tumours, is limited because resistance is often aquired after few chemotherapeutic cycles. The aim of this project is to exploit the combination chemotherapy strategy to develop new drugs that will target colorectal cancer, combining in one unique molecule, the DNA damaging activity of platinum with TK inhibitors. Imatinib and nilotinib are known TKs inhibitors and are FDA approved to treat solid tumors, such as gastrointestinal stromal cancer. The two active components (platinum(II) and TK inhibitor) will be released simultaneously upon intracellular reduction, and will work in cooperation to increase the overall anticancer efficacy, in particular toward the digestive system tumours. The developing of effective chemotheraputic agents against colorectal cancers, could have very important impact on the Irish society, with almost 3000 people diagnosed every year. 01/10/2020 30/09/2024 112250
STRIKE PI 01/01/2023 31/12/2026 281488

Post Doctoral Fellows / Research Team

Researcher Name Project Funding Body
María Galiana Cameo NANO4TARMED

Peer Reviewed Journal

Year Publication
2022 Giusto E.; Žárská L.; Beirne D.F.; Rossi A.; Bassi G.; Ruffini A.; Montesi M.; Montagner D.; Ranc V.; Panseri S. (2022) 'Graphene Oxide Nanoplatforms to Enhance Cisplatin-Based Drug Delivery in Anticancer Therapy'. Journal of Nanomaterials, 12 (14). [DOI]
2021 Moynihan E.; Bassi G.; Ruffini A.; Panseri S.; Montesi M.; Velasco-Torrijos T.; Montagner D. (2021) 'Click Pt(IV)-Carbohydrates Pro-Drugs for Treatment of Osteosarcoma'. Frontiers In Chemistry, 9 . [DOI] [Full-Text]
2020 Almotairy A.R.Z.; Montagner D.; Morrison L.; Devereux M.; Howe O.; Erxleben A. (2020) 'Pt(IV) pro-drugs with an axial HDAC inhibitor demonstrate multimodal mechanisms involving DNA damage and apoptosis independent of cisplatin resistance in A2780/A2780cis cells'. Journal of Inorganic Biochemistry, 210 . [DOI] [Full-Text]
2020 Tonoyan L; Montagner D; Friel R; O'Flaherty V; (2020) 'Antimicrobials offered from nature: Peroxidase-catalyzed systems and their mimics'. Biochemical Pharmacology, . [DOI] [Full-Text]
2019 Barrett, S; De Franco, M; Kellett, A; Dempsey, E; Marzano, C; Erxleben, A; Gandin, V; Montagner, D (2019) 'Anticancer activity, DNA binding and cell mechanistic studies of estrogen-functionalised Cu(II) complexes'. Journal of Biological Inorganic Chemistry, . [DOI] [Full-Text]
2019 Tolan D.; Almotairy A.; Howe O.; Devereux M.; Montagner D.; Erxleben A. (2019) 'Cytotoxicity and ROS production of novel Pt(IV)oxaliplatin derivatives with indole propionic acid'. Inorganica Chimica Acta, 492 :262-267. [DOI] [Full-Text]
2019 D'Arcy K.; Doyle A.; Kavanagh K.; Ronconi L.; Fresch B.; Montagner D. (2019) 'Stability of antibacterial Te(IV)compounds: A combined experimental and computational study'. Journal of Inorganic Biochemistry, 198 . [DOI] [Full-Text]
2019 Kitteringham E.; Andriollo E.; Gandin V.; Montagner D.; Griffith D. (2019) 'Synthesis, characterisation and in vitro antitumour potential of novel Pt(II) estrogen linked complexes'. Inorganica Chimica Acta, 495 . [DOI] [Full-Text]
2018 Montagner D.; Tolan D.; Andriollo E.; Gandin V.; Marzano C. (2018) 'A Pt(IV) prodrug combining chlorambucil and cisplatin: A dual-acting weapon for targeting DNA in cancer cells'. International Journal of Molecular Sciences, 19 (12). [DOI] [Full-Text]
2018 Barrett S.; Delaney S.; Kavanagh K.; Montagner D. (2018) 'Evaluation of in vitro and in vivo antibacterial activity of novel Cu(II)-steroid complexes'. Inorganica Chimica Acta, 479 :261-265. [DOI] [Full-Text]
2018 Daniele Lo Re, Diego Montagner*, Dina Tolan, Di Sanza, Mar Iglesias, A. Calon, E. Giralt (2018) 'Increased immune cell infiltration in patient-derived tumor explants treated with Traniplatin: an original Pt(IV) pro-drug based on Cisplatin and Tranilas'. Chemical Communications, . [DOI]
2018 Diego Montagner*, Keefe Guang Zhi Lee, Maria Babak, Andrea Weiss, Paul Dyson, Patrycja Novak-Slowinska, Wee han Ang (2018) 'Development of an Efficient Dual‐action GST‐inhibiting Anticancer Platinum(IV) Prodrug'. ChemMedChem, . https://doi.org/10.1002/cmdc.201800105 [Full-Text]
2018 Molphy Z; Montagner D; Bhat SS; Slator C; Long C; Erxleben A; Kellett A; (2018) 'A phosphate-targeted dinuclear Cu(II) complex combining major groove binding and oxidative DNA cleavage'. Nucleic Acids Research, . [DOI] [Full-Text]
2018 Pettenuzzo A.; Montagner D.; McArdle P.; Ronconi L. (2018) 'An innovative and efficient route to the synthesis of metal-based glycoconjugates: proof-of-concept and potential applications'. Dalton Transactions, 47 (31):10721-10736. [DOI] [Full-Text]
2017 Velle', Maguire, Kavanagh, Sanz Miguel, Montagner* (2017) 'Steroid-Au(I)-NHC Complexes: Synthesis and Antibacterial Activity'. ChemMedChem, 12 :841-844. [DOI] [Full-Text]
2017 Almotairy, Gandin, Morrison, Marzano, Erxleben and Montagner* (2017) 'Antitumor platinum(IV) derivatives of carboplatin and the histone deacetylase inhibitor 4-phenylbutyric acid'. JOURNAL OF INORGANIC BIOCHEMISTRY   , 177 :1-7. [DOI] [Full-Text]
2017 Montagner D.; Fresch B.; Browne K.; Gandin V.; Erxleben A. (2017) 'A Cu(ii) complex targeting the translocator protein: in vitro and in vivo antitumor potential and mechanistic insights'. Chemical Communications, 53 (1):134-137. [DOI] [Full-Text]
2017 Montagner Diego, A. Erxleben, P. Sanz Miguel, K. Kavanagh, A. Kellett (2017) 'Estrogen functionalised metal complexes: selective anticancer and antibacterial activity'. Journal of Biological Inorganic Chemistry, 22 (Suppl 1). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00775-017-1475-y [Full-Text]
2016 Pinheiro Araujo, Gandin, Kavanagh, Braude, Nodari, Montagner,* Erxleben (2016) 'DNA binding, cleavage and cytotoxicity of a novel dimetallic Fe(III) triaza-cyclononane complex'. INORGANICA CHIMICA ACTA , 142 :170-175. [DOI] [Full-Text]
2016 Tolan D.; Gandin V.; Morrison L.; El-Nahas A.; Marzano C.; Montagner D.; Erxleben A. (2016) 'Oxidative Stress Induced by Pt(IV) Pro-drugs Based on the Cisplatin Scaffold and Indole Carboxylic Acids in Axial Position'. Scientific Reports, 6 . [DOI] [Full-Text]
2015 Montagner, Gandin, Marzano, Erxleben (2015) 'DNA damage and induction of apoptosis in pancreatic cancer cells by a new dinuclear bis(triazacyclonane) copper complex'. JOURNAL OF INORGANIC BIOCHEMISTRY   , 145 :101-107. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jinorgbio.2015.01.013 [Full-Text]
2014 Montagner,* Gandin, Marzano, Erxleben (2014) 'Phosphate Diester Cleavage, DNA Interaction and Cytotoxic Activity of a Bimetallic Bis(1,4,7-triazacyclononane) Zn Complex'. European Journal of Inorganic Chemistry, :4084-4092. [DOI] [Full-Text]
2014 Ang, Montagner, Siew Qi (2014) 'Investigating Cell Entry of Cisplatin and Anticancer Platinum(IV) Prodrugs Using Fluorescence Microscopy'. Journal of Biological Inorganic Chemistry, 19 :194-194. [Full-Text]
2014 Erxleben, Montagner, Gandin (2014) 'DNA cleavage ability and cytotoxicity of mono- and di-nuclear copper complexes'. Journal of Biological Inorganic Chemistry, 19 :733-733. [Full-Text]
2013 Montagner Diego, Yap Siew Qi, Wee Han Ang. (2013) 'A Fluorescent Probe for Investigating the Activation of Anticancer Platinum(IV) Prodrugs Based on the Cisplatin Scaffold'. ANGEWANDTE CHEMIE-INTERNATIONAL EDITION IN ENGLISH, 52 :11785-11789. [Full-Text]
2011 Montagner,* Zangrando, Borsato, Lucchini, Longato (2011) 'Metal-promoted synthesis of amidines containing the model nucleobases 1-methylcytosine and 9-methyladenine'. Dalton Transactions, 40 :8664-8674. [DOI] [Full-Text]
2011 Wenisch, Montagner, Helm, Tondello, Gross (2011) 'Pt(II) and Pd(II) Pyrrolidine-Dithiocarbamates Investigated by XPS'. Surface Science Spectra, 18 :82-90. http://dx.doi.org/10.1116/11.20091201 [Full-Text]
2011 Montagner,* Sanz Miguel (2011) 'Unique Pt5 metallacycle: [PtIICl(pyrrolidinedithiocarbamate)]5'. Dalton Transactions, 40 :10809-10811. [DOI] [Full-Text]
2011 Montagner,* Marzano, gandin (2011) 'Synthesis, characterization and cytotoxic activity of palladium (II) dithiocarbamate complexes with ,-diamines'. INORGANICA CHIMICA ACTA , 376 :574-580. [DOI] [Full-Text]
2011 Montagner Diego, Gandin Valentina, Marzano Cristina, Longato Bruno (2011) 'Synthesis, characterization and cytotoxic properties of platinum(II) complexes containing the nucleosides adenosine and cytidine'. Journal of Inorganic Biochemistry, 105 :919-926. [Full-Text]
2010 Montagner, Venzi, Zangrando, Longato (2010) 'Irreversibile Insertion of Benzonitrile into Platinum(II)-Nitrogen Bonds of Nucleobase Complexes. Synthesis and Structural Characterization of Stable Azametallacycle Compounds'. Inorganic Chemistry, 49 :2013-2019. [DOI] [Full-Text]
2009 Longato, Montagner, Zangrando (2009) 'Role of the ancillary ligands on the stabilisation of the imino-oxo tautomer of 1-methylcytosine in PtII complexes'. Dalton Transactions, :2400-2405. [DOI] [Full-Text]
2009 Montagner, Zangrando, Longato (2009) 'Stabilisation of the iminooxo tautomer of 1-Methylcytosine in PtII complexes: Role of the ancillary ligands'. INORGANICA CHIMICA ACTA , 362 :725-732. [DOI] [Full-Text]
2008 Montagner, Zangrando, Longato (2008) 'Role of the Phosphine Ligands on the Stabilization of Monoadducts of the Model Nucleobases 1-Methylcytosine and 9-Methylguanine in Platinum(II) Complexes'. Inorganic Chemistry, 47 :2588-2595. [DOI] [Full-Text]
2008 Montagner,* Longato (2008) 'Synthesis and characterization of cis-[(PPh3)2Pt{9-MeAd(-H)N6N7}]X (X- = NO3, PF6): the first example of a Platinum(II) complex containing the N6,N7-chelated 9-methyladenine anion'. INORGANICA CHIMICA ACTA , 361 :1676-1680. [DOI] [Full-Text]
2006 Longato, Montagner, Bandoli, Zangrando (2006) 'Platinum(II)-Mediated Coupling Reactions of Acetonitrile with the Exocyclic Nitrogen of 9-Methyladenine and 1-Methylcytosine. Synthesis, NMR Characterization and X-ray Structures of NewAzametallacycle Complexes'. Inorganic Chemistry, 45 :1805-1814. [DOI] [Full-Text]
2006 Longato, Montagner, Zangrando (2006) 'Mono- and Polynuclear Complexes of the Model Nucleobase 1-Methylcytosine. Synthesis and Characterization of cis-[(PMe2Ph)2Pt{1-MeCy(- H)}]3(NO3)3 and cis-[(PPh3)2Pt{1-MeCy(-H)}(1-MeCy)]NO3'. Inorganic Chemistry, 45 :8179-8187. [DOI]
2005 Faraglia, Sitran, Montagner (2005) 'Pyrrolidine dithiocarbamates of Pd(II)'. INORGANICA CHIMICA ACTA , 358 :971-980. [DOI] [Full-Text]
2023 D’Arcy, K.; Schäfer, T.; De Franco, M.; Ricco, R.; Gandin, V.; Sanz Miguel, P.J.; Montagner, D. (2023) 'Unusual tellurium(iv) mediated cyclisation diols into dihydroxazoles with potential anticancer activity'. New Journal of Chemistry, . [Link] [DOI]
2023 Beirne, Farkas, Donati, Gandin, Rozas, Velasco-Torrijos, Montagner (2023) 'Novel design of dual-action Pt(iv) anticancer pro-drugs based on cisplatin and derivatives of the tyrosine kinase inhibitors imatinib and nilotinib'. Dalton Transactions, 52 :14110-14122. https://doi-org.may.idm.oclc.org/10.1039/D3DT02030D
2023 Moynihan, E.; Panseri, S.; Bassi, G.; Rossi, A.; Campodoni, E.; Dempsey, E.; Montesi, M.; Velasco-Torrijos, T.; Montagner, D. (2023) 'Development of Novel Pt(IV)-Carbohydrate Derivatives as Targeted Anticancer Agents against Osteosarcoma'. International Journal of Molecular Sciences, 24 . [Link] [DOI]
2023 Barrett, S.; De Franco, M.; Donati, C.; Marzano, C.; Gandin, V.; Montagner, D. (2023) 'Novel Biotinylated Cu(II)-Phenanthroline Complexes: 2D and 3D Cytotoxic Activity and Mechanistic Insight'. Molecules (Basel, Switzerland), 28 . [Link] [DOI]
2022 Beirne D.F.; Dalla Via M.; Velasco-Torrijos T.; Montagner D. (2022) 'Metal-Tyrosine Kinase Inhibitors: Targeted metal-drug conjugates'. Coordination Chemistry Reviews, 469 . [DOI]
Certain data included herein are derived from the © Web of Science (2024) of Clarivate. All rights reserved.

Professional Associations

Description Function From / To
Royal Society of Chemistry member -
IBICS Irish Biological Inorganic Chemistry Society Treasurer -
SBIC Society of Biological Inorganic Chemistry member -
Italian Chemistry Society member -

Honors and Awards

Date Title Awarding Body
01/08/2014 Best Oral presentation EUROBIC12 Society of Bioinorganic Chemistry
01/06/2013 Marie Curie Post Doc Fellowship EU FP7


Committee Function From / To
Department of Chemistry, Synthetic lab committee member 01/09/2018 - 30/11/2020
Athena Swan Post graduate committee Chair 01/10/2021 -
Campus Life Committee Member 01/09/2019 - 31/08/2022
Faculty Science Research Committee Member 01/09/2019 - 31/08/2022
Department of Chemistry Teaching and Learning Committee Chair 01/09/2018 - 23/11/2020


Employer Position From / To
Maynooth University Lecturer 01/01/2016 -
National Unibversity of Ireland Galway Assistant Lecturer 01/01/2015 - 31/12/2015


Language Reading Writing Speaking
Italian Fluent Fluent Fluent
German Functional Functional Functional
Spanish Fluent Fluent Fluent
English Fluent Fluent Fluent

Editorial / Academic Reviews

Amount Role From / To
Inorganica Chimica Acta Reviewer -
Inorganic Chemistry Reviewer -
Scientific Reports Reviewer -
Frontiers In Chemistry Reviewer -
Anti-Cancer Agents in Medicinal Chemistry Reviewer -
Journal of Biological Inorganic Chemistry Reviewer -
Applied Organometallic Chemistry Reviewer -
Chemical Communications Reviewer -
Journal of Inorganic Biochemistry Reviewer -
Cancers Reviewer -
Dalton Transactions Reviewer -
Molecules Referee -
European Journal of Inorganic Chemistry Reviewer -
BioMetals Reviewer -

Outreach Activities

Organisation Type Description
Maynooth university Science Week Civic Society Science week demonstrator
Maynooth university Civic Society Postgraduate Open day and undergraduate Open days

Teaching Interests

CH224 Inorganic Chemistry: Coordination and "s"-block chemistry (Coordinator)
CH322 Inorganic Chemistry: Solid state and "p"-block chemistry
CH331 Transition Metal chemistry (Coordinator)
CH427 Bioinorganic and "f"-block chemistry (Coordinator)
CH207/CH415 Biochemical Pharmaceutical Workshops

Current Students

Student Name Degree Supervision

Recent Students

Graduation date Name Degree
2021 Stephen Barrett BA (mod) Chemistry
2020 Kenneth D'Arcy Master of Science

Internal Collaborators

Name Company Role Country
Kevin Kavanagh Biology department NUIM Ireland
Eithne Dempsey Maynooth university Ireland

External Collaborators

Name Role Country
Andrea Erxleben Ireland
Ranc Vaclav Czech Republic
Valentina Gandin Italy
Pablo Sanz Miguel Spain
Daniele Lo Re Spain
Andrew Kellett Ireland
Silvia Panseri Italy
Ang Wee Han Singapore
Barbara Fresch Italy