Luis Castedo

Luis Castedo

Luis Castedo, Professor ad honorem of Organic Chemistry at the Universidade de Santiago de Compostela (USC), has been a key figure during the first years of the Department of Organic Chemistry of the Universidad del Pais Vasco, and the main promoter of the Department of Organic Chemistry of the USC. His philosophy of work has always been driven to achieve the highest scientific quality; a philosophy that was able to transmit to several generations of Spanish chemists. This way of understanding science is surely the fundamental pillar of the actual Organic Chemistry Department, as he likes to say ….“the Galician school of organic chemistry”. In his long and brilliant scientific and academic career of more than 35 years in USC, he has contributed in a very remarkable way to promote the University and R&D Systems of Galicia and to push Organic Chemistry in Spain.

After studying Chemistry at USC, Luis Castedo began his interest in science under the expert baton of one of the most emblematic and illustrious figures of the USC, Prof. Ignacio Ribas Marqués, performing the Doctoral Thesis under his direction. He studied the isolation and synthesis of diverse alkaloids. Next, he moved to the University of Cambridge (UK) for a three-year postdoctoral studies in the laboratories of the Nobel Prize in Chemistry, Lord Todd, under the immediate supervision of one of the top experts in the total synthesis of alkaloids, Dr. John Harley-Mason, which allowed him to complete his scientific training in this area. On his return to Santiago de Compostela, he joined Prof. Ribas' group again, with whom he collaborated for about two and a half years, until May 1972, when he was appointed as professor of biological organic chemistry at the Basque Country University (Bilbao), creating a very active research group there. Three years later, in 1975, Prof. Castedo returned to USC as professor of organic chemistry, creating one of the most dynamic and prestigious research groups at this university. In the USC he was also the Head of the department of organic chemistry from 1975 to 1981 and the dean of the Faculty of Chemistry from 1981 to 1986.

From his initial investigations in the alkaloid field, which were widely recognized, he was then involved in research towards the development of new efficient synthetic methodologies. In the last few years he has also collaborated in new projects at the frontier between Chemistry and Biology. Along his career, he has supervised 80 PhD students, as well as many undergraduate and postdoctoral researchers. A large number of his former coworkers have now prominent positions of high responsibility at different universities, research institutions and companies, in Spain and elsewhere, something he is very proud of. He is coauthor of almost 500 publications in diverse well-ranked peer-reviewed international journals; something that has contributed to expand the prestige of our University around the world. He is also author of several book chapters and five patents.

His scientific excellence was recognized with several national and international awards such as the Galicia Prize for Scientific and Technical Research (2003), which is the highest scientific recognition awarded by the galician government, the Research Prize of the Royal Spanish Society of Chemistry (RSEQ), the GEPRONAT Prize 2012 for the excellence in chemistry research of natural products, and a Silver Medal from the Institute of Chemistry of Natural Substances (CNRS) (Gif-Sur-Yvette, France), as well as a Medal of Honor from the University Institute "Antonio González" at the University of La Laguna (Tenerife). In 2009, he was awarded an honorary doctorate by the Basque Country University.

Prof. Castedo has also delivered many invited conferences in different international congresses, Universities and other research centers in Europe, Asia and America, including such important centers as the NIH of Bethesda and The Scripps Research Institute (California) and the Universities of Berkeley, Columbia, Duke, Virginia, Colorado, Irvine, Texas A & M (College Station), Riverside and Sta. Cruz in the USA, Munich, Berlin TU, Göttingen and Wüzburg in Germany, Amsterdan and Gröningen in the Netherlands, Upsala in Sweden, Paris-Sud and the ICSN (CNRS) in France, Buenos Aires in Argentina, Bogotá (Nacional) and Cartagena de Indias in Colombia, Santiago de Chile, Magallanes, Antofagasta and la Serena in Chile, Universidad Autónoma del Estado de Hidalgo, UNAM, IPN, Escuela Nacional de Ciencias Biológicas and Universidad Michoacana de San Nicolás de Hidalgo in Mexico, Gante in Belgium, Aveiro in Portugal, Reading in UK and Limerick, Cork, Galway and University College Dublin in Ireland. He has been also very active in the organization of scientific congresses held in Galicia, either international or national ones. He was also the president of the Organic Chemistry group of the Spanish Royal Society of Chemistry (RSEQ) and member of several national and foreign scientific societies.

Along his professional career, Prof. Castedo has also played a relevant role in public management, since he was the General Director of Universities and Research for the Galician government between 1986 and 1990, actively participating in the creation of the Universities of A Coruña and Vigo.