Rubén López García (1938-2022), CSIC Research Professor and group leader for many years at the Margarita Salas Biological Research Centre (CIB), of which he was also Vice-Director in the 1993-1996 period, passed away on 3rd June. Rubén was born in Puerto de la Cruz (Tenerife) and maintained this sentimental bond with his homeland throughout his life. He studied Biological Sciences at the Complutense University of Madrid and went on to receive a Ph. D. in 1966 from the same university with a Thesis entitled "Production of polysaccharides in azotobacteriaceae and its variations in the presence of antibiotics", which was supervised by Prof. Antonio Portolés, at the Jaime Ferrán Institute of Microbiology of the CIB.
After his stays at the Laboratory of Microbiology of the Agricultural University at Wageningen (The Netherlands) and at the Biological Chemistry Laboratory of the Istituto Superiore di Sanità at Rome, in November 1973 he moved to the laboratory of Prof. Alexander Tomasz at the Rockefeller University (RU; New York) where he carried out genetic transformation studies on Streptococcus pneumoniae (pneumococcus). On his return to Madrid in 1975, pneumococcus was the focus of his work until his retirement. Together with his wife, Dr. Concepción Ronda, who had participated in the isolation of the first lytic phage (virulent; Dp-1) of pneumococcus also in the RU, he began to develop a new line of research, pioneering in Spain, on lytic enzymes of the bacterial cell wall encoded by both pneumococcus and Dp-1 and other phages that were isolated and characterised in the following years.
Over time, new scientists joined the group - which has since become known as the "Rubenes" - and new lines of research on pneumococcus and other phylogenetically close streptococci were added. These included the characterisation of the genes involved in the biosynthesis of the capsular polysaccharide of S. pneumoniae and the use of the lytic enzymes encoded by phages (enzybiotics) in phage therapy, given the great increase in antimicrobial resistance in many strains of bacterial pathogens.
Overall, Rubén has co-authored more than 200 research papers published in the most prestigious scientific journals, as well as books and numerous communications to specialised meetings and symposia, as well as conferences in Spain and abroad. But in addition to this scientific facet, Rubén stood out above all for being a good, generous and conciliatory man. He was a laboratory manager dedicated and attentive not only to scientific issues but also to the concerns of the people in his group who, and this is very important, was able to win the admiration, friendship and affection of all of us who shared his company over many years.
Finally, with this brief note we would like to extend to his family, and in particular to his wife Conchita Ronda, our deepest condolences and our unconditional affection and support.
Ernesto García López y Pedro García González.