José Tormo (1960-2001)

José Tormo, who played a major role in the development of structural biology in Spain, died of cancer in Barcelona on June 21, 2001. He graduated in Biology from the U. of Barcelona and was the first to achieve a doctorate in Protein Crystallography in Spain. He spent eight years in postdoctoral positions: in the laboratories of T. Steiz (Yale, New Haven, USA), D. Stuart and Y. Jones (Oxford, UK) and R. A. Mariuzza (CARB, Rockville, USA). These postdoctoral years resulted in more than twenty five publications including two Nature papers of which he was first author. His main achievements were in the field of structural immunology with results such as the recognition of CD8 by MHCs that can be found in textbooks of the field.

José Tormo had a passion for research that allowed him to overcome the inertia of the Spanish academic system contributing decisively to prove, both to scientists and administrators alike, the need that the country had for crystallographic research in Structural Biology. He obtained a permanent position in the Spanish Research Council (CSIC) and, as a member of the National Center of Biotechnology (CNB), was initiating Protein Crystallography in the Madrid Autonomous U. (UAM). He was a remarkable young scientist communicating greatness and strength to all those who met him and had the privilege of working with him. His untimely passing will undoubtedly affect the future of structural biology in Spain.

Colleagues, collaborators and friends of José Tormo will gather at a scientific meeting honoring him on November 19-20th, 2001 at the CNB in Madrid. Information concerning his life achievements and the meeting can be found at

Ignacio Fita and Celerino Abad-Zapatero