Jan 12, 2011

In Memoriam of Prof. Rafael Suau

Last 11th December 2010, after a long fight against Cancer, our dear college and friend Prof. Rafael Suau died.

Prof. Suau studied Chemistry at the University of Santiago de Compostela (Spain). Then, he performed his PhD thesis in Organic Chemistry at the same University. After this period, he moved to Western Ontario University to carry out his post-doctoral studies under the supervision of Prof. Paul de Mayo. Was in de Mayo’s group were Prof. Suau discovered Photochemistry, one of the most important topics of his professional career.

During his Academic life he was Associate Professor at the University of Bilbao, Assistant Professor at the University of Santiago de Compostela. At University of Santiago de Compostela he also performed the position of Secretary, Vice-Dean of the Faculty and Head of the Organic Chemistry Department. After the experiences in the north of Spain, he moved to the University of Malaga as full Professor. During this stage he performed the position of Head of the Department of Organic Chemistry and Head of the Biochemistry, Molecular Biology and Organic Chemistry Department.

Prof. Suau has been a researcher in the area of the Organic Chemistry and a leader in the field of the Natural Products, working in the area of the isolation, characterization and synthesis of Isoquinilinic Alkaloids, development of new synthetics methodologies in Organic Photochemistry and in the chemical study of allergy, in particular with beta-lactamic antibiotics. During his career he participated in more 150 publications, was tutor in 30 PhD. Thesis and taught many courses and conferences.
One of the most important aspects of his career was the importance he gave to the transfer of knowledge and cooperation with companies. He collaborated to develop new methodology and research lines in the pharmaceutics and food sectors. In this last field, he performed the Direction of the Wine, Alcohol and Derivates Program of the Spanish government (Ministerio de Agricultura, Pesca y Alimentación and Centro de Inspección de Comercio Exterior); his lab was consider a control laboratory in consumer products.

He collaborated with the National Research Program in a continuous and intense way as member of the evaluation committee. Moreover, he participated as evaluator for many foreign and regional agencies. He was president of the CNEAI committee. Since 1975, he became member of the Spanish Royal Chemical Society (RSEQ), where he performed the position of Vice-President and President of the Photochemistry Section and, until last June, he was the President of the Organic Chemistry Section. In his office is easy to see a biographical sketch of the development of the Organic Chemistry in Spain during the last decades. You can also find more than 250 PhD thesis in which he participated as a dissertation committee member, invited by many national and international Universities.

Prof. Suau was also a good teacher, he dedicated a big part of his work teaching at the University of Málaga. He had the capacity to grow the interest for the organic chemistry to many students, for this was consider as an enthusiast Professor with a big capacity for the transfer of knowledge. Rafael Suau was a great teacher and researcher but, also, was a devoted person open to collaborate with many people and organizations. He was always ready to help, beyond the professional duties.

Prof. Rafael Suau, rest in peace with the certainty that your work, dedication and teaching has resulted in a life trajectory which will transcend in the actual and future generations of chemist.

Adapted from a letter written by Prof. Ezequiel Perez and translated by Dr. Reina-Martin and Dr. David Alcantara for The All Results Journals

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