Ramos, Juan L.


Juan L. Ramos

He is a Full Professor at the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC). From October 2103 to September 2017 he was the Director of the Biotechnology program of Abengoa Research. He received the Prize King Jaime I for his achievement in environmental research and the Lowff medal of FEMS in 2013 for achievements in environmental microbiology. In 1978 he graduated from the University of Seville where he obtained his Bachelor’s Degree. In 1981 he was awarded his PhD with a thesis on The bioconversion of solar energy into chemical energy. He spent almost two years as a post-doctoral researcher at the Unit of Nitrogen Fixation in Brighton (UK), supported by an EMBO fellowship and over two years at the Department of Medical Biochemistry in Geneva (Switzerland), where he started working on the metabolism of aromatic hydrocarbons in Pseudomonas.

In 1987 he returned to Spain and was appointed Research Scientist at the CSIC-Estación Experimental del Zaidín (EEZ), in Granada where he has developed most of his scientific career with short stays in Germany (Braunschweig and Stuttgart) for additional training in chemistry and Copehaguen for training in Systems Biology. From 1990 to 1995 he was the Head of the Department of Plant Biochemistry and from 1997 to 2008 he was appointed Director of the CSIC-EEZ. Due to the dedication and vision of Prof. Ramos, this time was marked by a significant expansion of the institute’s infrastructures as well as growth in personnel. In this context Prof. Ramos inspired and promoted the construction of two additional research buildings, a modern lecture theatre and new greenhouses and enabled the recruitment of near 20 new staff scientists for the Institute. During his term as Director the Institute grew from 180 employees to near 350, what makes the EEZ the most important centre of the CSIC in the area of Agricultural Sciences and one of the most relevant in Environmental Sciences.

Research Lines: Prof. Ramos’s research has mainly focused on the physiology, genetics and molecular ecology of bacteria to understand their biodegradative properties and to exploit them in the removal of pollutants. Mentoring: Juan L. Ramos is founder and Head of the Research Group on the Degradation of Organic Toxics at the CSIC-EEZ in Granada. There are 15 staff members (scientists, technicians and a secretary) and almost 30 Masters, PhD and post-doc students in the group. Since Dr. Ramos joined the CSIC he has directed the thesis of 41 PhD students and supervised the work of almost 40 post-docs. Most of these students are now reputed scientists and hold important positions at the most prominent Universities and Research Institutions worldwide.

Grants: Over the last 10 years Juan L. Ramos has raised research funds superior to 10 millions Euros mainly through grants from national and regional governments, EU and private companies. Since 2008 he has coordinated one of the largest Spanish research grants on metagenomics within the CONSOLIDER-INGENIO programme involving over 70 scientists and managing a 4.000.000 € budget.

He has also coordinated two of the most important environmental research projects ever undertaken in Spain on the assessment of industrial pollution in the Bay of Huelva (2000-2005) and Campo de Gibraltar area (2004-2007). In 2004 he was awarded the Andalusia Prize for Environmental Achievements by the Regional Government of Huelva.

Publications: Juan L. Ramos has a wide experience as journals Editor in the area of Microbiology, including The Journal of Bacteriology (1998-2007), Environmental Microbiology (since 2007), Environmental Microbiology Reports (since its foundation in 2008) and Microbial Biotechnology (since its foundation in 2007). Juan L. Ramos is also member of the Editorial Boards of several important journals in the fields of microbiology and biotechnology. Juan L. Ramos has edited or co-edited 6 book volumes on Pseudomonas, a series of worldwide acceptance that collects contemporary knowledge on this group of environmentally relevant microorganisms. Juan L. Ramos has published over 250 research articles and reviews in top journals, including the prestigious top journals Science, Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA, Nature Biotechnology and in the series Annual Review of Microbiology. Juan L. Ramos has also provided almost 75 chapters for books. His research articles have been cited over 9000 times. Juan L. Ramos holds 13 patents, of which two are licensed to industry.

Advisor: Juan L. Ramos has been member of a selected group of scientists at the CSIC to provide counselling to members of the Spanish Parliament on environmental issues. He was a teacher to H.M. Prince Philip, Heir to the Spanish throne, on issues related to the environmental microbiology. Juan L. Ramos has been member of the “Commission Area” on Agricultural sciences, a Presidential consulting body for the implementation of scientific policies and strategies within Research Institutes focussing on agricultural activities belonging to the CSIC. In 2006/2007 he was selected as a member of the Committee in charge of evaluating the possibility of transforming the CSIC into a dynamic Research Agency. Juan L. Ramos is an elected member of the American Academy of Microbiology and of the European Academy of Microbiology. He is member of the Governing Boards of the Spanish Society for Biotechnology and of the Spanish Society of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. Juan L. Ramos is a member of the International Advisory Board of the largest public research Institute in Spain (Centro National de Biotecnología), and has been International Advisor of the CREAM research programme in Denmark. In 2007 he was an external evaluator for the Institute of Biotechnology of Japan at the University of Tokyo. In 2008 he became member of the European Union Advisory board for the VII Framework Programme in the areas of Agriculture, Fishery, Food and Biotechnology. Since 2008 Juan L. Ramos acts as advisor for the Regional Government of Andalusia for the restoration of industrially polluted areas.

Other activities: Juan L. Ramos is founding partner of Bio-Iliberis R&D, a CSIC spin-off enterprise that focuses on microbes of agricultural and environmental interest. Dr. Ramos is scientific advisor for the research and development areas in this company. Services: Juan L. Ramos has participated in several grants evaluation panels in Europe and USA. Since 2007 he is member of the LS9 panel (Biotechnology) in the ERC senior research grant programme. He has also been member of the International NATO panel programme on Environmental Sciences, and of the NRC PETROMAKS programme in Norway. Juan L. Ramos has evaluated research projects for DOE and NSF in USA. Prof. Ramos has participated in personnel promotion panels for CSIC and several Spanish Universities. For three years he was member of the prestigious ICREA programme launched by the Regional Government of Catalonia for the selection of the most outstanding senior scientists to work at different Catalonia research institutes. He has been external evaluator for Professor Positions at the University of California Berkeley (USA). Juan L. Ramos is frequently invited as guest speaker at different Spanish, European and USA universities. Recent invitations include lectures in Lausanne (Switzerland), Strasbourg (France) and Amsterdam (The Netherlands). Juan L. Ramos has given several research dissemination lectures to the general public on biotechnology, genetic engineering, water reutilization, bioremediation of polluted soils as a social service. Teaching: Juan L. Ramos has taught biochemistry at the University of Seville (Spain) and at the University of Geneva (Switzerland). Although Prof. Ramos current position at the CSIC does not involve teaching he has participated in a great number of post-graduate courses in Spain and he is often professor at the International University of Andalusia, where he is also advisor of the environment programme since 2008. He was one of the coordinators of the programme “Cátedras Volantes” supported by Banco de Santander in which a group of Spanish professors taught Environmental chemistry and microbiology in Argentina, Uruguay, Brazil, Mexico, Chile and Costa Rica. These “Cátedras Volantes” included theoretical-practical courses, an experience that was extended from his heavy involvement in a number of hands-on courses organized together with the members of the EC-US Task Force for Environmental Biotechnology.