Members of the Academy

López de Castro, José Antonio


José Antonio López de Castro Álvarez (1949, Bilbao) is an immunologist specialising in the molecular biology of human histocompatibility antigens, or HLA.

As a post-doctoral researcher at the Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Department of the University of Harvard (1978-1979), he participated in determining the structure of the first histocompatibility antigen known at a molecular level, HLA-B7, under the supervision of Prof. Jack Strominger.

As an independent researcher, first at the Jiménez Díaz Foundation in Madrid (1980-1986) and later at the Severo Ochoa Centre of Molecular Biology, run by the Higher Council of Scientific Research and the Universidad Autónoma of Madrid (from 1987), his research focused primarily on the study of the molecular properties of HLA-B27 antigens and mechanisms whereby this protein participates in the pathogeny of certain chronic rheumatic diseases called spondyloarthropathies, the prototype of which is  ankylosing spondylitis.

In this field, professor López determined the chemical structure of HLA-B27 and of some functional variants of this antigen differentially associated with disease. His most recent studies have centred on the analysis of the peptide repertoires presented by HLA-B27, the relationships between these repertoires with the susceptibility to the development of spondyloarthropathies and on the structural relationships between peptides deriving from arthritogenic bacteria and human proteins as a possible mechanism for an autoimmune pathogeny of spondyloarthropathies.

José Antonio López de Castro has published over 150 research papers and supervised 24 doctoral theses. He is a member of the European Molecular Biology Organisation (EMBO) and the 1998 Euskadi Research Award winner.

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