Connecting European Neuroscience

De Castro, Fernando

NENS Committee Member (2012 - 2014) and Chair, History Committee (2020-2022)

Curriculum Vitae

Professional and academic career

Born in 1967 (Madrid, Spain).

1991: M.D. by Univ. Complutense (Madrid, Spain).

1996: Ph.D. in Neuroscience at the Univ. of Alicante (Spain).

Two sequencial postdoctoral stages at the Hôpital de la Salpêtrière (INSERM U-106 and U-495, respectively; Paris, France), under direction of Dr. C. Sotelo, A. Chédotal & B. Zalc

Short stages at the CNSCI-Washington Univ. (St. Louis, USA -1993 & 1994-), Bristol Myers-Squibb (Princeton, USA -1995-), the Institut Pasteur (Paris, France -1999 & 2001-), the INSERM (Paris, France -2005-) and the Univ. of Torino (Italy -2006-).

2003: As PI founded the Grupo de Neurobiología del Desarrollo-GNDe at Univ. of Salamanca (Spain)

2006: GNDe moved to Hospital National de Parapléjicos-SESCAM.

2015: GNDe moved to Instituto Cajal-CSIC.

2008: Permanent position as CSIC Staff Scientist.

Main research lines:

1-the development of oligodendroglial precursor cells (OPCs) and myelination development (OPCs), as well as the OPC response to demyelinating damage in the immature and adult CNS. Multiple Sclerosis (MS) as main disease under our scope: pathogenesis of demyelination, spontaneous remyelination and search of pro/(re)myelinating therapies.

2-Development of the olfactory system & adult neurogenesis.

3-History of Neuroscience.

More than 75 scientific papers & editor of 3 scientific books.

6 patents (4 extended as international PCTs).

8 PhD thesis (now active scientists in prestigious research laboratories at USA, Denmark, Spain, or pharma multinational).


Honours and awards

1992: Predoctoral Fellowship FPU (Spain Min. of Education).

1999: Marie Curie Postdoctoral contract (EU).

2000: Marie Curie R-Type Contract (EU).

2001: FIS Program for Independent Investigators Award (Spain Min. of Health; current Miguel Servet Project).

2003: Awardee of the Ramón y Caja Program for independent researchers (Spain Min. of Education).


1: 2017 – Honourable Mention at the 2014-2016 Research Award, Esteve Foundation (Spain) and finalist at the II Premio Internacional Fabiane Miranda (Asociación Colibrí-Esclerosis Múltiple de Santa Pola, Alicante/Univ. Miguel Hernández, Spain) for paper published in Brain (2016) 139; 2406–2419.

2: 2010 – Prize to the best research communication at the France-Spain Meeting on Multiple Sclerosis.

3: 2009 – Prize to the best research communication at the IIIrd Internacional Congress of Histology and Tissue Engineering (Abstract published in: Histol. Histopatol. 24-Suppl. 1, S74).


Research interests

-Development of the CNS


-Development & physiology of the olfactory system



-Multiple Sclerosis

-Primary Demyelinating Diseases

-Secondary demyelination

-Kallmmann Syndrome

-History of Neuroscience


Selected Publications

1- de Castro, F. (2009) Towards the sensory nature of the carotid body: Hering, De Castro and Heymans. Front. Neuroanat. 3: 23 (1-11) (doi:10.3389/neuro.05.023.2009).

2- de Castro, F. (2016) The Cajal School in the peripheral nervous system: the transcendent contributions of Fernando de Castro on the microscopic structure of sensory and autonomic motor ganglia. Front. Neuroanat. 10:43 (1-11) (doi: 10.3389/fnana.2016.00043).

3- Sierra A, de Castro F, del Río-Hortega J, Iglesias-Rozas J, Garrosa M, & Kettenmann H (2016) The `big-bang´ for modern glial biology: translation and comments on Pío del Río-Hortega 1919 series of papers on microglia. Glia 64: 1801–1840 (doi:10.1002/glia.23046). “Cover page” selected for Volume 64 (Issue 11, pages 1795–2040). Recommended in F1000Prime as being of special significance in its field (

4- de Castro, F., & Merchán, M.A. (2016) Editorial: The major discoveries of Cajal and his disciples: Consolidated milestones for the Neuroscience of the XXIst century. Front. Neuroanat. 10:85 (doi: 10.3389/fnana.2016.00085).

5- de Castro, F. (2019). Cajal and the Spanish School of Neurology: Neuroscience would have been a different story without them. Front. Cell. Neurosci. 13, 187 (1-14) (DOI: 10.3389/fncel.2019.00187).

6- Giné, E., Sanz, C., Martínez, C., Nombela*, C., & de Castro*, F. (2019) Women neuroscientists in the Cajal School. Front. Neuroanat. 13, 72 (1-20) (doi: 10.3389/fnana.2019.00072).

7- Ros-Bernal, F., & de Castro, F. (2020) Fernando de Castro: Cajal´s man on the the peripheral nervous system. Anat. Rec. 303, 1206–1214 (doi: 10.1002/ar.24191).

8- Merchán, M.A., DeFelipe, J., & de Castro, F. editors (2016) “Cajal and De Castro´s Neurohistological Methods”. Oxford University Press, Oxford (United Kingdom). ISBN 978- 0-19-022159-1, 252 pages.

9- de Castro, F., & Merchán, M. A., editors (2017). “The Major Discoveries of Cajal and His Disciples: Consolidated Milestones for the Neuroscience of the XXIst Century”. Ed. Frontiers Media, Laussanne (Switzerland). ISBN 978-2-88945-066-4, 163 pages (doi: 10.3389/978-2-88945-066-4).

10- de Castro, F. (2009) The discovery of sensory nature of the carotid bodies. In: “Arterial Chemoreceptors”. Editores: González, C., Nurse, C. & Peers, C. Ed. Springer (The Netherlands). Adv. Exp. Med. Biol., 648, 1-18 (DOI 10.1007/978-90-481-2259-2).

11- de Castro, F. (2019) Quizá la más exitosa escuela de la Historia de la Biomedicina: Cajal y la Escuela Española de Neurohistología. In: “Reconocimiento a cinco siglos de Medicina española” (editores: Álvarez Fernández-Represa, J., & Gutiérrez-Fuentes, J.A.). Ed. Fundación Ramón Areces y Real Academia de Doctores de España (Spain).

Fernando De Castro

Spanish Research Council Staff Scientist / Científico Titular del Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas CSIC
Principal Investigator of the Grupo de Neurobiología del Desarrollo-GNDe
Instituto Cajal-CSIC