Honorary Fellow, ATBC 2013, Dr. Rodrigo Gámez Lobo

“In 1954 he joined the Faculty of Agriculture of the University of Costa Rica (UCR) where he found his “niche” in the field of plant virology. He earned his Master of Science (M.Sc.) at the University of Florida, USA. Then he pursued post-graduate studies at the University of London, England, and completed his doctorate (PhD) in virology at the University of Illinois, USA, in 1967.”

Rodrigo_-Gamez-Lobo-HF-2013-2“On his return, he continued his work at UCR. At this institution, he was the first director of the School of Plant Science, the first Vice Chancellor for Research, and a member of the first Council of Post-Graduate Studies System and the Electronic Microscopy Unit. At that time, he also actively participated in the creation of the National Council of Scientific and Technological Research (CONICIT) and State Distance Education University (UNED). But his main contribution was the creation of a virology laboratory, which later became the current Molecular and Cellular Biology Research Center (CIBCM) at UCR, of which he was first director in 1976.”

“In 1983, he was awarded the Dr. Bernard Houssay Inter-American Science Prize, by the Organization of American States (OAS), for his contribution to the scientific development of Costa Rica. In 1986, Rodrigo Gámez was named presidential adviser on natural resources and biodiversity.”

Deborah A. Clark, Rodrigo Gámez Lobo, Daniel H. Janzen and Winnie Hallwachs. (© Tropicalbio.org)

Deborah A. Clark, Rodrigo Gámez Lobo, Daniel H. Janzen and Winnie Hallwachs. (© Tropicalbio.org)

“Two years later, he coordinated the Planning Commission of the National Biodiversity Institute, which recommended the government to create a state biodiversity institute that would have a high degree of autonomy. However, the government was unable to implement the idea, reason for which Dr. Gámez and other members of the committee chose to make it happen themselves and created a private non-profit association. This way, the National Biodiversity Institute (INBio) was born, an institution to which Rodrigo Gámez has dedicated 15 years of his life as Director General and President. His tireless work towards learning, conserving and sustainably using the biodiversity of Costa Rica has earned INBio numerous awards, including the Sir Peter Scott Award for Conservation Merit by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN, 1992), the Song to All Creatures Award by the Franciscan Center for Environmental Studies in Italy, the Prince of Asturias Prize in Science and Technology (1995), and the Tech Museum Award in 2003.”

ATBC is extremely honoured with Dr. Rodrigo Gámez Lobo being an honorary fellow.(© Celia Coto Elizondo)

Nomination Letter by Dr. Erick Mata Montero, Executive Director of Encyclopedia of Life