Carmen Nájera obtained her B.Sc. at the University of Saragossa in 1973 and her PhD at the University of Oviedo under the supervision of J. Barluenga and M. Yus in 1979. She performed postdoctoral work at the ETH (Zurich) with D. Seebach, at the Dyson Perrins Laboratory (Oxford) with J. E. Baldwin, at Harvard University with E. J. Corey, and at Uppsala University with J.-E. Bäckvall. She was promoted to Associate Professor in 1985 at the University of Oviedo and Full Professor in 1993 at the University of Alicante. She has held visiting Professorships at the University of Arizona in Tucson (USA), Universidad Nacional del Sur in Bahía Blanca (Argentina), Louis Pasteur University in Strasbourg (France), and Ecole Nationale Superiéure de Chimie de Paris (France). She is coauthor of more than 300 papers and 16 book chapters and has supervised the work of 33 PhD Thesis. She has delivered more than 100 lectures in Congresses and Research Institutions.
Member of the Advisory Board of ChemCatChem, Synthesis, Synlett, European Journal of Organic Chemistry, Reports in Organic Chemistry and Letters in Organic Chemistry. Awards: "2006 Organic Chemistry Prize" from the Spanish Royal Chemical Society of Chemistry, "2006 Rosalind Franklin International Lectureship" from the English Royal Society and SCF 2010 French-Spanish Prize from the Société Chimique de France. In October 2010 was named Correspondent Member and in April 2012 Full Member of the Royal Spanish Academy of Sciences (www.rac.es). In March 2013 she will named member of the European Academy of Sciences and Arts (www.euro-acad.eu).
Her scientific contributions are focused on synthetic organic chemistry such as sulfone chemistry, new peptide coupling reagents, asymmetric synthesis of alpha-amino acids, oxime-derived palladacycles as precursor of palladium nanoparticles, asymmetric metal catalysis and organocatalysis. In the last decade she has been working on the development of efficient metal or organocatalysts for cross-coupling reactions and for asymmetric synthesis focused on sustainable processes using low catalyst loading, water as reaction medium or solvent-free conditions with the aim of recovering and reusing the catalyst.