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Johns Hopkins Malaria Research Institute

Peter Agre, MD

Dr Agre's portrait

Bloomberg Distinguished Professor and Director of JHMRI
Johns Hopkins University

He was previously Professor of Medicine and Biological Chemistry at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine (1992-05), Vice Chancellor for Science and Technology at Duke Medical Center (2005-07), and he served as President of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (2009-10). In 2003 Agre shared the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his discovery of the aquaporin water channels.

Peter Agre began his research career as a medical student interested in global health. He investigated the heat labile E. coli enterotoxin in the labs of Brad Sack and Pedro Cuatrecasas at Johns Hopkins. Similar to cholera toxin, the coli toxin induces massive release of fluid from the small intestine. Following clinical training, he undertook a postdoctoral fellowship the lab of Vann Bennett where he studied molecular defects in red blood cell membranes including hereditary spherocytosis. As an independent investigator, Peter Agre’s group isolated the core subunit of the Rhesus blood group antigen. His group also discovered aquaporin-1, the first known membrane water channel. Through multiple international collaborations, his research team defined the function of this protein and identified multiple homologous aquaporins at basic and clinical levels. Recognition for this work included the 2003 Nobel Prize in Chemistry. For the past ten years Peter Agre’s lab has focused upon the role of aquaporins in malaria. As Director of the Johns Hopkins Malaria Research Institute, he serves as Program Director of the International Center of Excellence for Malaria Research in Zimbabwe and Zambia. Essential to all of these studies was the NIH support that has been uninterrupted since 1981. Peter Agre’s extracurricular positions have included Presidency of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (2009-10) and Chairman of the Committee on Human Rights of the National Academy of Sciences (2005-2009). His involvement with training graduate students included serving as Director of the Johns Hopkins Graduate Program in Cellular and Molecular Medicine (1998-01) and Director of the Duke Medical Scientist Training Program (2006-07).