Born: 30 January 1949, Northfield, MN, USA
Affiliation at the time of the award: Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD, USA
Prize motivation: "for the discovery of water channels"
Field: biochemistry, structural chemistry
Prize share: 1/2
One of the fundamental processes of life is the transportation of water molecules through the surface layer of the cells that comprise organisms. Channels that allow the passage of water but not other substances are crucial for processes such as the kidney's capacity to recover water from urine. For a long time no one knew what these water canals looked like, but in 1990 Peter Agre succeeded in isolating a protein that he proved was the sought-after water canal. The protein was given the name aquaporin.