Christian de Duve
Born: 2 October 1917, Thames Ditton, United Kingdom
Died: 4 May 2013, Nethen, Belgium
Affiliation at the time of the award: Rockefeller University, New York, NY, USA, Université Catholique de Louvain, Louvain, Belgium
Prize motivation: "for their discoveries concerning the structural and functional organization of the cell"
Field: cell physiology
Prize share: 1/3
Our bodies are made up of cells that contain organelles, components with various functions. Albert Claude's research with the newly developed electron microscope and his methods for separating the various parts of pulverized cells using a centrifuge opened up new opportunities for studying cells in detail. In 1955 Christian de Duve discovered previously unknown organelles in the cell, lysosomes. These have important functions in decomposing different types of materials, such as bacteria and parts of cells that have worn out.
"for their discoveries of machinery regulating vesicle traffic, a major transport system in our cells"
"for their discoveries of key regulators of the cell cycle"
"for their discoveries of principles for introducing specific gene modifications in mice by the use of embryonic stem cells"