Christian de Duve
The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 1974
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."
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.
Their work and discoveries range from cancer therapy and laser physics to developing proteins that can solve humankind’s chemical problems. The work of the 2018 Nobel Laureates also included combating war crimes, as well as integrating innovation and climate with economic growth. Find out more.