SOURCE: Will Rogers Institute

December 11, 2008 18:42 ET

Nobel Prize Laureate Dr. Peter Agre Awarded With the "Annual Prize for Outstanding Contribution to Lung Research" by Will Rogers Institute

Groundbreaking Research in Aquaporins Holds Hope for Lung Treatments

BEVERLY HILLS, CA--(Marketwire - December 11, 2008) - Nobel laureate Dr. Peter Agre was awarded the "Annual Prize for Outstanding Contribution to Lung Research" at the annual meeting for the Will Rogers Motion Picture Pioneers Foundation (WRMPPF) held at the Beverly Hills Hotel today for his groundbreaking work in aquaporins and potential benefits to lung research.

Dr. Agre, University Professor and Director at Johns Hopkins Malaria Research Institute, Bloomberg School of Public Health, will be the second recipient of the prestigious $50,000 prize. In 2003, Peter shared the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for discovering aquaporins, protein channels within the membranes of cells that allow the movement of water across the membrane.

Aquaporins are responsible for numerous physiological processes in humans and are implicated in multiple clinical disorders including fluid retention, bedwetting, brain edema, cataracts, heat prostration and obesity. Aquaporins also play an important role in the normal physiology and disease in the human airways. Chronic lung injury and lung fibrosis is associated with decreased protein and mRNA expression of aquaporins in the lung.

Due to Dr. Agre's work, researchers around the world now study aquaporins in many species of plants, bacteria and animals, and have linked aberrant water transport to a multitude of human diseases and conditions.

Currently, Dr. Agre presides over a team of 20 scientists working on everything from designing malaria vaccines to engineering a malaria-resistant mosquito that in theory could out-compete others if released in the wild.

Born in Northfield, Minnesota, Peter received his B.A. from Augsburg College in Minneapolis, Minnesota and his M.D. in 1974 from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore, Maryland. He served as the Vice Chancellor for science and technology at Duke University Medical Center in Durham, NC, where he guided the development of Duke's biomedical research. Agre became director at JHMRI and joined the faculty of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health on January 1, 2008. He was elected to membership in the National Academy of Sciences in 2000 and to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2003. He is also a founding member of Scientists and Engineers for America (SEA), and serves on its Board of Advisors.

The WRMPPF is the operating organization for the Will Rogers Institute program. The Will Rogers Institute "Annual Prize for Outstanding Contribution to Lung Research" was created to honor individuals for extraordinary work leading to advancements in treatment for lung diseases. The first award was presented in 2007 to Dr. Francis Collins for his work in identifying the Cystic Fibrosis gene.

About the Will Rogers Institute

The Will Rogers Institute is a program originated as a training center at the Will Rogers Memorial Hospital, which was founded in 1936 as a hospital for tuberculosis-stricken workers in the entertainment industry. The hospital became a national training facility for doctors treating patients with tuberculosis. Building on that foundation, the Will Rogers Institute is today a national charitable health program focused on research of debilitating lung disorders, medical school training fellowships, and distribution of free health education materials to the general public. The Institute recently became a national leader in providing life saving neonatal ventilator equipment to hospitals across the country. Please visit us at: www.wrinstitute.org.

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