Nobel Prize winners receive Honorary RSC Fellowships
27 July 2006
Two winners of the Nobel Prize for Chemistry have been presented with Honorary RSC Fellowships at a special reception at Burlington House.
American Peter Agre, 57, was awarded the Nobel Prize in 2003 for his work on channels which enable water transport through cell membranes - a process essential to all living organisms.
He was joined at the RSC by Israeli biologist Aaron Ciechanover, 58 - who received his Nobel Prize in 2004 for the discovery of ubiqutin-mediated protein degradation.
The two scientists received their awards from RSC President Dr Simon Campbell, who also presented an Honorary Fellowship to top chef Heston Blumenthal (please see separate story).
Professor Agre - who is based Duke University, North Carolina - discovered cell water molecule channels in 1991.
His pioneering work ushered in a golden age of biochemical, physiological and genetic studies of mammals, plants and bacteria.
This knowledge is helping scientists develop drugs specifically targeted at water channel defects.
Professor Agre said: "It is a great honour to receive this recognition from The Royal Society of Chemistry."
RSC Honorary Fellows Peter Agre, Aaron Ciechanover and Heston Blumenthal, with President Simon Campbell and Chief Executive Richard Pike at RSC Summer Party
Israeli Professor Ciechanover received both his MSc and MD from the Hebrew University School of Medicine in Jerusalem.
He is currently based at the Israel Institute of Technology, Haifa.
Along with Avram Hershko and Irwin Rose, Professor Ciechanover's work in the 1980s uncovered the fundamental processes behind the breakdown of proteins in all living cells.
Proteins selected for breakdown have a molecule called ubiquitin attached to them, which identifies them to be destroyed. The 'labelled' proteins are then fed into the cell's waste disposal machinery to be broken down.
Examples of processes governed by ubiquitin-mediated protein degradation are cell division, DNA repair, quality control of newly-produced proteins, and important parts of the immune system. When the degradation does not work correctly, various illnesses can develop.
Professor Ciechanover said: "To have my work recognised by The Royal Society of Chemistry is very special to me."
Dr Campbell said: "I was delighted to present Honorary Fellowships of the RSC to two distinguished Nobel scientists, whose work in different areas has uncovered fundamental biological processes that play important roles in health and disease."
Contact and Further Information
Royal Society of Chemistry, Burlington House, Piccadilly, London, W1J 0BA
Tel: +44 (0) 20 7440 3322 or +44 (0) 7770 431013