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Peter Courtland Agre, M.D.

Photo of Dr. Peter Courtland Agre, M.D.
  • Director, Malaria Research Institute
  • Professor of Biological Chemistry

Research Interests

Molecular aspects of human diseases, including hemolytic anemias, blood group antigens and malaria


Dr. Peter Agre is a professor of biological chemistry at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. He also holds an appointment in the department of molecular biology and immunology at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health

Dr. Agre’s research has focused on the molecular aspects of human diseases, including hemolytic anemias, blood group antigens and malaria. He received the 2003 Nobel Prize in Chemistry with Roderick MacKinnon of Rockefeller University for the discovery of aquaporins, water channels that facilitate the movement of water across cell membranes. 

He is a Bloomberg Distinguished Professor and director of the Johns Hopkins Malaria Research Institute. 

Dr. Agre received his undergraduate degree in chemistry from Augsburg College. He earned his M.D. from Johns Hopkins. He completed a residency in internal medicine at Case Western Reserve University Hospitals of Cleveland and performed a hematology-oncology fellowship at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Dr. Agre returned to Johns Hopkins as a postdoctoral fellow in cell biology before joining the faculty in 1984.

He became vice chancellor for science and technology at Duke University Medical Center in 2005. He returned to Johns Hopkins in 2008. 

Dr. Agre is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the Institute of Medicine, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the American Philosophical Society. He has received honorary doctorates from universities in Denmark, Japan, Norway, Greece, Mexico, Hungary, Poland and the United States. From 2009 to 2010, Dr. Agre served as president of the American Association for the Advancement of Sciences. more


  • Director, Malaria Research Institute
  • Bloomberg Distinguished Professor
  • Professor of Biological Chemistry

Departments / Divisions



  • M.D., Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine (Maryland) (1974)

Research & Publications

Research Summary

Dr. Agre received the 2003 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for discovery of the aquaporin water channels. Referred to as the "plumbing system of cells," aquaporins facilitate the movement of water across cell membranes (rapid osmosis). Aquaporins are responsible for generation of all biological fluids—cerebrospinal fluid, aqueous humor, tears, sweat, saliva and concentration of urine. Aquaporins are also involved in plant biology and infectious diseases.

As director of the Johns Hopkins Malaria Research Institute, he oversees scientific training and research efforts of 20 laboratories in Baltimore and field studies in Zambia and Zimbabwe.

Lab Website: Johns Hopkins Malaria Research Institute

Selected Publications

Promeneur D, Lunde LK, Amiry-Moghaddam M, Agre P. "Protective role of brain water channel AQP4 in murine cerebral malaria." Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2013 Jan 15;110(3):1035-40. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1220566110.Epub 2012 Dec 31.

Agre P. "Aquaporin water channels (Nobel Lecture)." Angew Chem Int Ed Engl. 2004 Aug 20;43(33):4278-90.

King LS, Choi M, Fernandez PC, Cartron JP, Agre P. "Defective urinary-concentrating ability due to a complete deficiency of aquaporin-1." N Engl J Med. 2001 Jul 19;345(3):175-9.

Preston GM, Carroll TP, Guggino WB, Agre P. "Appearance of water channels in Xenopus oocytes expressing red cell CHIP28 protein." Science. 1992 Apr 17;256(5055):385-7.

Agre P, Casella JF, Zinkham WH, McMillan C, Bennett V. "Partial deficiency of erythrocyte spectrin in hereditary spherocytosis." Nature. 1985 Mar 28-Apr 3;314(6009):380-3.

Academic Affiliations & Courses

Courses and Syllabi

  • Public Health Perspectives on Research (550.865.81)
    2015 - 2016

Activities & Honors


  • Bloomberg Distinguished Professor, 2014
  • Institute of Medicine, 2005
  • Commander, Royal Norwegian Order of Merit, 2005
  • Distinguished Eagle Scout Award, Boy Scouts of America, 2005
  • Nobel Prize in Chemistry, 2003
  • American Academy of Arts and Sciences, 2003
  • National Academy of Sciences, 2000


  • National Academy of Sciences
  • Institute of Medicine
  • American Academy of Arts and Sciences
  • American Philosophical Society

Professional Activities

  • Former President, American Association for the Advancement of Science

Videos & Media

Johns Hopkins' Peter Agre | Unexpected Discoveries and Their Great Potential

Recent News Articles and Media Coverage

Nobel Prize winning scientists reflect on nearly sleeping through the life-changing call,” The New York Times, Oct. 4, 2015

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