ⓘ Günter Blobel

Gunter Blobel

ⓘ Gunter Blobel

Gunter Blobel was a Silesian German and American biologist and 1999 Nobel Prize laureate in Physiology for the discovery that proteins have intrinsic signals that govern their transport and localization in the cell.


1. Biography

Gunter Blobel was born in Waltersdorf in the Prussian Province of Lower Silesia, then located in eastern Germany. In January 1945 his family fled from native Silesia to Dresden to escape from the advancing Red Army. During the catastrophic bombing of Dresden, Blobel, then 8, stayed with his family at a relatives farm to the west of the city. After the war, Blobel grew up and attended gymnasium in the Saxon town of Freiberg. He studied medicine and graduated from the University of Tubingen in 1960. After two years service in a medical internship, he moved to Madison, Wisconsin, following an older brother, enrolling in the University of Wisconsin–Madison and, joining the lab of Van R. Potter for his graduate work. Blobel matriculated in 1967 with a Ph.D., then took up a professorship in microbiology at the University.

Blobel was appointed to the Howard Hughes Medical Institute in 1986. Blobel was awarded the 1999 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for the discovery of signal peptides. Signal peptides form an integral part of protein targeting, a mechanism for cells to direct newly synthesized protein molecules to their proper location by means of an "address tag" i.e., a signal peptide within the molecule.

Blobel died of cancer in Manhattan at New York-Presbyterian Weill Cornell Medical Center on February 18, 2018 at the age of 81. By the time of his death, Blobel was described as having "ushered cell biology into the molecular age" through his work on the fractionation and reconstitution of functional protein complexes and sub-cellular components in vitro.


2. Philanthropy

Blobel became well known for his direct and active support for the rebuilding of Dresden in Germany, becoming, in 1994, the founder and president of the nonprofit "Friends of Dresden, Inc." He donated all of the Nobel award money to the restoration of Dresden, in particular for the rebuilding of the Frauenkirche completed in 2005 and the building of a new synagogue. In Leipzig he pursued a rebuilding of the Paulinerkirche, the university church of the University of Leipzig, which had been blown up by the communist regime of East Germany in 1968, arguing "this is a shrine of German cultural history, connected to the most important names in German cultural history."


3. Personal life

Blobel lost his older sister to aerial bombing of a train she was on in 1945, shortly after the bombing of Dresden, while an older brother survived the war and became a veterinarian in the United States. Blobel worked at the Rockefeller University in New York City from 1968. He lived in Manhattans Upper East Side with his wife, Laura Maioglio owner of Barbetta. He was on the board of directors for Nestle and the Board of Scientific Governors at The Scripps Research Institute. Furthermore, he was Co-Founder and Chairman of the Scientific Advisory Board for Chromocell Corporation. He sat on the Selection Committee for Life Science and Medicine which chooses winners of the Shaw Prize. Blobel had a passion for opera and architecture, in addition to his passion for experimental science.


4. Scientific awards

  • 1978: NAS Award in Molecular Biology
  • 1987: Louisa Gross Horwitz Prize from Columbia University
  • 2008: Foreign Member of the Russian Academy of Science
  • 1995: Ciba Drew Award in Biomedical Research
  • 2001: Pontifical Academy of Sciences
  • 1989: Waterford Bio-Medical Science Award
  • 1983: Richard Lounsbery Award
  • 1999: Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine
  • 2001: Pour le Merite
  • 1982: Gairdner Foundation International Award
  • 1993: Albert Lasker Award for Basic Medical Research
  • 1999: Massry Prize from the Keck School of Medicine, University of Southern California
  • 2014: AACR Academy
  • 1983: Otto Warburg Medal
  • 1983: Member of the German Academy of Sciences Leopoldina
  • 1996: King Faisal International Prize
  • 1986: Keith R. Porter Lecture
  • 1986: V. D. Mattia Award
  • 1986: E.B. Wilson Medal
  • 1992: Max Delbruck Medal
  • 1997: Mayors Award for Excellence in Science and Technology

  • George E. Palade the 1974 Nobel Laureate in Physiology or Medicine and Gunter Blobel the 1999 Nobel Laureate in Physiology or Medicine and Distinguished
  • students and postdoctoral fellows, including David D. Sabatini and Gunter Blobel Beginning in the 1970s, Siekevitz invested significant research effort
  • University William Blair, a professor of astronomy at Johns Hopkins Gunter Blobel a Nobel laureate and cell biologist at Rockefeller University David
  • the company s Scientific and Clinical Advisory Board, he recruited Gunter Blobel winner of the 1999 Nobel Prize in Physiology Leonard Hayflick, Carol
  • Elizabeth F. Neufeld, Saul Roseman, Bengt Samuelsson 1982 Gilbert Ashwell, Gunter Blobel Arvid Carlsson, Paul Janssen, Manfred M. Mayer 1983 Donald A. Henderson
  • Fellows of the Royal Society. 54: 383. doi: 10.1098 rsbm.2008.0012. Blobel Gunter 2013 Christian de Duve 1917 2013 Biologist who won a Nobel prize

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