Nobel Laureate Günter Blobel Dies at 81

Dr. Blobel in his laboratory in 2004. (Credit James Estrin The New York Times.)

Nobel laureate Günter Blobel, MD, PhD, a molecular biologist, died of cancer on February 18, 2018. He spent most of his working life at Rockefeller University in New York. With funding from the NIH and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, his 30 years of investigation culminated in a discovery for which he won the 1999 Nobel Prize in medicine: Proteins in any living cell have internal signals that direct their transport within the cell and throughout the body.

“[Dr.] Blobel’s discovery has had an immense impact on modern cell biological research,” the Nobel Assembly at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm said when announcing the prize. “Furthermore, knowledge about the topogenic signals has increased our understanding of many medically important mechanisms.”

Dr. Blobel won numerous other awards, including the 1987 Louisa Gross Horwitz Prize for biochemistry from Columbia University and the Albert Lasker Basic Medical Research Award in 1993.

He is survived by his wife Laura Maioglio; three brothers, Hans, Reiner and Albrecht; and two sisters, Sigrid Mack and Ingeborg Cosack.

Source: The New York Times, February 19, 2018.