AU College of Health, Agriculture and Natural Resources hosts Nobel Laureate Professor Peter Agre at research colloquium


12 February 2019

Story by
Jeanette Dadzie
IPAO Correspondent

From the 4th to the 6th of February 2019, Africa University’s College of Health, Agriculture and Natural Resources hosted a two- day research symposium that culminated in a lecture by renowned Nobel Laureate Professor Peter Agre who earned the prestigious award in the Chemistry field due to his research in discoveries concerning aquaporin water channels which are water-channel proteins that move water molecules through the cell membrane. The theme of the colloquium was, “Next Generation Biomedical Sciences to Combat Malaria and other Health Problems”.

The event was attended by dignitaries from the Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development, the Ministry of Health and Child Welfare, various partners from the NGO sector, members of the research fraternity including Professor Collen Masirembwa, founding President and Chief Executive Officer of the of the African Institute of Biomedical Science and Technology, AiBST, as well as secondary schools from the Manicaland Region.

Vice Chancellor Professor Munashe Furusa welcomed the guests outlining the institutions’ commitment to research. He went on to say,

“Purposely, this colloquium marshals in expertise that will usher in greater understanding of our research needs to coordinate efforts that ensure gaps in knowledge are filled, problems solved and resources gathered that will address developmental issues. Our intention behind the mobilization the research community in particular is to also ensure intergenerational knowledge sharing and mentorship. We are challenging young scholars in the making to be inspired and seek to become Nobel Laureates themselves. Universities are becoming more involved in solving problems confronting the society and Africa University takes this mandate seriously and through initiatives such as this, we seek to pursue this developmental agenda at all levels.”

Africa University has long been at the forefront in the battle against Malaria in the Manicaland Region and Zimbabwe with its main campus being host to Zimbabwe’s largest insect reference unit from which Malaria vectors are studied so as to better understand the dynamics of the disease and contribute effectively towards the eradication effort.

Professor Agre expressed his gratitude at having been invited to speak to his journey to the Nobel Laureate and the opportunity to serve as an inspiration to those who seek to become game –changers within the sciences and deliver on positive change to the continent and the world.

“It is an honour to be invited to this amazing institution so filled with diversity and wide- eyed curiosity regarding research and knowledge generation. It has been an ambition of mine to come to Africa University for a while and more so to inspire you, the future of science.”

A native Minnesotan, Professor Peter Agre studied chemistry at Augsburg College (B.A. 1970) and medicine at Johns Hopkins (M.D. 1974). He completed his residency at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland and an Oncology Fellowship at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Professor Agre joined the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine faculty in 1984 and rose to the rank of Professor of Biological Chemistry and Professor of Medicine. In 2005, Agre moved to the Duke University School of Medicine where he served as Vice Chancellor for Science and Technology and James B. Duke Professor of Cell Biology. Agre returned to Johns Hopkins in January 2008, where he is a Bloomberg Distinguished Professor and Director of the Malaria Research Institute at the Bloomberg School of Public Health (

AU continues to strengthen its research output seeking to become a centre of excellence, innovation and enterprise development.