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Gheorghe Benga

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Gheorghe Benga (born January 26, 1944, in Timișoara, Romania) is a Romanian physician and molecular biologist. He is professor and chairman in the Department of Cell and Molecular Biology of the Iuliu Hațieganu University of Medicine and Pharmacy in Cluj-Napoca, Romania, and a titular member of the Romanian Academy.

Benga did his studies in Cluj-Napoca, earning an M.D. from the University of Medicine and Pharmacy in 1967, and an M.Sc. in Chemistry from Babeș-Bolyai University in 1973.[1]

In 1986, together with collaborators Octavian Popescu and Victor I. Pop, Benga showed the existence of a protein water channel in the red blood cell membrane.[2][3] Two years later, in 1988, Peter Agre independently isolated the protein and demonstrated it was a ubiquitously expressed water transport protein, naming it aquaporin.[4] In 2003 Agre would receive the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his work.[5] Benga and his collaborators would appeal this award before the Nobel Committee, to no avail, though he would receive recognition with a Gold Medal at the Third Science Congress held in Constanța.[6][1]


  1. ^ a b "Personal website". Archived from the original on April 2, 2016. Retrieved November 23, 2019.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link)
  2. ^ Benga, Gheorghe; Popescu, Octavian; Pop, Victor I.; Holmes, Ross P. (1986). "p-(Chloromercuri)benzenesulfonate binding by membrane proteins and the inhibition of water transport in human erythrocytes". Biochemistry. 25 (7): 1535–8. doi:10.1021/bi00355a011. PMID 3011064.
  3. ^ Benga, Gheorghe; Popescu, Octavian; Borza, Victoria; Pop, Victor I.; Muresan, A; Mocsy, I; Brain, A; Wrigglesworth, JM (1986). "Water permeability of human erythrocytes. Identification of membrane proteins involved in water transport". European Journal of Cell Biology. 41 (2): 252–262. PMID 3019699.
  4. ^ Kuchel PW (2006). "The story of the discovery of aquaporins: convergent evolution of ideas--but who got there first?". Cellular and Molecular Biology. 52 (7). (Noisy-le-Grand): 2–5. PMID 17543213.
  5. ^ Andriescu, Vlad (September 19, 2013). "Cum a ratat un român premiul Nobel? Povestea lui Gheorghe Benga". Adevărul (in Romanian). Retrieved March 22, 2020.
  6. ^ Stan, Elena (January 19, 2006). "Știința – Benga a ratat Premiul Nobel". Jurnalul Național. Retrieved March 22, 2020.

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