Biographical Information

Professor Joerg Kistler was appointed as Director of the School of Biological Sciences at the University of Auckland in 2001. He maintains research collaborations with laboratories at the University of Auckland and internationally focusing on the structure-function relationships primarily of membrane proteins and amyloid-forming peptides. He is renowned for his work over 20 years on the role of membrane channels and transporters in the maintenance of eye lens transparency and in cataract formation. In 2004, he and his colleagues at Harvard University solved the structure of the founding member of the aquaporin family. This protein, AQPO, constitutes about 60% of lens membrane proteins, and has the unique feature that it can form water channels traversing single membranes and also form adhesive junctions between apposing membranes thereby closing the water pore. AQPO thus is another example of “gene-sharing” where one and the same protein can serve two totally different functions.