Endocrine Society Member, Robert Lefkowitz, Wins Chemistry Nobel

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Lefkowitz recognized for ground-breaking discoveries on molecular receptors

Chevy Chase, MD— Robert J. Lefkowitz, MD, was among two American researchers to be awarded the 2012 Nobel Prize in Chemistry. He and his co-winner, Brian Kobilka, MD, were recognized for their groundbreaking discoveries that reveal the inner workings of G-protein–coupled receptors, a family of receptors that enables cells to sense their environment and adapt accordingly.

Prior to their research, scientists suspected that cells contained some kind of recipient for hormones, but what these receptors actually consisted of and how they worked remained a mystery. Lefkowitz used radiolabeled hormones to identify several cell surface receptors and gained an initial understanding of how they worked.

“Robert Lefkowitz is a hero in the field of endocrinology and his Nobel Prize is well-deserved,” said William F. Young, Jr., MD, president of The Endocrine Society. “His research has helped us understand how hormones communicate with cells and carries great potential in helping develop new and more effective treatments for many diseases and disorders.”

Dr. Lefkowitz has received numerous awards for his research, including three of The Endocrine Society’s prestigious laureate awards: the 2001 Fred Conrad Koch Award, the 1995 Gerald D. Aurbach Award Lecture, and the 1982 Ernst Oppenheimer Award.

Lefkowitz, an investigator at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and professor at Duke University Medical Center, and Kobilka, a professor at Stanford University, will split the $1.2 million award.

Founded in 1916, The Endocrine Society is the world’s oldest, largest and most active organization devoted to research on hormones and the clinical practice of endocrinology. Today, The Endocrine Society’s membership consists of over 15,000 scientists, physicians, educators, nurses and students in more than 100 countries. Society members represent all basic, applied and clinical interests in endocrinology. The Endocrine Society is based in Chevy Chase, Maryland. To learn more about the Society and the field of endocrinology, visit our site at www.endo-society.org. Follow us on Twitter at https://twitter.com/#!/EndoMedia.