Robert J. Lefkowitz
National Medal of Science
For his discovery of the seven transmembrane receptors, deemed the largest, most versatile, and most therapeutically accessible receptor signaling system, and for describing the general mechanism of their regulation, influencing all fields of medical practice.
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BirthApril 15, 1943
Country of BirthUSA
Key ContributionsProtein Receptor Structure
Awarded byGeorge W. Bush
EducationColumbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons
Areas of ImpactHealth & Medicine
AffiliationsHoward Hughes Medical Institute
Duke University Medical Center
Other PrizesNobel Prize
What’s in a cell? Robert Lefkowitz set out to dive deep into the inner workings of the body’s function through receptor biology research, investigating the complexities of G protein–coupled receptors that motivate every day sight, smell and taste functions, to name a few.
From medical mysteries he read in the Bronx as a child, Lefkowitz set his sights on medicine by the third grade.
Called “hands on” by students, Lefkowitz encourages weekly mentorship, having produced over 200 graduate students and post-docs in biochemistry, immunology and medicine at the Lefkowitz lab at Duke University.
Lefkowitz has said, “I come to work every day with a sense of great anticipation and curiosity about what new discoveries and insights will come our way. Every question that we can answer poses several new ones that seem even more interesting than the one we've just answered.”
Most recently, his work has revealed insight into molecular mechanisms and signaling, while developing strategies for improving cardiac function using his experience as a trained cardiologist.
By Melissa Ayala