2012 Nobel Prize winner
Robert Lefkowitz (New York, 15 April 1943) is a physician from the US and the winner of the Nobel Prize for chemistry in 2012, together with Brian Kobilka, for their G-protein-coupled receptors work.
After graduating in Medicine from Columbia University (1966), he completed his education at Harward University and, starting from the ‘70s, taught Biochemistry at Duke University. There, Lefkowitz started dealing with research. His studies focused on the perception of external stimuli by cells: by bringing particles in contact with some hormones bound to radioactive atoms, Lefkowitz discovered receptors that recognize the hormones. This way, he was able to analyse and examine the structure and the functioning of the receptors pairing off with human G proteins: besides allowing the analysis of mechanisms at the basis of the action of adrenaline, these receptors are at the basis of most medicinal products in use. Given Lefkowitz’s contribution to the development of the most effective medicines, in 2012 the Swedish Academy of Sciences conferred him and his colleague and student Brian Kobilka the Chemistry Nobel Prize.