Nobel Prize Winner to Speak on G-Protein-Coupled Receptors

Brian K. Kobilka, MD

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A scientist who won a Nobel Prize for his work on the topic will present a state-of-the-art lecture entitled “G Protein-Coupled Receptors: Challenges for Drug Discovery” on Friday, Nov. 3.

The speaker will be Brian K. Kobilka, MD, professor of molecular and cellular physiology and Hélène Irwin Fagan Chair in Cardiology at Stanford University School of Medicine.

Research in Dr. Kobilka’s lab focuses on the structure and mechanism of action of G-protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs), which constitute the largest family of receptors for hormones and neurotransmitters in the human genome. Kobilka was awarded the 2012 Nobel Prize in chemistry for this work.

GPCRs mediate the majority of cellular responses to hormones and neurotransmitters, and are therefore essential for communication between cells located in different parts of the body. GPCRs also mediate the senses of sight, smell, and some tastes. Given their role in the regulation of all aspects of human physiology, GPCRs are the targets of nearly half of today’s pharmaceuticals for a broad spectrum of diseases.

GPCRs are located on the plasma membrane of cells and respond to a wide range of ligands ranging from ions to small organic molecules to peptides to large-protein hormones. GPCRs also interact with several signaling and regulatory proteins within the cell, including G proteins, kinases, and arrestins.

Dr. Kobilka’s lab has used a variety of approaches to characterize the structure and mechanisms of activation of GPCRs, including cell biology, gene disruption in mice, and in vivo physiology to determine the role of specific adrenergic receptor subtypes in normal physiology.

Dr. Kobilka has served as a member of the grant-in-aid committee of the American Heart Association, a member of the molecular and integrative signal transduction study section of the National Institutes of Health, and chair of the Gordon Research Conference on Molecular Pharmacology.

He serves on the editorial boards of Molecular Pharmacology and Trends in Pharmacological Sciences and has been on the board of the Journal of Biological Chemistry as well as associate editor of Molecular Pharmacology.

He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Medicine, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Dr. Kobilka graduated from Yale University School of Medicine and completed residency training in internal medicine at the Barnes Hospital, Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. He was a postdoctoral fellow at Duke University from 1984 to1989. He joined the faculty of Stanford in 1990.

October/November 2017 (Vol. 9, Number 10 & 11)