2012 / October

P&S Alumnus Wins Nobel Prize in Chemistry

P&S Alumnus Wins Nobel Prize in Chemistry

October 10, 2012

Robert J. Lefkowitz, M.D., a double alumnus of Columbia University and member of Columbia University Medical Center's Board of Advisors, has received the 2012 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his work mapping the cell receptors that transmit signals such as light and taste to help the body read its environment. Most physiological processes depend on these receptors, and around half of all medications act through them—including beta blockers, antihistamines, and psychiatric medications. Dr. Lefkowitz shares the award with Brian K. Kobilka, M.D., of Stanford University School of Medicine.

The James B. Duke Professor of Medicine at Duke University Medical Center, Dr. Lefkowitz received his B.A. from Columbia College in 1962 and his M.D. from the College of Physicians and Surgeons in 1966. He also completed his internship and one year of general medical residency at Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center (now Columbia University Medical Center). He is the second 1966 P&S graduate to win a Nobel Prize. Harold Varmus, M.D., director of the National Cancer Institute, who shared the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine in 1989, was a P&S classmate. Dr. Lefkowitz is also a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator at Duke University Medical Center in Durham, N.C.

Image credit: Duke University Photography