Improving human health through education, discovery science, and translational research
Brian K. Kobilka
Professor of Molecular and Cellular Physiology
Stanford University School of Medicine
Nobel Laureate in Chemistry (2012)
Brian Kobilka is currently a professor in the department of Molecular and Cellular Physiology at Stanford University School of Medicine. He received the 2012 Nobel Prize in Chemistry with Robert J. Lefkowitz for discoveries that reveal the inner workings of an important family G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs). He is also the co-founder of ConfometRx, a biotechnology company focusing on G protein-coupled receptors. He was named a member of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences in 2011.
Communication between the cells in human body are managed by substances called hormones. Each cell has a small receiver known as a receptor, which is able to receive hormones. In the 1980s, Brian Kobilka successfully identified the gene that regulates the formation of the receptor for the hormone adrenaline. He and Robert Lefkowitz also discovered that the receptor was similar to receptors located in the eye that capture light. It was later discovered that there is an entire family of receptors that look and act in similar ways - "G-protein-coupled receptors". Approximately half of all medications used today make use of this kind of receptor.
Brian Kobilka was born and raised in Little Falls, Minnesota. After studying at the University of Minnesota Duluth, he earned his medical degree from Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut. After completing his residency in St Louis, Missouri, he moved to Duke University in Durham, North Carolina, where he conducted his Nobel Prize-awarded research together with Robert Lefkowitz. He has been employed at Stanford University since 1989. Brian Kobilka is married with two children.