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Meet Our Opening Keynote Speaker 

Brian Kobilka, MD
Nobel Laureate
Professor and chair of molecular and cellular physiology, Stanford University School of Medicine, Palo Alto, California
Keynote Presentation: Challenges and New Approaches to Drug Discovery for G Protein Coupled Receptors
Location: Terrace Theater, Long Beach Convention Center
Date: Thursday, April 4, 2024, 4:15 p.m. PDT

Brian Kobilka, MD, is professor of molecular and cellular physiology at the Stanford University School of Medicine, California. In 2012, he won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his work on G-protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs). Over the past three decades, Kobilka and his colleague Robert Lefkowitz, MD, with whom Kobilka shares the prize, played an important role in discovering and understanding GPCRs.

In 2011, Kobilka was the first to crystallize and analyze one of the receptors bound to its signaling molecule, a critical step toward understanding how to control them. Also in 2011, Kobilka and his team were the first to obtain a 3D image of the same GPCR bound to its signaling molecule—an extremely difficult technical endeavor due to the protein’s size and complexity.

Kobilka received his MD from Yale University in 1981. In 1984, he joined the Lefkowitz Laboratory at Duke University, and they began to work together to learn more about the epinephrine receptor, also known as the beta-adrenergic receptor. Kobilka isolated the gene for the receptor to learn more about its composition. When he studied the sequence, he realized that it was very similar to that of another, seemingly unrelated receptor called rhodopsin that detects light in the retina of the eye. This research helped the scientists realize that GPCRs are a large family, with many different examples throughout the body.

Kobilka continues his work in his lab at Stanford Medicine to characterize the structure and mechanism of activation of GPCRs using a variety of approaches including cell biology, gene disruption in mice, and in vivo physiology to determine the role of specific adrenergic receptor subtypes in normal physiology.

Kobilka will speak at 4:15 p.m. PDT on Thursday, April 4, 2024, kicking off the American Physiology Summit. His talk will be followed by a welcome festival for all registrants on the Terrace Plaza at the Long Beach Convention Center.


Read more about Kobilka, his research, and what it was like winning the Nobel Prize in the January 2024 issue of The Physiologist Magazine.



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