Kobilka, Brian Kent
Brian Kent Kobilka, 1955–, American physician, b. Little Falls, Minn., M.D. Yale, 1981. He was a researcher at Duke Univ. from 1981 to 1989, where he worked with Robert Lefkowitz; in 1989 he joined the faculty at Stanford. Kobilka was the joint recipient of the 2012 Nobel Prize for Chemistry with Lefkowitz for their studies of G-protein-coupled receptors. These versatile biological sensors play critical roles in virtually all known physiological processes including sight, smell, and taste; regulation of heart rate and blood pressure; pain tolerance; and glucose metabolism. Kobilka's work in the 1980s helped identify these sensors as a related family of receptors. The work of Kobilka and Lefkowitz has important applications in the pharmaceutical industry; about half of all medications act on these receptors.