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Researcher Funded by American Heart Association Named Nobel Co-Recipient

by Kimberly R. on Monday, October 22, 2012

Duke University researcher Robert Lefkowitz, M.D., on Wednesday was named the co-recipient of the 2012 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for work funded in part by the American Heart Association.

Lefkowitz won along with co-recipient Brian Kobilka, M.D., of Stanford University for studies of G-protein-coupled receptors, which allow the body’s cells to sense and respond to internal and external signals, such as flavors, odor, light and danger. Studies of this kind have been instrumental in the development of more effective drugs to treat cardiovascular disease and other illnesses. 

 “Through their groundbreaking research in protein receptors, Dr. Lefkowitz and Dr. Kobilka have brought forth discoveries with the potential to transform our approaches to treating disease,” American Heart Association CEO Nancy Brown said.
 
“The American Heart Association is proud to have provided research funding support to Dr. Lefkowitz nearly four decades ago, and we are grateful for his contributions to our mission since the 1980s as a member of our Council on Basic Cardiovascular Sciences,” she said.  
 
Lefkowitz, the James B. Duke Professor of Medicine at Duke University Medical Center, becomes the 13th researcher funded by the American Heart Association to win the Nobel Prize. He received research funding from the association from 1973 to 1979. Support for scientists who are early in their career is a key priority of the association’s research program. 
 
In 2009, Lefkowitz won our Research Achievement Award, also for his studies of receptors. The award cited his “transformative discoveries of cellular receptors, seminal findings that have created a cascade of biomedical innovation leading to more effective treatments for human disease.”

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