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Nobel laureate Brian Kobilka will speak at medical school's commencement

- By Tracie White

Brian Kobilka

Brian Kobilka

Brian Kobilka, MD, professor and chair of molecular and cellular physiology at the School of Medicine and winner of the 2012 Nobel Prize in chemistry, will deliver the keynote address June 15 at the school's commencement ceremony.

This year's ceremony begins at 11 a.m. on the Alumni Lawn in front of the Li Ka Shing Center for Learning and Knowledge.

Kobilka shared the Nobel with Robert Lefkowitz, MD, of Duke University, for their work on understanding the structure and function of G-protein-coupled receptors, or GPCRs, a large protein family of receptors that sense molecules outside the cell and convey chemical messages from those molecules into the cell's interior. They act as molecular switches. Roughly 800 different GPCRs have been identified to date, making them one of the largest families of human proteins. They regulate the beating of our hearts, the workings of our brains and nearly every other physiological process. About 40 percent of all medications also target these receptors.

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