Nobel Prize In Chemistry 2012

By: Yash Dalvi, Beth Crawford, Andrew Cui



Brian K. Kobilka

Born: May 30, 1955

Place of Birth: Little Falls, MN

Date of Death: N/A

Education: University of Minnesota, Yale University

Place of Work: Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, CA

Scientific Field: Biochemistry

Interesting Fact: Biked in the Tour de France

Robert Lefkowitz

Born: April 15, 1943

Place of Birth: New York, NY

Date of Death: N/A

Education: Columbia College of Columbia University in the City of New York, Harvard University, Columbia University, Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons

Place of Work: Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, NC, USA

Scientific Field: Biochemistry

Interesting Fact: Played piano and drums

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Research and Experiments:

  • Knew that cells had “sensors” that reacted to light and hormones
  • Wanted to locate the sensors to understand them better
  • Attached radioactive iodine to hormone which allowed them to track the sensor
  • Lefkowitz and his research team found them and extracted them
  • Kobilka was hired to find the gene that codes for the receptor
  • Had to pick it out of the gigantic human genome


  • Found the gene that codes for the receptors
  • Found that they were similar to the receptors in eyes that react to light
  • Concluded that they were from a same family
  • Took a picture of the receptor in action
  • Added to the understanding of G protein coupled receptors

Why they won:

  • The Nobel Prize was awarded for the discovery of G-Protein Coupled Receptors (a type of receptor in the body that allows for responses to the environment)
  • The discovery of these receptors was important to further knowledge of the body’s functions
  • Kobilka helped activate the receptor and the crystallized molecular structure of a G-protein-coupled receptor.
  • This discovery did not challenge any previous knowledge, but rather it built on previous knowledge.
  • Currently, the structure and functions of the body is being better understood.
  • In the future this discovery will aid in the development of of new drugs and treatments.
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