October 19, 2012
Dr. Brian K. Kobilka, the co-recipient of the 2012 Nobel Prize in Chemistry, will speak at the UW Health Sciences Center in Seattle Tuesday, Oct. 23. His talk, which starts at 10:30 a.m. in Hogness Auditorium, is free and open to all, with an informal reception starting at 10 a.m.
A live video feed of his presentation also will be shown in Orin Smith Auditorium, UW Medicine South Lake Union, 815 Republican, Seattle.
Kobilka, a professor of cellular and molecular physiology at Stanford University, will discuss his latest findings in the research that earned him international acclaim. His talk is titled, "Structural insights into the dynamic process of G protein-coupled receptor activation."
G protein-coupled receptors, which are situated across the cell membrane, help provide information from the outside world to the inside of living cells. The more than 1,000 different G protein-coupled receptors in mammals play a key role in the neurobiology and physiology of all animals. The receptors are activated by odors, by brain chemical messengers like dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin, by adrenaline, by light and by certain types of proteins.
The receptors are crucial for motion, emotion, behavior, vision, memory, and reproduction, to name a few of their actions. More than 40 percent of medications -- including widely prescribed drugs for high blood pressure and asthma -- act via G protein-coupled receptors.
Despite being targets for many therapeutic drugs, the molecular architecture of G protein-coupled receptors have been difficult for scientists to obtain. Dr. Wim Hol, UW professor of biochemistry, explained that Kobilka not only solved, in atomic detail, the 3-dimensional structure of several G protein-coupled receptors, he also unraveled how these receptors interact with G proteins to convey external signals to the interior of living cells.
Kobilka learned Oct. 10 that he and his colleague at Duke University, Dr. Robert Lefkowitz, would share the 2012 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for their work on G coupled protein receptors.
A graduate of Yale University School of Medicine, Kobilka trained as an internal medicine physician in critical care and emergency room practice before entering a career in basic science.
His Oct. 23 talk is sponsored by the the UW Deparment of Biochemistry.