Frontiers of Science: 2012 Nobel Laureate Brian K. Kobilka


October 8, 2020    
6:00 pm - 7:00 pm

Prof. Brian K. Kobilka, Stanford University School of Medicine, US
Structural insights into G protein coupled receptor activation
host: Mika Scheinin (

Registration is now open until October 6th
Please note that any audio or video recording of the seminar is strictly forbidden


Brian K. Kobilka (born in 1955) was awarded on 2012 the Nobel Prize in Chemistry together with Robert J. Lefkowitz for their research on G protein-coupled receptors. At present, Dr. Kobilka is the Hélène Irwin Fagan Chair in Cardiology and a Professor in the Department of Molecular and Cellular Physiology at Stanford University.

Brian Kobilka started his studies at the University of Minnesota in Duluth, Minnesota, and then earned his medical degree from Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut. After a medical residency in St. Louis, Missouri, he moved to Duke University in Durham, North Carolina, where he started his Nobel Prize research. For the first time, Kobilka and his coworkers identified, purified and cloned a set of genes encoding mammalian adrenergic receptors, which were then realized to be similar to rhodopsin, the light-sensitive photoreceptor in the eye. A whole family of such receptors were found to exist: the G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) – which today are considered to be the largest family of transmembrane receptors in humans. Approximately one-third of all commercially available drugs use GPCRs as targets.

After moving to Stanford University in California, Kobilka continued his work and managed to resolve and publish several high-resolution crystal structures of G protein-coupled receptors which, for the first time, revealed the molecular details of those receptors in action. Current efforts in Prof. Kobilka’s laboratory are focused on using a series of structural and biophysical tools to elucidate the dynamic structures of GPCRs and investigate the influence of pharmacological agents on GPCR signaling. In addition to his scientific achievements, Prof. Kobilka is a devoted advocate for physician-scientists. He has played an important role in integrating scientific research in the medical training curriculum at the Stanford University School of Medicine.

Selected publications

Rasmussen SG, Choi HJ, Rosenbaum DM, Kobilka TS, Thian FS, Edwards PC, Burghammer M, Ratnala VR, Sanishvili R, Fischetti RF, Schertler GF, Weis WI, Kobilka BK. 2007. Crystal structure of the human beta2 adrenergic G-protein-coupled receptor. Nature 450: 383-7

Rasmussen SG, DeVree BT, Zou Y, Kruse AC, Chung KY, Kobilka TS, Thian FS, Chae PS, Pardon E, Calinski D, Mathiesen JM, Shah ST, Lyons JA, Caffrey M, Gellman SH, Steyaert J, Skiniotis G, Weis WI, Sunahara RK, Kobilka BK. 2011. Crystal structure of the β2 adrenergic receptor-Gs protein complex. Nature 477: 549-55

Jain MK, Cheung VG, Utz PJ, Kobilka BK, Yamada T, Lefkowitz R. 2019. Saving the Endangered Physician-Scientist – A Plan for Accelerating Medical Breakthroughs. N Engl J Med. 381: 399-402

Hilger D, Kumar KK, Hu H, Pedersen MF, O’Brien ES, Giehm L, Jennings C, Eskici G, Inoue A, Lerch M, Mathiesen JM, Skiniotis G, Kobilka BK. 2020. Structural insights into differences in G protein activation by family A and family B GPCRs. Science 369: eaba3373

Maeda S, Xu J, N Kadji FM, Clark MJ, Zhao J, Tsutsumi N, Aoki J, Sunahara RK, Inoue A, Garcia KC, Kobilka BK. 2020. Structure and selectivity engineering of the M1 muscarinic receptor toxin complex. Science 369: 161-167

Huang W, Masureel M, Qu Q, Janetzko J, Inoue A, Kato HE, Robertson MJ, Nguyen KC, Glenn JS, Skiniotis G, Kobilka BK. 2020. Structure of the neurotensin receptor 1 in complex with β-arrestin 1. Nature 579: 303-308


Genral info regarding the Frontiers of Science eTALKs

  • Registration is obligatory and links to register to all Frontiers of Science Autumn 2020 seminars are available in BioCity Turku webpage ( and in our news feed.
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