2019 Distinguished Scientist - Brian Kobilka, MD, FAHA

Brian Kobilka, MD, FAHA
Professor of Molecular and Cellular Physiology
Hélène Irwin Fagan Chair in Cardiology
Stanford School of Medicine
Stanford, CA


Dr. Kobilka received Bachelor of Science degrees in biology and chemistry from the University of Minnesota, Duluth in 1977. He graduated from Yale University School of Medicine in 1981 and completed residency training in internal medicine at the Barnes Hospital, Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, Missouri in 1984.

In 1984-89, he was a postdoctoral fellow in Dr. Robert Lefkowitz’s laboratory at Duke University, where he and his colleagues identified the gene that encodes the receptor for the hormone adrenaline. They found that the receptor was similar to receptors in the eye that capture light. It was later discovered that a family of receptors look and act in similar ways. These G-protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) are responsible for the body’s response to the majority of hormones and neurotransmitters and are the largest group of targets for new therapeutics for a broad spectrum of diseases.

In 1989, Dr. Kobilka joined the faculty of Medicine and Molecular and Cellular Physiology at Stanford University.

Kobilka focuses on the structure and mechanism of action of GPCRs. They apply a spectrum of biochemical, biophysical and structural approaches to understand GPCR signalling at the molecular level.

Dr. Kobilka is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Medicine and American Academy of Arts and Sciences. In 2012, he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry with Lefkowitz for their work on GPCRs.

head shot of male african american doctor

Want to get involved? 

The American Heart Association depends on the time and talent of volunteers to help us create a healthier world, free of heart disease and stroke.

A female doctor smiles into the camera as two male consulting in the background

Are you a FAHA?

Become a Fellow of the American Heart Association. Get details on eligibility, criteria, benefits and how to apply.