DURHAM, N.C. President Bush today named Robert J. Lefkowitz, M.D., Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator at Duke University Medical Center, a recipient of the National Medal of Science for contributions to the biological sciences. Dr. Lefkowitz is being honored for a lifetime of research into understanding the largest, most important and most therapeutically accessible receptor system that controls the body's response to drugs and hormones.
President Bush will present Dr. Lefkowitz with the medal, which is the nation's highest honor for science, at a ceremony on Sept. 29 at the White House.
"Even for a highly decorated and often recognized scientist like Bob, this represents a remarkable and extraordinary achievement," said Victor J. Dzau, MD, Chancellor for Health Affairs and CEO, Duke University Health System. "I am particularly excited and pleased to see Dr. Lefkowitz' work recognized in this way as his discoveries represent the very best in translational science and medicine and have served to ultimately improve the health and lives of millions of people around the globe."
The National Medal of Science was established by Congress in 1959 as a Presidential Award to be given to individuals "deserving of special recognition by reason of their outstanding contributions to knowledge in the physical, biological, mathematical, or engineering sciences." This recognition now also includes the social and behavioral sciences. A committee of 12 scientists and engineers is appointed by the President to evaluate nominees for the award.
Dr. Lefkowitz, a Duke faculty member since 1973, is receiving the award for his concept, proof and studies of G-protein-coupled receptors and related enzymes, proteins and signaling pathways. These receptors, which are located on the surface of the membranes surrounding cells, are the targets of almost half of the drugs on the market today, including antihistamines, ulcer medications and beta
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Duke University Medical Center