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Symposium to Honor Research of Robert Lefkowitz

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Duke Health News 919-660-1306

DURHAM, N.C. -- Numerous Nobel Prizewinners and other
leading scientists will come to Duke April 24 and 25 for a
public symposium commemorating the 60th birthday of Duke
Medical Center's most honored scientist, Robert Lefkowitz, M.D.
Lefkowitz is a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator, a
James B. Duke Professor of Medicine and a professor of
biochemistry.

The symposium on "Receptors and their Signals," will take
place in the Geneen Auditorium of the Fuqua School of Business,
beginning on April 24 with an 8 a.m. registration. The program
begins 9 a.m. No prior registration is necessary.

Lefkowitz is renowned for his seminal research on
"seven-transmembrane-spanning receptors," a group that
constitutes by far the largest and most ubiquitous family of
receptors in nature. These receptors -- protein switches that
nestle themselves in the cell membrane -- include the beta
adrenergic receptors that mediate the body's fight-or-flight
response, as well as virtually all sensory receptors.

Such receptors respond to external signals such as hormones,
switching on machinery within the cell to respond to those
signals. The beta adrenergic receptors, for example, respond to
the hormone adrenaline, which acts on cells to increase heart
rate, blood pressure, breathing and metabolic energy
production.

Basic research on such receptors in the Lefkowitz laboratory
is contributing to the development of a wide array of drugs to
treat disorders including heart disease, high blood pressure,
asthma and pain.

According to Pascal Goldschmidt, M.D., chair of the
department of medicine, "Bob Lefkowitz is one of the greatest
scientists of our times and this milestone in his life will be
celebrated with a symposium that will not only provide a
formidable review of the universe of cell receptors and
signaling, but also provide the attendees with an opportunity
to hear the story directly from the most distinguished
discoverers of our century."

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