2018 Commencement Ceremony
Date: Tuesday, May 29
Time: 6:30 p.m.
Location: Jesse H. Jones Hall for the Performing Arts
There is no limit to the number of guests that can attend. The ceremony will last approximately two hours. Doors open and seating begins at 5 p.m. There is ample room for wheelchair bound attendees. Professional ushers are available for seating assistance.
Graduates should arrive no later than 5:30 p.m. Be aware that parking availability/street construction/ special events in the downtown area could delay your arrival.
Robert J. Lefkowitz, M.D. is James B. Duke professor of medicine and professor of biochemistry and chemistry at the Duke University Medical Center. He has been an investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute since 1976. Originally trained as a physician (internist and cardiologist), Dr. Lefkowitz began his research career in the late 1960s and early 1970s, when there was no clear consensus that receptors even existed. His group spent 15 years developing techniques for radioligand binding, solubilization, purification and reconstitution of the four adrenergic receptors known at the time. In 1986, Dr. Lefkowitz transformed the understanding of what had become known as G protein coupled receptors (GPCRs), when he and his colleagues cloned the gene and cDNA for the β2 adrenergic receptor, and recognized its sequence homology with rhodopsin, thus establishing them as the first members of a new family of proteins, the Seven Transmembrane Receptors (7TMRs). This superfamily is now known to be the largest, most diverse, and most therapeutically accessible. Dr. Lefkowitz’s lab also discovered and cloned the G protein coupled receptor kinases (GRKs) and β-arrestins which mediate receptor desensitization and discovered “biased” signaling through β-arrestins or G proteins. Most recently, he has been applying the tools of structural biology to understand biased signaling at atomic level resolution. He has received numerous awards and honors, including the National Medal of Science, the Shaw Prize, the Albany Prize, and the 2012 Nobel Prize in Chemistry. He was elected to the USA National Academy of Sciences in 1988, the Institute of Medicine in 1994 and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1988.