While trying to understand the action of adrenaline, Lefkowitz discovered the 7-transmembrane G-coupled protein receptors (GPCR), a large family of cell surface receptors which are now the target of more than a third of all prescription drugs. Lefkowitz and his former postdoc, Brian Kobilka of Stanford, shared the 2012 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for discovery and characterization of GPCR. Lefkowitz spent his entire career at Duke; he is the longest-serving Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator; and winner of National Medal of Science and Shaw Prize.
Lefkowitz received the National Medal of Science from President George W. Bush
Lefkowitz was congratulated on his Nobel Prize by President Barack Obama in the Oval Office.
Lefkowitz accepting the 2012 Nobel Prize in Chemistry from King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden.