Nobel Prize winner awarded honorary doctorate

Chancellor Alan Finkel (L) and Professor Brian Kobilka (R) CREDIT: Greg Ford photography

Chancellor Alan Finkel (L) and Professor Brian Kobilka (R) CREDIT: Greg Ford photography

Nobel laureate Adjunct Professor Brian Kobilka MD has been awarded an honorary doctorate from Monash University. 

The degree of Doctor of Laws honoris causa was conferred by Monash University at a graduation ceremony in Melbourne this week. 

Professor Kobilka, Chair of the Department of Molecular and Cellular Physiology at Stanford University in the United States, was awarded the doctorate for his research into G-protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs). 

In 2012, Professor Kobilka won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his studies in GPCRs. 

Every cell in your body is covered with GPCRs, tiny membrane proteins that enable it to sense its environment and allowing it to adapt to new conditions. 

In Professor Kobilka’s laboratory, work focuses on the structure and mechanism of action of G-protein-coupled receptors, which constitute the largest family of receptors of hormones and neurotransmitters in the human genome. GPCRs are the largest group of targets for new therapeutics for a very broad spectrum of diseases.

Professor Kobilka’s research opens up innovative new paths for developing whole new classes of drugs that can differentiate between the many different adrenergic-receptor subtypes, potentially reducing or eliminating side effects.

Professor 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, St Louis, Missouri in 1984.

Vice-Chancellor Ed Byrne commended Professor Kobilka for his work.

"It is a pleasure to award the doctorate to Professor Kobilka for his significant contributions," Professor Byrne said.

Over Monash University’s history, honorary degrees have been presented to dignitaries including Vice President of the Republic of Indonesia, His Excellency Professor Dr Boediono (2013), Nobel Laureate Professor Dan Shechtman (2012), business leader Sir Rod Eddington (2011), former Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser (2010), Musician Nick Cave and architect John Denton (2007), Author David Williamson (1990), Mountaineer Sir Edmund Hillary (1985) and his Royal Highness, Prince Charles, Prince of Wales (1981).