Robert J. Lefkowitz, MD, James B. Duke Professor of Medicine and Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator at Duke University Medical Center, made a remarkable contribution when he and his colleagues cloned the gene first for the b-adrenergic receptor, and then for a total of 8 adrenergic receptors. This led to the discovery that all G protein-coupled receptors have a similar molecular structure.
Solomon H. Snyder, MD, Distinguished Service Professor in the Department of Neuroscience at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, unraveled the mystery behind receptors that controlled pain and pleasure in the brain. He was the first to identify receptors in the brain that are the targets of opiates. His findings led to the development of drugs to treat schizophrenia, which work by blocking the neurotransmitter receptor for dopamine.
Ronald M. Evans, PhD, Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator at The Salk Institute for Biological Studies, successfully cloned the first nuclear hormone receptor, the human glucocorticoid receptor. This action led to the finding of a superfamily of nuclear hormone receptors, all with similar molecular and genetic structures. His nuclear hormone receptors are among the most widely investigated group of pharmaceutical targets in the world.