Dr. Liggett inducted into UM Medical Alumni Association Hall of Fame

USF Health’s Stephen B. Liggett, MD, was inducted into the University of Miami’s Medical Alumni Association Hall of Fame on March 2. Dr. Liggett, vice dean for research at the USF Health Morsani College of Medicine, associate vice president for research at USF Health, and a professor of internal medicine and molecular pharmacology and physiology, received his MD degree from UM Miller School of Medicine in 1982.

USF Health’s Stephen B. Liggett, MD

The UM Hall of Fame Award, typically one each year, has been given since 1996 to select alumni at least 10 years post-graduation who have achieved national or international recognition for outstanding contributions in academic, research or societal aspects of medicine.

Dr. Liggett was the 27th recipient to be honored. He was lauded for his tremendous impact on the medical field: 18 grants from the National Institutes of Health, 23 issued or pending patents, 250 publications, which have been cited more than 27,000 times, and his reputation as a renowned author and worldwide lecturer.

“Dr. Liggett was the first scientist to identify that adrenergic receptors have different molecular and genetic variations. This means that alpha and beta receptors in different people may behave differently,” said Alberto A. Mitrani MD, chair of the Alumni Awards Selection Committee, and an associate professor of clinical medicine. “Clinically, a heart or asthma medication may work more effectively for one person over another. Due to Dr. Liggett’s work, we now know why…The implications of his work will significantly advance drug development, improving care for a myriad of conditions.”

During his fourth year of medical school, Dr. Liggett worked in the laboratory of one of his early mentors, Lincoln Potter, PhD. There he began focusing on receptor biology, which became his life-long research interest.

His research then took him to Duke University as a fellow at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute in the laboratory of Robert J. Lefkowitz, MD, who won the 2012 Nobel Prize in Chemistry. Dr. Liggett studies the molecular biology and pharmacology of G-protein coupled receptors, the largest superfamily of proteins in the body

“As a faculty member at a school of medicine, you really have the chance to make a difference, either clinically, in the classroom, or some mixture of that,” Dr. Liggett said at the induction ceremony. “As faculty, we should never forget how important that is in the lives of our students.”

For more on Dr. Liggett’s research and background, click here.