Awards : Hall of Fame Award

Stephen B. Liggett, M.D. ’82

Stephen B. Liggett, M.D., is a professor of internal medicine and molecular pharmacology and physiology; the vice dean for research at the University of South Florida Morsani College of Medicine, and an associate vice president for research at USF Health.

Liggett received his Bachelor of Science degree in Physics at the Georgia Institute of Technology and attended the University of Miami Leonard M. Miller School of Medicine. During his fourth year of medical school, he worked in the laboratory of one of his early mentors, Lincoln Potter, M.D., who was the chair of the Department of Pharmacology. His focus was on receptor biology, which became his life-long research interest. Liggett then served his residency in internal medicine at Washington University School of Medicine/Barnes Hospital in St. Louis, Missouri. He completed a fellowship in pulmonary and critical care medicine at the same institution. He then went to Duke University as a fellow at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute in the laboratory of Robert J. Lefkowitz, M.D., who won the 2012 Nobel Prize in Chemistry. There he studied the molecular biology and pharmacology of G-protein coupled receptors, the largest superfamily of proteins in the body.

In 1990, Liggett became an assistant professor in the Departments of Medicine and Pharmacology at Duke, and subsequently became the Taylor Endowed Chair of Medicine and director of the Pulmonary and Critical Care Division at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine. He was the first to discover common genetic variants (termed single nucleotide polymorphisms) of drug targets such as receptors, which redefined the field of pharmacogenetics. Liggett’s work has concentrated on structure and function of adrenergic receptors, with an emphasis on asthma and heart failure. He later moved to the University of Maryland School of Medicine to become associate dean for interdisciplinary research.

Continuously funded by the National Institutes of Health for more than 27 years, Liggett has published more than 250 papers, and his papers have been cited in more than 27,000 times.