The Robert J. Lefkowitz Society

The Robert J. Lefkowitz Society provides a home for MD and MD/PhD post-graduate trainees who are in the Duke University School of Medicine and are pursuing careers with a primary focus on basic and translational research as physician-investigators.

Robert Lefkowitz, MD

Through formal and informal mentoring relationships, the Lefkowitz Society provides promising post-graduate trainees with a greater understanding of how to develop successful academic careers.

The Society helps members grow opportunities to develop successful research projects, and helps them find appropriate research mentors and investigative teams as early as possible in order to enhance their future research success and productivity. Members will benefit from direct interactions with senior physician-investigators at Duke through a series of dinner programs and other activities.

The Lefkowitz Society is named for Robert J. Lefkowitz, MD, professor of medicine in the Division of Cardiology and recipient of the Nobel Prize for Chemistry 2012.

In his 40 years as a Duke researcher, Dr. Lefkowitz has mentored more than 200 trainees who have come through his lab. He has embraced the opportunity to serve as a role model and informal mentor for members of the eponymous Lefkowitz Society.

Society details

The Lefkowitz Society comprises selected Duke post-graduate trainees with either an MD or MD/PhD dual degrees and a significant interest in pursuing a research-intensive academic career.

The Society engages ~10 new members per year and membership extends throughout their training as long as the research-intensive career focus remains.

  • The Society is overseen by a program director appointed by the Dean of the School of Medicine. The program director assists members in selecting their primary research mentors and in identifying funding opportunities.
  • Members are selected through a nomination and review process coordinated by the Society program director, with input from residency program leaders, department chairs, division chiefs and fellowship directors.
  • Following the vetting process, a formal letter signed by the program director is issued to each approved candidate, inviting the post-graduate trainee to be a member of the society.
  • The Lefkowitz Society holds up to six dinner meetings per year. Senior physician-investigators, from Duke and elsewhere, are invited to these meetings and asked to share career advice and scientific perspectives. Selected fellows are also invited and engaged to participate in the process.
  • Society members may request financial support to attend scientific meetings over the course of residency or fellowship training. These requests will be coordinated by the Society program director and chief residents to ensure that no scheduling issues affecting patient care staffing arise.
  • Society members will also be supported to attend institutional career development activities, such as the grant writing seminar and leadership programs offered by the School of Medicine and the Office of Physician-Scientist Development.
  • The Society co-sponsors an annual symposium with the Office of Physician-Scientist Development to highlight Society members' research activities along with other physician-scientists. In addition, members will be invited to represent the Society at Duke Clinical and Basic Science Days, and other opportunities as they arise.
  • Society members will participate in recruitment events for prospective research-focused residents.
  • Society members will be given priority for selection into fellowship training programs, as well as priority consideration for physician-scientist funding mechanisms if they remain on faculty at Duke after completion of their training here.
  • Society members will be eligible for additional research support to allow continuation of research projects through the course of residency training, based on specific requests made through the Society program director and their department chair's office.
  • Selected fellows in the Department of Medicine will be encouraged to engage with Society members and their mentors in order to provide additional guidance and perspective.

Finding funding opportunity resources

Networking opportunity resources (find collaborators on campus, or nearby)

Grant writing resources

Shared resources on campus

Research with human subjects resource

Learn more

For more information, please contact Gerard Blobe, MD, PhD, Professor of Medicine and Lefkowitz Society Program Director, at