Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2006

This year’s Nobel Prize in Chemistry goes to:

Roger Kornberg

“for his studies of the molecular basis of eukaryotic transcription”

Dr Kornberg is Professor of Medicine at the Stanford University School of Medicine in California.

The first thing to note about Roger Kornberg is that he follows his father in winning a Nobel prize. Arthur Kornberg won the 1959 Nobel Prize for Medicine.

Roger Kornberg wins this year’s Chemistry prize for showing how cells take information from genes to produce protein. Kornberg’s contribution is to show how genetic information is converted into molecules called messenger RNA, which in turn pass information to the protein-making machinery within cells.

Kornberg’s work is important not only as it describes the fine detail of life processes at a biochemical level, but because disturbances in transcription lead to cancer and many other types of disease. A full understanding of the transcription process is vital also in the development of therapies from stem cells.

Congratulations to Roger Kornberg!

Keywords: science chemistry medicine