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Nobel Prize in Chemistry for 2006 goes to Roger D. Kornberg


Scientist examines disturbances in the transcription process

Stockholm/Berlin, 5 October 2006 - The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences has awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for 2006 to Springer author Roger D. Kornberg “for his studies of the molecular basis of eukaryotic transcription”. The prize of 10 million Swedish kroners (about €1.1 million) will be presented to Kornberg at a ceremony in Stockholm on 10 December. His research could provide insight into fighting cancer and developing stem cell research.

In order for our bodies to make use of the information stored in the genes, a copy must first be made and transferred to the outer parts of the cells. There it is used as an instruction for protein production. The copying process is called transcription. Roger Kornberg was the first to create an actual picture of how transcription works at a molecular level in the important group of organisms called eukaryotes (organisms whose cells have a well-defined nucleus). Mammals like ourselves are included in this group, as is ordinary yeast. Understanding how transcription works is of fundamental medical importance. Disturbances in the transcription process are involved in many human illnesses such as cancer, heart disease and various kinds of inflammation. Knowing more about the transcription process is also important for the development of different therapeutic applications of stem cells.

Roger D. Kornberg (59) received his PhD from Stanford University, CA, USA. He is the Mrs. George A. Winzer Professor in Medicine at Stanford University School of Medicine. Kornberg is co-author of the article “Dosage suppressors of the dominant G1 cyclin mutantCLN3-2: Identification of a yeast gene encoding a putative RNA/ssDNA binding protein” published in the Springer journal Molecular and General Genetics.

Springer authors have already been awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry on 49 previous occasions, including such luminaries as Otto Hahn and Linus C. Pauling. All total, Springer now counts 151 Nobel Prizewinners among its authors in the fields of medicine, chemistry, physics, and economics.


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