Columbia University awards 2006 Horwitz Prize to biologist who explained gene transcription

ished scientific minds in the United States," said Dr. Kornberg. "As a Horwitz Prize winner, I will be joining an outstanding group of the world's leading scientists and scholars, and it's truly an honor to be counted among them."

The Louisa Gross Horwitz Prize Lectures, where Dr. Kornberg will give presentations about his research, will be held on Tuesday, November 21. The first lecture will be at noon in Davis Auditorium in Shapiro Hall (500 West 120th Street, Campus Level) at Columbia University's Morningside Campus. The second lecture will be given at 3pm in the College of Physicians & Surgeons building (650 West 168th Street), Alumni Auditorium, at Columbia University Medical Center. For more information about the lectures, visit http://www.cumc.columbia.edu/events/deanlectures/.

"Perhaps more than any other single researcher, Dr. Kornberg's work lets us understand the first step in how information in the genome comes to life," said Andrew R. Marks, M.D., chair of the Horwitz Prize Committee, as well as the Wu Professor of Molecular Cardiology and chairman of the Department of Physiology and Cellular Biophysics at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons.

The genome is silent, Dr. Kornberg says, until molecular machines in the cell transform genomic code into proteins. But even though all cells in a multi-cellular organism contain the same genome, different types of cells look and act differently.

Normal skin, blood and brain cells vary from each other because each uses a different assortment of genes that are turned on and off at precise moments. Disease often occurs when genes are turned on or off at the wrong moments, so a better understanding of what controls gene expression may eventually lead to better ways to improve human health.

Dr. Kornberg's efforts to understand what controls gene expression have focused on the very firs

Contact: Craig LeMoult
Columbia University Medical Center

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