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

t step in the transformation of genomic information into proteins. During transcription numerous molecules come together in a huge complex, called RNA polymerase II, to read the gene's DNA code and copy it onto a messenger RNA. The messenger RNA is later shipped outside the nucleus where the next steps occur.

Much of Dr. Kornberg's work over the last 30 years has revealed the identity of many of the molecules in the RNA polymerase II complex and many others that interact with the complex. In a technical tour de force he also determined what the entire complex looks like and how the different parts work together to create mRNA.

"These extraordinary 'pictures' of transcription in action open the door to understanding what controls transcription, and therefore, what controls gene expression," said Dr. Marks.

Dr. Kornberg has received worldwide accolades and numerous awards for his breakthrough studies--including the 2001 Hoppe-Seyler Award from the Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology in Germany, the 2001 Welch Award in Chemistry, the 2002 Merck Award from the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, the 2002 Le Grand Prix, from the Academie des Sciences in France, the 2005 General Motors Cancer Research Award and the 2006 Dickson Prize from the University of Pittsburgh.

He has been further acknowledged with appointments to the National Academy of Sciences, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the Japanese Biochemical Society, and the European Molecular Biology Organization. He has also served on the editorial boards of Cell, the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the Annual Review of Biochemistry, Structure, and the Journal of Biological Chemistry.

A graduate of Harvard University (B.S., Chemistry, 1967), Dr. Kornberg received his Ph.D. in Chemistry from Stanford University in 1972, and was at the MRC Laboratory in Cambridge, England from 1972 to 1975.


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Contact: Craig LeMoult
cel2113@columbia.edu
212-305-0820
Columbia University Medical Center
4-Oct-2006


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