Roger D Kronberg

Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2006


- born April 24, 1947 in St. Louis, MO

- studied at Stanford University & Harvard University

- biochemistry & structural chemistry

*his father, Arthur Kronberg, won a Nobel prize previously, they are the 6th pair of father/son to win s Nobel prize*

Lars Thelander, who was on the selection committee for the chemistry Nobel, said...

"this allows us for the first time to see the chemical details of transcription. They were unknown before."

What He Did

- he was the first to create an actual picture of how transcription works at a scientific level including organism called eukaryotes (cells with a nucleus, human and mammals as well as yeast are included in these group)

- figured out a way to use a complicated process known as X-Ray Crystallography (taking 3D pictures of RNA molecules, lipids and proteins) to determine the structure of RNA polymerase, an important molecule in the transcription process

-conducted many experiments that included observing and describing the process of how simple yeast cells transcribed & concluded the idea that this process is almost the same throughout all kinds of cells

- explained how the process sometimes goes awry, leading to birth defects, cancer and other diseases

Why He Won

- included figuring how information was copied from DNA to mRNA (a process known as transcription) through enzymes

- led to a breakthrough in understanding how information is passed on through one cell to another

- uncover the processes that are at work to allow the process but also the structure of one of the major proteins responsible for transcription

- understood the basic instructions for life are passed on from one organism to another

- number of illnesses, such as heart disease, cancer, and certain kinds of inflammation, have been linked to disturbances in the transcription process

- challenged previous knowledge by discovering the nucleosome and discovering that signals to the RNA are made by another protein that they called Mediator (the central processing unit of gene regulation)

How is it Being Used

scientists such as bioengineers are using this knowledge to figure out how to cure diseases caused by faulty transcription processes such as cancer