Roger Kornberg to present Dickson Prize lecture at U of Pittsburgh's SCIENCE2006: Feel the Power

PITTSBURGH, Sept. 22 A pioneer in the field of gene regulation will present this year's Dickson Prize in Medicine Lecture at the University of Pittsburgh's sixth annual science and technology showcase, Science2006: Feel the Power. Roger D. Kornberg, Ph.D., is a Stanford University scientist known for his work focused on the transcription of genes into proteins, which are the building blocks of all cells. The lecture will begin at 11 a.m., Thursday, Oct. 5, in Alumni Hall, 4227 Fifth Ave., on Pitt's campus in Oakland.

Dr. Kornberg is one of four prominent scientists who will present plenary lectures during the two-day event, which is scheduled Oct. 5 and 6. All Science2006 events are free and open to the public.

The Dickson Prize in Medicine, the most prestigious award presented by the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, recognizes individuals who have made significant, progressive contributions to the field of medicine. Established in 1969 by the estates of Joseph Z. Dickson, M.D., and his wife, Agnes Fischer Dickson, the prize consists of a bronze medal and an award of $50,000.

Dr. Kornberg's presentation, titled "Chromatin and Transcription," is based on his research on various components of transcription, the process by which the genetic information encoded in DNA is transferred to the cellular assembly mechanism responsible for protein synthesis. Breakthroughs such as the discovery of the nucleosome the unit into which the DNA double helix and associated proteins called histones are compressed to fit within a cell's nucleus have resulted from Dr. Kornberg's work, which has greatly enhanced the understanding of the transcription process and how it is regulated.

Further investigation of the transcription machinery's structure at the molecular level is the focus of Dr. Kornberg's current research, along with the structure and function of chromatin, the DNA-protein complex found in the nucleus, and its role in the transcription process.

Dr. Kornberg, the inaugural Mrs. George A. Winzer Professor in Medicine at Stanford University, completed his undergraduate education in chemistry at Harvard University and earned his doctorate at Stanford. In 1978, after a postdoctoral fellowship in Cambridge, England, and a brief tenure in the department of biological chemistry at Harvard Medical School, Dr. Kornberg returned to Stanford, where he chaired the department of structural biology from 1984 until 1992. He has held his current post since 2003.

Science2006 showcases the University of Pittsburgh's academic strengths in science, medicine, engineering and computation, and the growing potential they hold as catalysts for economic development in the region. This year's theme, "Feel the Power," emphasizes the capacity of scientific research for driving the development of innovations in medicine and technology.

The other plenary speakers for Science2006 are Carla J. Shatz, Ph.D., Nathan Marsh Pusey Professor and chair of the department of neurobiology at Harvard Medical School; Baldomero M. Olivera, Ph.D., distinguished professor of biology at the University of Utah and an adjunct professor at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies; and Nathan S. Lewis, Ph.D., George L. Argyros Professor, professor of chemistry and principal investigator of the Beckman Institute Molecular Materials Resource Center at the California Institute of Technology.

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The program also includes spotlight sessions presented by scientists from Pitt and Carnegie Mellon University; a technology showcase highlighting recent inventions now available for licensing; a career development workshop for emerging scientists; and various networking and social events.

Complete details about Science2006 and registration information can be found online at www.science2006.pitt.edu.


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