This is one smart family (and apparently, this year at least, America is one smart country):
American Roger D. Kornberg, whose father won a Nobel Prize a half-century ago, was awarded the prize in chemistry Wednesday for his studies of how cells take information from genes to produce proteins.
The work is important for medicine, because disturbances in that process are involved in illnesses like cancer, heart disease and various kinds of inflammation. And learning more about the process is key to using stem cells to treat disease.
Kornberg, 59, a professor at the Stanford University School of Medicine, said medical benefits from his research have taken root.
“There are … already many therapies, many drugs that are in development in trials or already available and there will be many more,” he said. “Significant benefits to human health are already forthcoming. I think there will be many many more.”
Kornberg’s award, following the Nobels for medicine and physics earlier this week, completes the first American sweep of the Nobel science prizes since 1983.
Americans have won or shared in all the chemistry Nobels since 1992. The last time the chemistry Nobel was given to just one person was in 1999.
Kornberg’s father, Arthur, shared the 1959 Nobel medicine prize with Severo Ochoa for studies of how genetic information is transferred from one DNA molecule to another.