The fundamental basis of gene regulation, including the control of transcription as the first step in the pathway of gene expression, constitutes the research focus of Roger D. Kornberg, Ph.D., the Mrs. George A. Winzer Professor in Medicine and professor of structural biology at Stanford University School of Medicine. “You can’t understand a machine if you don’t know the place of all the pieces, and our discoveries have helped locate the parts of the machine that makes RNA,” Dr. Kornberg says. In elucidating the inner workings of RNA, his research team has isolated the proteins responsible for transcription and gene regulation, including those that form a mediator to regulate the process. His research also helps explain how disease can result when transcription goes awry and offers the potential for unlocking new therapeutic approaches. Dr. Kornberg earned his Ph.D. in chemistry from Stanford University. Following postdoctoral work at the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology in Cambridge, England, he joined the scientific staff there. He later became part of the faculty in the Department of Biological Chemistry at Harvard Medical School and eventually returned to Stanford as professor of structural biology. His recent honors include the General Motors Cancer Research Foundation’s Alfred P. Sloan Jr. Prize, the Pasarow Award in Cancer Research from the Pasarow Foundation, and Le Grand Prix Charles-Leopold Mayer from the Académie des Sciences in France. He also is a co-recipient of the Merck Award from the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. Dr. Kornberg is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.