News Release

Robert G. Roeder receives the 2021 Kyoto Prize in Basic Sciences: Commemorative Lecture on his 50-year journey into the expanding universe of factors and mechanisms to be released

Grant and Award Announcement

Inamori Foundation

Robert G. Roeder: One-minute digest introduction

video: Robert G. Roeder: One-minute digest introduction view more 

Credit: Courtesy of Inamori Foundation

Robert G. Roeder, Arnold and Mabel Beckman Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at The Rockefeller University, received the 2021 Kyoto Prize in Basic Sciences for his discovery of the principle of gene transcription mechanisms in eukaryotes. Roeder’s  Commemorative Lecture “Regulation of Transcription in Animal Cells: A 50-year Journey Revealing an Expanding Universe of Factors and Mechanisms” will be released on November 10, 2021, 10:00 AM JST at the 2021 Kyoto Prize Special Website.

In his lecture, Roeder traces his major and many discoveries over fifty years of research in DNA transcription. “For ultimate success and long-term success in this business, one has to have an extreme passion,” says Roeder, looking back at his research career when asked to offer advice for aspiring researchers. The lecture gives you an overview of the processes that he has continued to produce outstanding achievements with a lot of hard work, dedication, and that “extreme passion.”

Robert G. Roeder has revealed the principle of the regulatory mechanism of transcription in eukaryotes through his over 50 years of transcriptional research, by identifying functions of a series of factors such as three distinct RNA polymerases, basic transcription factors, one of the first gene-specific factors, and regulators in transcription from chromatin. Through his achievements, he has made significant contributions to develop present life science.

Roeder and the other two 2021 Kyoto Prize laureates are introduced on the 2021 Kyoto Prize special website with information about their work, profiles, and three-minute introduction videos. The Kyoto Prize in Advanced Technology for this year went to Andrew Chi-Chih Yao, Professor of Institute for Interdisciplinary Information Sciences at Tsinghua University, and Arts and Philosophy to Bruno Latour, Professor Emeritus of the Paris Institute of Political Studies (Sciences Po).

About Kyoto Prize

The Kyoto Prize is an international award of Japanese origin, presented to individuals who have made significant contributions to the progress of science, the advancement of civilization, and the enrichment and elevation of the human spirit. The Prize is granted in the three categories of Advanced Technology, Basic Sciences; Arts and Philosophy, each of which comprises four fields, making a total of 12 fields. Every year, one Prize is awarded in each of the three categories with prize money of 100 million yen per category.

One of the distinctive features of the Kyoto Prize is that it recognizes both “science” and “arts and philosophy” fields. This is because of its founder Kazuo Inamori’s conviction that the future of humanity can be assured only when there is a balance between scientific development and the enrichment of the human spirit.

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