Obituary: Kornberg, Nobel Prize winner, 89

Arthur Kornberg, M.D., former chair of microbiology at the School of Medicine and a Nobel Prize winner, died Friday, Oct. 26, in Stanford, Calif., of respiratory failure. He was 89.

In 1947, Kornberg was research investigator in the Department of Biological Chemistry at the School of Medicine with professors Carl Cori, M.D., and Gerty Cori, M.D., who won the Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine that year for their discovery of the course of the catalytic conversion of glycogen.

Kornberg chaired the Department of Microbiology from

1952-59 and shared the 1959 Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine with former School of Medicine colleague Severo Ochoa, M.D., for their work in the discovery of the mechanisms in the biological synthesis of deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) and ribonucleic acid (RNA). Kornberg is credited for discovering the chemical mechanism by which the amount of DNA that comprises a chromosome gets constructed in the cell.

Kornberg left WUSTL in 1959 for Stanford University, where he finished his career and ran a lab until his recent hospitalization.

“He was an extraordinary intellect and defined for me what a scientist should be,” said Larry J. Shapiro, M.D., executive vice chancellor for medical affairs and dean of the School of Medicine. “Arthur was a very generous person who influenced many and he will surely be missed and remembered.”

Kornberg is survived by his wife Carolyn Frey Dixon Kornberg; sons Roger, Thomas and Kenneth; and eight grandchildren.

Memorial contributions may be made to the charity of one’s choice or to The Dr. Arthur Kornberg Memorial Fund, Stanford University Office of Medical Development, 2700 Sand Hill Road, Menlo Park, CA 94025.