He earns his Ph.D. in chemical physics from Stanford in 1972. He uses nuclear resonance to elucidate the mechanism of ion transport across biological membranes.

He becomes an Assistant Professor of Biological Chemistry at Harvard Medical School in 1976.

Later he moves to Stanford Medical School in 1978. Roger Kornberg is currently a Professor of Structural Biology there, and he also works at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

While a postdoctoral fellow working with Aaron Klug and Francis Crick at the Medical Research Council Laboratory of Molecular Biology in Cambridge in the 1970s, Kornberg discovers the nucleosome as the basic protein complex packaging chromosomal DNA in the nucleus of eukaryotic cells.

Kornberg is awarded the 2006 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his studies of the molecular basis of eukaryotic transcription: This is the process by which genetic information from DNA is copied to RNA, which creates proteins (sequences of amino acids).

Roger D. Kornberg is born in St. Louis, MO. His mother and his brother are biochemists.

He earns his bachelor's degree in chemistry from Harvard University in 1967.