2001 - Elizabeth Blackburn - NOBEL 2009

Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics
University of California
San Francisco, CA

Dr. Elizabeth H. Blackburn is being honored for her contributions to the discovery of telomerase and its role in maintaining the telomere, an essential feature of all chromosomes. Dr. Blackburn discovered the enzyme that creates telomeres—telomerase—with her graduate student at the time, Carol Greider. Inappropriate expression or misregulation of telomerase is linked to cancer, and thus this enzyme has become a prime target for novel cancer therapies. None of this understanding would have been possible without the fundamental work of Dr. Blackburn, who uncovered telomerase, demonstrated its universality in the eukaryotic world, and characterized its distinctive mechanism of action.
Dr. Blackburn received her PhD in Molecular Biology in 1975 at the University of Cambridge, England. She served a postdoctoral fellowship in Molecular and Cellular Biology from 1975-1977 at Yale University, New Haven, CT. She began her career at the University of California by serving a postdoctoral fellowship in 1978 and has held various academic positions at that institution. She is currently Professor and Chair, Department of Microbiology and Immunology, and Professor, Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics at the University of California, San Francisco, CA.
Dr. Blackburn and President Monti, at the Award Ceremony in 2001
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