Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 2009
Elizabeth H. Blackburn, Carol W. Greider, Jack W. Szostak
DNA carries coding and noncoding sequences. Noncoding DNA both
regulates and ensures the continued inheritance of DNA’s coding information.
In eukaryotes, by protecting the chromosome ends and thereby the
chromosomes themselves, telomeric DNA is a class of noncoding DNA that
ensures the stable inheritance of the genetic material. Research begun in the
1930s on the cytogenetics of telomeres was followed by a molecular understanding
of telomeric DNA and its maintenance, which began in the 1970s
and continues apace today. This fundamental, question-driven basic research
has led into realms of human health and disease that have turned out to
inform medicine in new ways." Elizabeth Helen Blackburn "
Elizabeth Helen Blackburn, AC, FRS (born 26 November 1948 in Hobart, Tasmania- her parents Harold Blackburn and Marcia (Jack), both of whom were physicians) is an Australian-born American biological researcher
In 1975 she is Married to John W. Sedat, professor of biochemistry and biophysics , she have one son his name is Benjamin
|Elizabeth H Blackburn& her husband|
She discovered the molecular nature of telomeres - the ends of eukaryotic chromosomes that serve as protective caps essential for preserving the genetic information - and the ribonucleoprotein enzyme, telomerase. Blackburn and her research team at the University of California, San Francisco are working with various cells including human cells, with the goal of understanding telomerase and telomere biology.
Blackburn earned her B.Sc. (1970) and M.Sc. (1972) degrees from the University of Melbourne in Australia, and her Ph.D. (1975) from the University of Cambridge in England. She did her postdoctoral work in Molecular and Cellular Biology from 1975 to 1977 at Yale.
In 1978, Blackburn joined the faculty at the University of California at Berkeley in the Department of Molecular Biology. In 1990, she joined the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at UC San Francisco, where she served as Department Chair from 1993 to 1999. Blackburn is currently a faculty member in Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics at UCSF. She is also a Non-Resident Fellow of the Salk Institute.
Throughout her career, Blackburn has been honored by her peers as the recipient of many prestigious awards. She was elected President of the American Society for Cell Biology for the year 1998. Blackburn is an elected Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (1991), the Royal Society of London (1992), the American Academy of Microbiology (1993), and the American Association for the Advancement of Science (2000).
She was elected Foreign Associate of the National Academy of Sciences in 1993, and was elected as a Member of the Institute of Medicine in 2000. She was awarded the Albert Lasker Medical Research Award in Basic Medical Research (2006). In 2007 she was named one of TIME Magazine’s 100 Most influential People and she is the 2008 North American Laureate for L’Oreal-UNESCO For Women in Science.
In 2009, Dr. Blackburn was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine
Elizabeth H. Blackburn Banquet Speech
Your Majesties, Your Royal Highnesses, Ladies and Gentlemen.
On behalf of my two co-awardees, Carol Greider and Jack Szostak, and myself, we want to convey our thanks and appreciation to the Karolinska Institutet and to the Nobel Foundation for this very great award. We each feel privileged and deeply honored to be recognized by the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine.
The journeys that have brought each of us here have been long and varied: they range from traveling from Tasmania, Australia, to study in the UK and then in the USA in my case, from the UK to Canada to the USA in Jack's case, and from California and then later to New York and Baltimore in Carol's case. Similarly, our scientific journeys have also taken us across a wide spectrum of biology. Why? Because we believe that basic science research is the key to continued advances in, and applications to medicine. Yet biology sometimes reveals its fundamental principles through what may seem at first to be arcane and bizarre.
Consider the tiny pond organism Tetrahymena thermophila – the key to our understanding telomeres and our being able to discover telomerase. I have to tell you about this organism because it is so fascinating – not only does it have many more tiny chromosomes than most organisms, but also, I cannot resist telling you, is has not a mere two sexes as we do, but SEVEN sexes – so who knows what is going on in the water under the still dark surfaces of ponds! And we should not forget our gratitude also to the humble bakers' and brewers' yeast - which also, of course, provide us with delicious bread and enjoyable drinks! All three of us believe in the value of basic science as the source of ever deeper understanding and appreciation of our amazing world, an appreciation which is an essential and beautiful aspect of our culture. And, if we had not been able to use these seemingly oddball organisms because of the advantages they offered as experimental systems for biological research, I don't know when we would have learned about telomeres and telomerase. And sometimes, having the freedom to do novel experiments, as we did, sometimes with obscure creatures, is important. Our early experiments were long shots: but there are times when one should just try something out to see what will happen – even if it does sound a bit crazy! Because our findings have led to medical implications that reach into the realms of human diseases and aging.
Lastly, I and my co-awardees have many people we would like to thank: our families and our scientific teachers, some of whom are here tonight, and our colleagues. And our wholehearted thanks from all three of us go out to all the people of Sweden for this wonderful honor
Elizabeth H. Blackburn Honors & Awards
Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 2009