UCSF’s Elizabeth Blackburn wins Nobel Prize – San Francisco Business Times:

In ALL ARTICLES on October 5, 2009 at 11:17 am
Nobel Prize

Three U.S. scientists who discovered key aspects of how cells and animals age and how cancer cells become immortal today won the 2009 Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine.

Elizabeth Blackburn of UC San Francisco, Carol W. Greider of the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and Jack W. Szostak of Harvard Medical School share the $1.4-million award for their discovery of telomeres, small sections of DNA that protect the integrity of cellular DNA as animals and most other organisms age. They also discovered telomerase, the enzyme that manufactures telomeres and gives cancer cells their eternal life.

Blackburn, Greider
Biologists Elizabeth Blackburn, left, and Carol Greider, two of the three Nobel prize winners, are shown in March, when they won the Paul Ehrlich and Ludwig Darmstaedter Prize in Frankfurt, Germany

Elizabeth Blackburn of the University of California, San Francisco, was named the Nobel Prize winner in physiology or medicine for discovering how chromosomes are protected…


The discoveries have an impact on cancer research as well as research into aging and other diseases. Blackburn and her UCSF colleagues have found, for example, that telomeres are worn down in people who are stressed for long periods of time, like a parent caring for a chronically ill child.

Blackburn is the fourth UCSF Nobel Prize winner, joining Stanley Prusiner, Harold Varmus and former chancellor J. Michael Bishop.

Blackburn, Greider and Szostak beat out other notable scientists, including Shinya Yamanaka of UCSF and the J. David Gladstone Institutes, whose work at Kyoto University in Japan produced an embryonic-like stem cell from adult stem cells.

Yamanaka last month won the Lasker Award, considered a precursor to a Nobel Prize. It is the same award that Blackburn, Greider and Szostak won in 2006.

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