Blackburn, Elizabeth Helen

Blackburn, Elizabeth Helen,

1948–, Australian-American molecular biologist, b. Hobart, Tasmania, Australia, Ph.D. Cambridge, 1975. Blackburn was a professor at the Univ. of California, Berkeley, from 1978 to 1990, when she transferred to California's San Francisco campus. She shared the 2009 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine with Jack SzostakSzostak, Jack William,
1952–, American molecular biologist, b. London, England, Ph.D. Cornell, 1977. Szostak has been a professor at Harvard Medical School and a researcher at Massachusetts General Hospital since 1977.
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 and Carol GreiderGreider, Carol Widney,
1961–, American molecular biologist, b. San Diego, Calif., Ph.D. Univ. of California, Berkeley, 1987. Greider was a researcher and professor at the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory in New York from 1987 to 1997, when she joined the faculty at Johns
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 for solving the problem of how chromosomeschromosome
, structural carrier of hereditary characteristics, found in the nucleus of every cell and so named for its readiness to absorb dyes. The term chromosome
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 make complete copies of themselves during cell division and how they protect themselves against degradation during this process. The researchers demonstrated that the ends of the chromosomes, called as telomeres, are responsible. With Greider, Blackburn identified and characterized telomerase, the enzyme that forms telomeres. With Szostak, she discovered that a unique DNA sequence in the telomeres protects the chromosomes from degradation. The work of the three researchers increased understanding of cell replication and shed light on disease mechanisms, stimulating the development of potential new disease therapies.
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