Dr. Elizabeth H. Blackburn delivered the 2nd Annual Leaders in Biomedicine Lecture, "Roles of telomeres and telomerase in human health and disease", sponsored by the M.D.-Ph.D. Program on Tuesday, May 6, 2008 at the Joseph B. Martin Conference Center.

Professor Blackburn is a leader in the area of telomere and telomerase research. She discovered the molecular nature of telomeres-the ends of eukaryotic chromosomes that serve as protective caps essential for preserving the genetic information - and discovered the enzyme telomerase, which replenishes telomeres. Dr. Blackburn is currently the Morris Herzstein Endowed Professor in Biology and Physiology in the Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics at University of California, San Francisco, where she is focused on understanding telomerase and telomere biology. She is also a Non-Resident Fellow of the Salk Institute.

Throughout her career, Dr. Blackburn has been honored by her peers as the recipient of many awards, including the highly prestigious Albert Lasker Award in Basic Medical Research in 2006. She was the North American Laureate for L’Oreal-UNESCO For Women in Science in 2008, and in 2007 she was named one of TIME Magazine’s 100 Most influential People. Just before her arrival at HMS, she was the co-recipient of the 2008 Albany Center Prize in Medicine and Biomedical Research.

Dr. Stephen C. Blacklow, program director, presented Dr. Blackburn with a commemorative plaque at the end of her lecture.

The goal of this lectureship is to provide students and members of the HMS academic community with direct exposure to a wide range of existing leaders in contemporary biomedicine by offering a public lecture series in which such individuals are invited to speak on a subject of general interest. During the day, Dr. Blackburn met with MD—PhD students during a lunch seminar in Gordon Hall. Shown below are the student participants with Dr. Blackburn.

In 2009, Dr. Elizabeth H. Brown was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for the discovery of how chromosomes are protected by telomeres and the enzyme telomerase. Dr. Blackburn shares the Nobel Prize with her colleagues Carol W. Greider and Jack W. Szostak.


Also see:

2012 – Dr. Eric S. Lander

2011 – Dr. Bruce Alberts

2010 – Dr. Harold E. Varmus

2009 – Dr. Michael S. Brown

2008 - Dr. Elizabeth H. Blackburn

2007 - Sir Paul Nurse

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