Johns Hopkins University researcher Carol Greider, Ph.D., received the 2009 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine from the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences. One of the world's pioneering researchers on the structure of chromosome ends known as telomeres, The Academy recognized Greider for her 1984 discovery of telomerase, an enzyme that maintains the length and integrity of chromosome ends and is critical for the health and survival of all living cells and organisms.
Greider is the Daniel Nathans Professor and Director of Molecular Biology and Genetics in the Johns Hopkins Institute for Basic Biomedical Sciences. She shares the award with Elizabeth Blackburn, a professor of biochemistry and biophysics at the University of California, San Francisco, and Jack Szostack, Ph.D., of Harvard Medical School, who discovered that telomeres are made up of simple, repeating blocks of DNA building blocks and are found in all organisms. The trio also shared the 2006 Albert Lasker Award for Basic Medical Research for this work. Each of the three will receive a medal, a diploma and will split a cash prize of $1.4 million that will be handed out at a ceremony held in Stockholm on Dec. 10.
"What intrigues basic scientists like me is that any time we do a series of experiments, there are going to be three or four new questions that come up when you think you've answered one. Our approach shows that while you can do research that tries to answer specific questions about a disease, you can also just follow your nose," says Greider.
Source: Carol Greider, Ph.D., Johns Hopkins University
Writer: Walaika Haskins