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Colleagues Salute Blackburn for Winning Lasker Award

By Lisa Cisneros, UCSF Today | October 12, 2006

The campus community recently gathered at UCSF Mission Bay to congratulate world-renowned cell biologist Elizabeth Blackburn, who has received the 2006 Albert Lasker Award for Basic Medical Research.

Blackburn, PhD, 57, the Morris Herzstein Professor of Biology and Physiology in the Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics at UCSF, shares the award with two other scientists. They were honored for their prediction and discovery of the telomerase enzyme, which synthesizes telomeres, the tiny units of DNA that seal off the ends of chromosomes, protecting them and maintaining the integrity of the genes contained within them. Both telomeres and telomerase play a key role in cell aging and cancer.

The scientists' research has laid the foundation for a whole field of inquiry into the possibility that the telomerase enzyme could be manipulated to treat cancer and age-related diseases like cardiovascular disease.

Read more at Lisa Cisneros, UCSF Today