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Elizabeth H. Blackburn, PhD


Professor, Departments of Biochemistry/Biophysics and Microbiology/Immunology, UCSF
Morris Herzstein Endowed Chair in Biology and Physiology, UCSF


Phone: (415) 476-4912 (office); (415) 476-2824 (asst)
Box 2200, UCSF
San Francisco, CA 94143-2202

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Additional Websites


University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Australia, B.Sc., 1970, Biochemistry
University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Australia, M.Sc., 1972, Biochemistry
University of Cambridge, England, Ph.D., 1975, Molecular Biology
Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut, Postdoc., 1975-1977, Molecular and Cellular Biology

Professional Experience

  • 1970-1971
    Graduate Research Student, Master of Science Degree course Department of Biochemistry, University of Melbourne, Australia
  • 1971-1974
    Graduate Research Student, Division of Protein and Nucleic Acid Chemistry MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology, Cambridge, England (Advisor: F. Sanger)
  • 1975-1977
    Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of Biology, Yale University
  • 1978 Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of Biochemistry, University of California, San Francisco
  • 1978-1983
    Assistant Professor, Department of Molecular Biology, University of California, Berkeley
  • 1983-1986
    Associate Professor, Department of Molecular Biology, University of California, Berkeley
  • 1986-1990
    Professor, Department of Molecular Biology, University of California, Berkeley
  • 1993-1999
    Chair, Department of Microbiology Immunology, University of California, San Francisco
  • 1990-present
    Professor, Departments of Biochemistry and Biophysics, and Microbiology and Immunology, University of California, San Francisco
  • 1996-present
    Member, Breast Oncology Program (1996) and Genitourinary Oncology Program (1999), UCSF Comprehensive Cancer Center
  • 2001-present
    Scientific Advisory Board, Division of Basic Science, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center
  • 2003-present
    Scientific Advisory Board, Huntsman Cancer Institute, University of Utah, Salt Lake City
  • 2003-2007
    Member, National Advisory Council on Aging, National Institute of Aging, NIH
  • 2008-present
    Member, National Academies of Sciences Committee on Science, Technology and the Law.

Honors & Awards

  • Selected honors and awards since 2000. For complete list, see Blackburn Lab website.
  • 2000
    American Association for Cancer Research-G.H.A. Clowes Memorial Award
  • 2000
    Elected, Institute of Medicine
  • 2000
    American Cancer Society Medal of Honor
  • 2000
    Elected, Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science
  • 2001
    AACR-Pezcoller Foundation International Award for Cancer Research
  • 2001
    General Motors Cancer Research Foundation Alfred P. Sloan Award
  • 2003
    26th Annual Bristol-Myers Squibb Award for Distinguished Achievement in Cancer Research
  • 2005
    Kirk A. Landon-American Association for Cancer Research Prize for Basic Cancer Research
  • 2005
    Benjamin Franklin Medal in Life Science
  • 2005
    New York Academy of Medicine Medal
  • 2006
    National Cancer Institute Alfred G. Knudson Award
  • 2006
    Fifth annual Wiley Prize in Biomedical Sciences
  • 2006
    Albert Lasker Award for Basic Medical Research
  • 2006
    The 25th Meyenburg Prize
  • 2006
    Elected, American Philosophical Society
  • 2007
    Elected, Australian Academy of Science
  • 2007
    TIME 100 Most Influential People in the World
  • 2008
    L’Oreal UNESCO For Women In Science Award
  • 2008
    Weizmann Women & Science Award: Weizmann Institute of Science
  • 2009
    Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine

Selected Publications

  1. Chen B, Gilbert LA, Cimini BA, Schnitzbauer J, Zhang W, Li GW, Park J, Blackburn EH, Weissman JS, Qi LS, Huang B. Dynamic Imaging of Genomic Loci in Living Human Cells by an Optimized CRISPR/Cas System. Cell. 2013 Dec 19; 155(7):1479-91.
    View on PubMed
  2. Listerman I, Gazzaniga FS, Blackburn EH. An investigation of the effects of the core protein telomerase reverse transcriptase on wnt signaling in breast cancer cells. Mol Cell Biol. 2014 Jan; 34(2):280-9.
    View on PubMed
  3. Ornish D, Lin J, Chan JM, Epel E, Kemp C, Weidner G, Marlin R, Frenda SJ, Magbanua MJ, Daubenmier J, Estay I, Hills NK, Chainani-Wu N, Carroll PR, Blackburn EH. Effect of comprehensive lifestyle changes on telomerase activity and telomere length in men with biopsy-proven low-risk prostate cancer: 5-year follow-up of a descriptive pilot study. Lancet Oncol. 2013 Oct; 14(11):1112-20.
    View on PubMed
  4. Zhu Y, Voruganti VS, Lin J, Matsuguchi T, Blackburn E, Best LG, Lee ET, MacCluer JW, Cole SA, Zhao J. QTL mapping of leukocyte telomere length in American Indians: the Strong Heart Family Study. Aging (Albany NY). 2013 Sep; 5(9):704-16.
    View on PubMed
  5. Rehkopf DH, Dow WH, Rosero-Bixby L, Lin J, Epel ES, Blackburn EH. Longer leukocyte telomere length in Costa Rica's Nicoya Peninsula: a population-based study. Exp Gerontol. 2013 Nov; 48(11):1266-73.
    View on PubMed
  6. Zhao J, Zhu Y, Lin J, Matsuguchi T, Blackburn E, Zhang Y, Cole SA, Best LG, Lee ET, Howard BV. Short leukocyte telomere length predicts risk of diabetes in american indians: the strong heart family study. Diabetes. 2014 Jan; 63(1):354-62.
    View on PubMed
  7. Puterman E, Epel ES, Lin J, Blackburn EH, Gross JJ, Whooley MA, Cohen BE. Multisystem resiliency moderates the major depression-telomere length association: findings from the Heart and Soul Study. Brain Behav Immun. 2013 Oct; 33:65-73.
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  8. Listerman I, Sun J, Gazzaniga FS, Lukas JL, Blackburn EH. The major reverse transcriptase-incompetent splice variant of the human telomerase protein inhibits telomerase activity but protects from apoptosis. Cancer Res. 2013 May 1; 73(9):2817-28.
    View on PubMed
  9. Blackburn E, Chang J, Hücker M, Holmes AT, Christensen NB, Liang R, Bonn DA, Hardy WN, Rütt U, Gutowski O, von Zimmermann M, Forgan EM, Hayden SM. X-ray diffraction observations of a charge-density-wave order in superconducting ortho-II YBa2Cu3O6.54 single crystals in zero magnetic field. Phys Rev Lett. 2013 Mar 29; 110(13):137004.
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  10. Belin BJ, Cimini BA, Blackburn EH, Mullins RD. Visualization of actin filaments and monomers in somatic cell nuclei. Mol Biol Cell. 2013 Apr; 24(7):982-94.
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  11. Needham BL, Adler N, Gregorich S, Rehkopf D, Lin J, Blackburn EH, Epel ES. Socioeconomic status, health behavior, and leukocyte telomere length in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, 1999-2002. Soc Sci Med. 2013 May; 85:1-8.
    View on PubMed
  12. Jacobs EG, Kroenke C, Lin J, Epel ES, Kenna HA, Blackburn EH, Rasgon NL. Accelerated cell aging in female APOE-e4 carriers: implications for hormone therapy use. PLoS One. 2013; 8(2):e54713.
    View on PubMed
  13. Dowd JB, Bosch JA, Steptoe A, Blackburn EH, Lin J, Rees-Clayton E, Aiello AE. Cytomegalovirus is associated with reduced telomerase activity in the Whitehall II cohort. Exp Gerontol. 2013 Apr; 48(4):385-90.
    View on PubMed
  14. Entringer S, Epel ES, Lin J, Buss C, Shahbaba B, Blackburn EH, Simhan HN, Wadhwa PD. Maternal psychosocial stress during pregnancy is associated with newborn leukocyte telomere length. Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2013 Feb; 208(2):134.e1-7.
    View on PubMed
  15. Bansal N, Whooley MA, Regan M, McCulloch CE, Ix JH, Epel E, Blackburn E, Lin J, Hsu CY. Association between kidney function and telomere length: the heart and soul study. Am J Nephrol. 2012; 36(5):405-11.
    View on PubMed
  16. Blackburn EH, Epel ES. Telomeres and adversity: Too toxic to ignore. Nature. 2012 Oct 11; 490(7419):169-71.
    View on PubMed
  17. Beery AK, Lin J, Biddle JS, Francis DD, Blackburn EH, Epel ES. Chronic stress elevates telomerase activity in rats. Biol Lett. 2012 Dec 23; 8(6):1063-6.
    View on PubMed
  18. Kiecolt-Glaser JK, Epel ES, Belury MA, Andridge R, Lin J, Glaser R, Malarkey WB, Hwang BS, Blackburn E. Omega-3 fatty acids, oxidative stress, and leukocyte telomere length: A randomized controlled trial. Brain Behav Immun. 2013 Feb; 28:16-24.
    View on PubMed
  19. Armanios M, Blackburn EH. The telomere syndromes. Nat Rev Genet. 2012 Oct; 13(10):693-704.
    View on PubMed
  20. Adler N, Pantell MS, O'Donovan A, Blackburn E, Cawthon R, Koster A, Opresko P, Newman A, Harris TB, Epel E. Educational attainment and late life telomere length in the Health, Aging and Body Composition Study. Brain Behav Immun. 2013 Jan; 27(1):15-21.
    View on PubMed

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