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2006 Gruber Genetics Links & Other Resources

Elizabeth Blackburn Quotes
When contacted in New Orleans tonight for a comment on the Australian stem cell debate, Dr Elizabeth Blackburn said:

"In Australia as in the United States, scientists need to be willing and available to inform public debate on stem cells and other science-based issues. We need to do what we can to ensure that accurate science is provided for the discussion. We mustn't over interpret what has been achieved to date. In truth we don't actually have enough information to choose a path forward yet. So we need to maintain a broad research base."

Sir Gustav Nossal is Emeritus Professor in the Department of Pathology at the University of Melbourne, a former President of the Australian Academy of Science and Australian of the Year in 2000.

"Elizabeth Blackburn is one of Australia's finest scientists and I'm really thrilled to see her win this important and well-endowed prize. I actually think Dr Blackburn is an excellent candidate for a Nobel Prize because her work on cellular aging is critically important to cancer and many other fields."

Professor Sue Serjeantson is Executive Secretary of the Australian Academy of Science (AAS). The Academy is a national, independent, non-profit organisation that was established to promote and share scientific knowledge. The Fellowship of the Academy is made up of about 380 of Australia's top scientists.

"The Australian Academy of Science congratulates Elizabeth Blackburn on the award of the 2006 Gruber Genetics Prize. Just last month, Elizabeth shared the prestigious Lasker Award with Carol Greider of John Hopkins University and Jack Szostak, of Harvard University, for their telomerase research. More than 70 Lasker Award recipients, including Australian Peter Doherty, have gone on to win a Nobel Prize. Elizabeth was a popular winner of the Australia Prize, the forerunner to the Prime Minister's Science Prize, in 1998".

Professor Bob Williamson is Senior Principal Research Fellow of the Murdoch Children's Research Institute and Professor of Medical Genetics, at the University of Melbourne. One of his major interests is national science policy and ethics and he publishes widely on stem cell science.

"Professor Liz Blackburn thoroughly deserves this award. Her research into the structure and function of short sequences at the ends of chromosomes, known as telomeres, was instrumental in showing how human cells age over time. Her current studies of telomere shortening and lengthening in embryonic and adult stem cells may allow scientists to prevent cancer when cells are transplanted for therapy. Liz Blackburn studied at the University of Melbourne before moving, first to Cambridge and then the University of California San Francisco, but she has retained close links with the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute in Melbourne and with Monash University."

Dr Tracy Bryan is head of the Cell Biology Research Unit at the Children's Medical Research Institute at Westmead, NSW. During her PhD studies she discovered a new mechanism for maintenance of telomeres in human tumours. Her research continues to focus on the role of telomeres in the growth of cancer cells.

"It is wonderful to see Elizabeth Blackburn's work given recognition, since she was responsible for the early, ground-breaking work on telomeres and telomerase. It is also a testament to the value of curiosity-driven research, since the work was carried out in a one-celled pond organism called Tetrahymena. At the time, it was not known that this work would turn out to have such far-reaching implications for cancer and aging in humans. Elizabeth Blackburn's work has lead to the rapid growth of a large and vibrant field of research, in which there is a lot of interest in developing telomerase inhibitors as potential anti-cancer agents."

These quotes were collected by the Australian Science Media Centre (AusSMC)

Curriculum vitae
Dr. Blackburn earned her B.Sc. (1970) and M.Sc. (1972) degrees from the University of Melbourne in Australia, and her Ph.D. (1975) from the University of Cambridge in England. She did her postdoctoral work in Molecular and Cellular Biology from 1975 to 1977 at Yale.

In 1978, Dr. Blackburn joined the faculty at the University of California at Berkeley in the Department of Molecular Biology. In 1990, she joined the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at UC San Francisco, where she served as Department Chair from 1993 to 1999. Dr. Blackburn is currently a faculty member in the Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics at UCSF. 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 prestigious awards. These include the Eli Lilly Research Award for Microbiology and Immunology (1988), the National Academy of Science Award in Molecular Biology (1990), and an Honorary Doctorate of Science from Yale University (1991). She was a Harvey Society Lecturer at the Harvey Society in New York (1990), and the recipient of the UCSF Women's Faculty Association Award (1995). Most recently, she was awarded the Australia Prize (1998), the Harvey Prize (1999), the Keio Prize (1999), American Association for Cancer Research-G.H.A. Clowes Memorial Award (2000), American Cancer Society Medal of Honor (2000), AACR-Pezcoller Foundation International Award for Cancer Research (2001), General Motors Cancer Research Foundation Alfred P. Sloan Award (2001), E.B.Wil -son Award of the American Society for Cell Biology (2001), 26th Annual Bristol-Myers Squibb Award for Distinguished Achievement in Cancer Research (2003), and the Dr. A.H. Heineken Prize for Medicine (2004).

Further information and Useful Links
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