The 2006 Genetics Prize of the Peter and Patricia Gruber Foundation is hereby proudly presented to Elizabeth H. Blackburn, PhD for telomeres and telomerase.
The Prize recognizes her achievements in research and science advocacy.
By discovering the unique structure and mechanism of replication of telomeres, the ends of chromosomes, Dr. Blackburn demonstrated that these genetic elements play a fundamental role in normal development, and in carcinogenesis.
She characterized telomerase, the enzyme responsible for making telomeres, in normally aging cells, in cancer cells, and in stem cells, enabling the development of new drugs based on these biological roles.
Her accuracy and honesty in debates on therapeutic cloning and stem cell research have raised public awareness of the importance of this work and are a model for the role of the scientist as citizen.