Eminent Australian scientist wins Nobel Prize
6 October 2009
The Australian Academy of Science is delighted to congratulate Professor Elizabeth Blackburn on being awarded the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine, along with Carol Greider and Jack Szostak, for the discovery of how chromosomes are protected by telomeres and the enzyme telomerase.
Professor Kurt Lambeck, President of the Australian Academy of Science, said: ‘The Nobel Prize is a marvellous recognition of Elizabeth’s outstanding contribution to molecular biology and medical science. It reminds us once again of the importance of science for the long-term benefit to the community as a whole. Through her initial education and training and her long-term connections, Australia can take pride in her achievements.’
Professor Blackburn is a corresponding member of the Australian Academy of Science, and was elected for her outstanding research and leadership.
Her important discovery, that telomere sequences at the end of chromosomes protect the chromosomes from damage and maintain the integrity of the genome, has transformed our understanding of how cells age and die, and has opened up research in a new field of molecular biology.
Although Professor Blackburn has worked overseas for much of her career, she has maintained robust connections with her Australian peers, retaining close links with the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research in Melbourne and being the Louis Matheson Distinguished Visiting Professor of Monash University. She spends at least one month each year carrying out research and teaching in Australia.
Professor Blackburn has received the highest accolades for her outstanding contributions to science. In 2006 she received the Albert Lasker Basic Medical Research Award shared with colleagues Carol Greider and Jack Szostak. A month later she received the 2006 Gruber Genetics Prize.
Australian born Elizabeth Blackburn was educated in Tasmania and at the University of Melbourne. She is currently the Morris Herzstein Professor of Biology and Physiology in the Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics at the University of California, San Francisco.
Contact: Professor Bob Williamson (Secretary for Science Policy): 0409 706 255