Elizabeth Blackburn

Elizabeth Blackburn

Infobox Scientist

image_width = 150px
name = Elizabeth Blackburn
birth_date = Nov. 26, 1948
birth_place = Hobart, Tasmania
death_date =
death_place =
residence = US
nationality = American, Australian
field = Biologist
work_institution = Yale University, University of California, Berkeley, University of California, San Francisco, Salk Institute
alma_mater = University of Melbourne, University of Cambridge
doctoral_advisor =
doctoral_students = Carol W. Greider
known_for =
author_abbreviation_bot =
author_abbreviation_zoo =
prizes = Heineken Prize, Lasker Award, Louisa Gross Horwitz Prize, L'Oréal-UNESCO Award for Women in Science (2008)
religion =
footnotes =

Elizabeth (Liz) Helen Blackburn FRS (b. November 26, 1948 in Hobart, Tasmania) is an Australian-born U.S. biologist at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), who studies the telomere, a structure at the end of chromosomes which protects the chromosome. Blackburn also co-discovered telomerase, the enzyme that replenishes the telomere. She also worked in medical ethics, and was controversially fired from the President's Council on Bioethics.

Early life and education

Blackburn's parents, Harold and Marcia were both medical practitioners. Blackburn attended Broadland House school in Launceston, Tasmania, Australia from year seven to year nine, her family then moved to Melbourne in the state of Victoria where she completed her secondary education at The University High School. After graduation from high school, Blackburn attended the University of Melbourne on a full scholarship at Janet Clarke Hall earning a B.Sc. (1970) and M.Sc. (1972), and earned her Ph. D. (1975) from the University of Cambridge in England. Her postdoctoral study in molecular and cellular biology was at Yale University (1975-1976).


In 1978, Dr. Blackburn joined the faculty of the University of California, Berkeley in the Department of Molecular Biology. In 1990, she moved across the Bay to the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), where she served as Department Chair from 1993 to 1999. Dr. Blackburn is currently the Morris Herzstein Professor of Biology and Physiology at UCSF. She is also a non-resident fellow of the Salk Institute.


Blackburn was appointed a member of the President's Council on Bioethics in 2001. She was fired in February 2004 reportedly for taking to task the Chairman (Professor Leon Kass) over her outspoken opposition to the removal from the council's consideration of discussion on the ethics of research on embryonic stem cells. [ [http://biology.plosjournals.org/perlserv/?request=get-document&doi=10.1371/journal.pbio.0020116 Blackburn E, Rowley J (2004) Reason as Our Guide.] PLoS Biol 2(4): e116 doi:10.1371/journal.pbio.0020116] This was followed by expressions of outrage over her removal by many scientists. [citeweb|author=AP| title=Scientists rally around stem cell advocate fired by Bush|url=http://www.usatoday.com/news/science/2004-03-19-fired-bioethicist_x.htm| date=2004-03-19 |accessdate=2008-05-30|]

In 2007, Blackburn was listed among Time Magazine's 100 Most Influential People in The World. [citeweb|author=Alice Park |Publisher = Time Magazine | title = The Time 100: Elizabeth Blackburn | url=http://www.time.com/time/specials/2007/time100/article/0,28804,1595326_1595329_1616029,00.html | accessdate=2008-05-30 |]

Blackburn serves on the Science Advisory Board of the Genetics Policy Institute.


* [http://www.news.harvard.edu/gazette/daily/2006/06/08-honorary.html Honorary Doctorate of Science from Harvard University]
*Eli Lilly Research Award for Microbiology and Immunology (1988)
*National Academy of Sciences Award in Molecular Biology (1990)
*Honorary Doctorate of Science from Yale University (1991)
*Harvey Society Lecturer at the Harvey Society in New York (1990)
*recipient of the UCSF Women's Faculty Association Award (1995)
*Australia Prize (1998)
*Harvey Prize (1999)
*Keio Prize (1999)
*California Scientist of the Year in 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.Wilson Award of the American Society for Cell Biology (2001)
*Robert J. and Claire Pasarow Foundation Medical Research Award (2003)
*Dr A.H. Heineken Prize for Medicine (2004)
*Albert Lasker Award for Basic Medical Research (2006) (shared with Carol W. Greider and Jack Szostak)
*Genetics Prize from the Peter Gruber Foundation (2006)
* Louisa Gross Horwitz Prize (2007) (shared with Carol W. Greider and Joseph G. Gall)
* L'Oréal-UNESCO Award for Women in Science (2008)

**President of the American Society for Cell Biology for the year 1998
**Fellow of:
***American Academy of Arts and Sciences (1991)
***Royal Society of London (1992)
***American Academy of Microbiology (1993)
***American Association for the Advancement of Science (2000)
**Foreign Associate of the National Academy of Sciences (1993)
**Member of the Institute of Medicine (2000)
**Board member of the Genetics Society of America (2000-2002)

ee also

*List of biologists

External links

* [http://biochemistry.ucsf.edu/~blackburn/aboutdrblackburn.html University biography]
* [http://www.news.harvard.edu/gazette/daily/2006/06/08-honorary.html Short biography at Harvard]
* [http://www.abc.net.au/rn/inconversation/stories/2007/1864195.htm Interview on Australian ABC Radio] "In Conversation", March 2007.


NAME= Blackburn, Elizabeth
SHORT DESCRIPTION= American Biologist
DATE OF BIRTH= Nov. 26, 1948
PLACE OF BIRTH= Hobart, Tasmania
PLACE OF DEATH= .......... still alive

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