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Elizabeth Blackburn

Elizabeth Blackburn
BornNov. 26, 1948
Hobart, Tasmania
InstitutionsYale University, University of California, Berkeley, University of California, San Francisco, Salk Institute
Alma materUniversity of Melbourne, University of Cambridge
Notable students  Carol W. Greider
Notable prizesHeineken Prize, Lasker Award, Louisa Gross Horwitz Prize

Elizabeth (Liz) H(elen) Blackburn (November 26, 1948 - ) is a professor of biology and leading researcher in the field of the telomere and the telomerase enzyme, and their relationships to aging and cancer. She was born in Hobart, the capital of the Australian state of Tasmania, but has become a citizen of the United States.


Early life and education

Blackburn was educated in the state of Victoria at 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 (1975-1977).


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. This was followed by expressions of outrage over her removal by many scientists.

In 2007, Blackburn was listed among Time Magazine's 100 Most Influential People in The World.

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


  • 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)
  • Elected:
    • 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)

See also

  • List of biologists

NAME Blackburn, Elizabeth
SHORT DESCRIPTION American Biologist
DATE OF BIRTH Nov. 26, 1948
PLACE OF BIRTH Hobart, Tasmania
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Elizabeth_Blackburn". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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