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The newspaper of The Johns Hopkins University October 8, 2007 | Vol. 37 No. 6
Carol Greider Awarded 2007 Louisa Gross Horwitz Prize

Carol Greider, the Daniel Nathans Professor and director of Molecular Biology and Genetics in the Johns Hopkins Institute of Basic Biomedical Sciences, and one of the world's pioneering researchers on telomeres, will share the 2007 Louisa Gross Horwitz Prize with colleagues Elizabeth H. Blackburn, of the University of California, San Francisco, and Joseph G. Gall, of the Carnegie Institution. The awardees are honored, as they were by the Lasker Foundation last year, for their work contributing to the understanding of telomeres — the structures capping the ends of chromosomes — and their role in cancer and stem cell failure.

Awarded annually since 1967, the prize was established by Columbia University to recognize outstanding contributions to basic research in biology and biochemistry. Horwitz was the daughter of Samuel David Gross, founder of the American Medical Association.

"This is a well-deserved honor for three basic researchers who pursued their work for the sake of curiosity and knowledge — work that wasn't driven by clinical goals but still led to better understanding of human biology and disease," said Chi V. Dang, vice dean for research at Johns Hopkins. "We are thrilled that Columbia has chosen to recognize Carol and her colleagues for their accomplishments."

The groundbreaking work spans three generations of teacher-student scientists. Greider, while a graduate student in Blackburn's lab at the University of California, Berkeley, discovered the enzyme telomerase, which maintains the length and integrity of telomeres, while trying to understand how chromosomes maintain their length and integrity. Blackburn previously had discovered a special DNA pattern in telomeres while working in Gall's lab, then at Yale. Their discoveries have drawn intense interest from researchers studying the role of telomeres in everything from aging to cancer.


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