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Carol W. Greider

Carol W. GreiderAKA Carol Widney Greider

Born: 15-Apr-1961
Birthplace: San Diego, CA

Gender: Female
Race or Ethnicity: White
Sexual orientation: Straight
Occupation: Scientist

Nationality: United States
Executive summary: Co-Discoverer of telomerase

Carol W. Greider was a first-year graduate student in Elizabeth H. Blackburn's laboratory at the University of California at Berkeley when she chose to study telomeres, the area at the tip of chromosomes where specialized structures provide protection against DNA damage. Coming into the lab on Christmas morning of 1984, she found the first definitive indications of a new enzyme, originally called Tetrahymena telomere terminal transferase and soon shortened to telomerase. This enzyme prevents shortening and weakening of the telomeres, and its discovery has launched new areas of research for cancer biologists and the biotechnology industry. In a 1990 study co-authored with Calvin Harley at McMaster University, Greider and showed that telomere length is related to cellular aging.

For their work with telomerase, Greider and Blackburn were awarded the Nobel Prize in Medicine in 2009, sharing the honor with Jack W. Szostak. Greider currently works at Johns Hopkins University, where her laboratory studies the effect of telomeres on cell death, DNA stability, regenerative disease, and the potential relationship between stem cells and telomerase. As a child she suffered from dyslexia, and as a young woman she competed as a triathlete (swimming, cycling, and running). Her father, Kenneth Greider, was a long-time quantum physicist at UC Davis, and her husband, Nathaniel Comfort, is a well-known author and science historian.

Father: Ken Greider (physics professor)
Mother: (biologist, d. 1967)
Brother: Mark (b . circa 1960)
Husband: Nathaniel Comfort (science historian)
Son: Charles

    High School: Davis High School, Davis, CA (1979)
    University: BA Biology, University of California at Santa Barbara (1983)
    University: PhD Molecular Biology, University of California at Berkeley (1987)
    Scholar: Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (1987-97)
    Professor: Molecular Biology and Genetics, Johns Hopkins University (1997-)

    American Academy of Microbiology
    American Academy of Arts and Sciences
    American Association for the Advancement of Science
    American Society for Cell Biology
    Geron Corporation Scientific Advisory Board Member (1992-96)
    National Academy of Sciences 2003
    National Institutes of Health
    Dickson Prize 2006
    Paul Ehrlich and Ludwig Darmstaedter Prize 2009 (with Elizabeth H. Blackburn)
    Horwitz Prize 2007 (with Elizabeth H. Blackburn and Joseph Gall)
    Lounsbery Award 2003
    Gairdner Foundation International Award 1998 (with Elizabeth H. Blackburn)
    Lasker Award 2006 (with Elizabeth H. Blackburn and Jack W. Szostak)
    Nobel Prize for Medicine 2009 (with Elizabeth H. Blackburn and Jack W. Szostak)
    Pew Scholar 1990
    Wiley Prize in Biomedical Sciences 2006 (with Elizabeth H. Blackburn)
    Risk Factors: Dyslexia

Official Website:

Author of books:
Telomeres (1995, with Elizabeth H. Blackburn)

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