Louisa Gross Horwitz Prize - 2007
2007 Dinner Award Pictures
Carol W. Greider
Carol W. Greider, Ph.D., received a BA from the University of California at Santa Barbara in 1983 and a Ph.D. in 1987 from the University of California at Berkeley. In 1984, working together with Dr. Elizabeth Blackburn, she discovered telomerase, an enzyme that maintains telomeres, or chromosome ends. Dr. Greider first isolated and characterized telomerase from the ciliate Tetrahymena. In 1988 Dr. Greider went to Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory where, as an independent Cold Spring Harbor Fellow, she cloned and characterized the RNA component of telomerase. In 1990, Dr. Greider was appointed as an Assistant Investigator at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory. She expanded the focus of her telomere research to include the role of telomere length in cell senescence, cell death, and cancer. Together with Dr. Calvin Harley, she showed that human telomeres shorten progressively in primary human cells. This work, along with work of other researchers, led to the idea that telomere maintenance and telomerase may play important roles in cellular senescence and cancer. Dr. Greider was appointed Associate Investigator at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory in 1992 and Investigator in 1994. Her lab continued to work on both the biochemistry of telomerase and the role of telomere maintenance in cancer in human and mouse cells.
In 1997, Dr. Greider moved her laboratory to the Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. In 1999, she was appointed Professor of Molecular Biology and Genetics and in 2001 she was appointed as a Professor of Oncology. At Johns Hopkins University Dr. Greider’s group continued to study the biochemistry of telomerase and determined the secondary structure of the human telomerase RNA. She also expanded her work on a mouse model of telomere dysfunction and showed that the shortest telomere in a cell triggers a DNA damage response. In 2004 she was appointed as the Daniel Nathans Professor and Director of the Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics. Dr. Greider has won a number of awards for the work on telomerase: the Gardiner Award (1998), the Rosenstiel Award (1999), the Passano Foundation Award (1999), and the Richard Lounsbery Award (2003). In 2003, Dr. Greider was elected to the National Academy of Sciences and to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. In 2006 she received the Wiley prize and the Albert Lasker Award for Basic Medical Research. Dr. Greider currently directs a group of ten researchers who are focused on understanding telomeres and telomerase and their role in chromosome stability, stem cell failure and cancer.