Inside the Nobel Ceremony

The Award

UCSF molecular biologist Elizabeth Blackburn, PhD, on Thursday accepted her Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine before hundreds of dignitaries, academics and members of Sweden’s royal family.

Photos

See photos of Elizabeth Blackburn, as well as other top scientists and dignitaries, from the 2009 Nobel Ceremony.

Videos

Watch videos of Elizabeth Blackburn speaking about her Nobel Prize and her storied career in the world of science.

The Discovery

History

Professor Blackburn's research has changed the world's understanding of cell function. Read how the professor collaborated with the scientific community to make this groundbreaking discovery.

Blackburn's Papers

Read through the revolutionary research that led Professor Blackburn to her historic discovery.

Telomere Photos
(Photos by Blackburn lab.)

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Science World Reacts

Colleagues from around the country commented on the importance of the now-burgeoning scientific field of telomere research, first nurtured to viability by Elizabeth Blackburn and a handful of other researchers two decades ago.

About Elizabeth Blackburn

Biography

Elizabeth Blackburn's Nobel Prize is the pinnacle of a career built on brilliant discoveries and historic achievements.

The Blackburn Lab

Go inside Elizabeth Blackburn's laboratory at UCSF, and see how her and her team are working to advance our understanding of cell processes.

Blackburn Reflects on Career

A week after being named UCSF’s first woman to receive a Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, Professor Blackburn sat down to discuss the elusive goal of work-life balance and the importance of following one’s passions.

Nobel History

UCSF Nobel Prize Winners


Elizabeth Blackburn, PhD, is the fourth UCSF scientist to win the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine. Other UCSF Nobel Prize winners include:

Stanley B. Prusiner, MD: 1997 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for his discovery of a novel disease-causing agent — a protein he named prion (PREE-on). The prion causes rare neurodegenerative diseases, such as Creutzfeldt Jakob disease in humans, and “mad cow” disease in cattle. The discovery has informed research into the role of misprocessed proteins in more common brain diseases, including Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease.

J. Michael Bishop, MD: 1989 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for his co-discovery with Harold Varmus, MD, of proto-oncogenes, showing that normal cellular genes can be converted to cancer genes. This work led to the recognition that all cancer probably arises from damage to normal genes and provided new strategies for the detection and treatment of cancer.  In his 40 years of service to UCSF, the last 10 as chancellor, he has provided a model of distinguished scholarly inquiry, thoughtful academic leadership and deep commitment to the public good. 

Harold E. Varmus, MD: 1989 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for his co-discovery with J. Michael Bishop, MD, of proto-oncogenes, showing that normal cellular genes can be converted to cancer genes. This work led to the recognition that all cancer probably arises from damage to normal genes and provided new strategies for the detection and treatment of cancer.

Female Nobel Prize Winners


Elizabeth Blackburn and Carol Greider join an elite group of female scientists that have received the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine. Their awards bring the number of female recipients to 10, out of a total of 195 scientists who have received the award since it was established in 1901.

The first female laureate in physiology or medicine was Gerty Theresa Cori, in 1947. Cori shared the award with her husband Carl Cori and physiologist Bernardo Houssay. Last year’s recipient was also a woman, Francoise Barre-Sinoussi, who shared the award with her colleague Luc Montagnier and cancer researcher Harald zur Hausen. Past female recipients of the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine include:

2008, Françoise Barré-Sinoussi: For discoveries involving the human immunodeficiency virus.

2004, Linda B. Buck: For the discoveries of odorant receptors and the organization of the olfactory system.

1995, Christiane Nüsslein-Volhard: For discoveries concerning the genetic control of early embryonic development.

1988, Gertrude B. Elion: For the discovery of important principles for drug treatment.

1986, Rita Levi-Montalcini: For the discovery of growth factors.

1983, Barbara McClintock: For her discovery of mobile genetic elements.

1977, Rosalyn Yalow: For discoveries concerning the peptide hormone production of the brain.

1947, Gerty Theresa Cori (née Radnitz): For the discovery of the course of the catalytic conversion of glycogen.