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Elizabeth Blackburn awarded 2012 American Institute of Chemists Gold Medal

Elizabeth Blackburn

Non-Resident Fellow Elizabeth Blackburn joins Salk professors Suzanne Bourgeois and Tony Hunter at the Board of Trustees Reception and Dinner.

Nobel laureate Elizabeth H. Blackburn, a professor at the University of California, San Francisco and a Salk Non-Resident Fellow (NRF), was honored with the 2012 American Institute of Chemists (AIC) Gold Medal, its highest award. It is the first time in eight decades that a woman Nobel laureate was selected for the prize.

Blackburn, an NRF since 2001, is a leader in the area of telomere and telomerase research. She discovered the molecular nature of telomeres— the ends of eukaryotic chromosomes that serve as protective caps essential for preserving the genetic information—and the ribonucleoprotein enzyme telomerase. Blackburn and her research team at UCSF are working with various cells, including human cells, with the goal of understanding telomerase and telomere biology.

The AIC Gold Medal has been given annually in acknowledgment of service to the science of chemistry and to the profession of chemist or chemical engineer in the United States. In recognition of their achievements, gold medalists receive a life fellowship in the institute. Previous winners include Nobel laureates as well as other renowned researchers and engineers representing many facets of chemistry.

Blackburn was presented with the medal April 12 in Philadelphia, during Heritage Days, a yearly celebration of achievement in chemistry and related sciences hosted by the Chemical Heritage Foundation.