2009 Jeffrey M. Trent Lectureship in Cancer Research

National Human Genome Research Institute

National Institutes of Health
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services


The 2009 Jeffrey M. Trent Lectureship in Cancer Research

Telomerase and the Consequences of Telomere Dysfunction

Carol Greider, Ph.D.

The seventh annual Jeffrey M. Trent Lectureship in Cancer Research - Telomerase and the Consequences of Telomere Dysfunction - will be held on Tuesday, Jan. 19, 2010 from 1 to 2 p.m. This year's lecture will be given by Carol Greider, Ph.D., Daniel Nathans Professor and Director, Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, and 2009 Nobel Laureate in Physiology or Medicine. The lecture will take place in the Masur Auditorium (with live feed overflow in Lipsett Amphitheatre), National Institutes of Health (NIH) Clinical Center, Building 10 on the NIH campus.

Dr. Greider's Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine was for "for the discovery of how chromosomes are protected by telomeres and the enzyme telomerase." She shared the prize with Elizabeth H. Blackburn, Ph.D. from the University of California at San Francisco and Jack W. Szostak, Ph.D., from the Harvard Medical School, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston; and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.

YouTube video Watch: Telomerase and the Consequences of Telomere Dysfunction

Read more about Dr. Greider's Nobel prize winning research [nobelprize.org]


About the Lecturer
Photo by Pontus Lundahl. Associated Press.

Dr. Greider received her B.A. from the University of California at Santa Barbara in 1983 and her 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, as an independent Cold Spring Harbor Fellow, she cloned and characterized the RNA component of telomerase. In 1990, Dr. Greider was appointed assistant investigator at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory and became an investigator in 1994. 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.

In 1997, Dr. Greider moved her laboratory to the Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics at The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. In 1999, she was appointed Professor and, in 2004, she was appointed the Daniel Nathans Professor and Director of the Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics.

Once at Hopkins, 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 dyskeratosis congenita and stem cell failure in response to short telomeres. Dr. Greider currently studies both the biochemistry of telomeres and telomerase, as well as the cellular organismal consequences of short telomeres.

Dr. Greider has won numerous prestigious awards for her work on telomerase, including the Gairdner Foundation Award in 1998, the Albert Lasker Award for Basic Medical Research in 2006, and the Dickson Prize in Medicine in 2007. This past year she accepted the Paul Ehrlich and Ludwig Darmstaedter Prize and the Pearl Meister Greengard Prize.

On October 5, 2009, Dr. Grieder was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for the discovery of how chromosomes are protected by telomeres and the enzyme telomerase.

Learn More
About the Jeffrey M. Trent Lectureship in Cancer Research

Dr. Trent was the National Human Genome Research Institute's (NHGRI) founding Scientific Director, serving in this role for more than nine years. His leadership and vision was instrumental in establishing NHGRI's Division of Intramural Research as one of the premier research programs in the world devoted to genetics and genomics. In recognition of his significant contributions to the research environment at NIH, NHGRI established the annual Jeffrey M. Trent Lectureship in Cancer Research in 2003. This lecture is given by a prominent cancer researcher who brings the kind of energy, creativity and enthusiasm to cancer research that Dr. Trent has exemplified throughout his career.

Top of page

Last Reviewed: March 12, 2012