January 18, 2011

Dear Colleagues:
This Friday, January 21, our campus will be honored to welcome back our distinguished alumna and Nobel Prize winner Carol Greider. Dr. Greider will give a free public lecture on "How Chromosome Ends Affect Cancer and Age-Related Disease" on Friday at 7:30 p.m. in Corwin Pavilion.
This lecture, part of the Frontiers in Cancer Research series, is generously sponsored by the Cancer Center of Santa Barbara, the Doreen J. Putrah Cancer Research Foundation, and UCSB Engineering & the Sciences. We invite our entire campus community to join us for this exciting event.
Dr. Greider is the Daniel Nathans Professor and the Director of Molecular Biology and Genetics at the Johns Hopkins Institute of Basic Biomedical Sciences at Johns Hopkins University. She graduated from UC Santa Barbara in 1983 with a bachelor's degree in biology from our College of Creative Studies. She earned her Ph.D. in molecular biology at UC Berkeley.
In 2009, Dr. Greider was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, together with UC Berkeley molecular biologist Elizabeth Blackburn and Harvard geneticist Jack Szostak. They were honored for the discovery of "how chromosomes are protected by telomeres and the enzyme telomerase," an enzyme that maintains the length and integrity of chromosome ends and is critical for the health and survival of all living cells and organisms. This is a key mechanism in the genetic operations of cells, an insight that has inspired new lines of research into cancer. If the telomeres are shortened, cells age. Conversely, if telomerase activity is high, telomere length is maintained, and cellular senescence is delayed, which is the case in cancer cells. Dr. Greider's discovery of telomerase has catalyzed an explosion of scientific studies that probe connections between telomerase and telomeres and human cancer and diseases of aging.
Dr. Greider's achievements and contributions are an inspiration to our students and to all of us at UC Santa Barbara. I encourage you to attend this very special campus event.
Henry T. Yang