L'Oreal-UNESCO awards honor UCSF biologist for pioneering research in DNA synthesis

December 06, 2007

New York, NY, December 6, 2007 - For her pioneering work with telomeres, the protective caps at the ends of chromosomes, and their relation to cell aging and disease, Dr. Elizabeth Blackburn was presented the prestigious L'ORÉAL -UNESCO For Women in Science Award. An expert in the area of telomere and telomerase research, Dr. Blackburn, Morris Herzstein Professor of Biology and Physiology in the Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics at the University of California, San Francisco, has worked to create a better understanding of stress as a cause leading to cell aging and the diseases of old age, including cancer.

Selected as the North American Laureate for her discovery of the ribonucleoprotein enzyme telomerase, Dr. Blackburn's research examines the function of the enzyme as it relates to cell aging and mutations that can cause cancer. During DNA synthesis, telomerase restores the ends of eukaryotic chromosomes, called telomeres, and Dr. Blackburn's research has found that mutant variations of telomerase impair cell division, which can contribute to aging and cancer.

"I would like to see our research be useful in furthering human well-being," said Dr. Blackburn. "Perhaps it will be useful in understanding what happens to our cells' telomere maintenance that can cause common diseases to progress. Perhaps this understanding will prompt and guide interventions to try to improve health."

Dr. Blackburn is one of five distinguished women researchers selected as Laureates of the 10th annual LOREAL-UNESCO Awards For Women in Science. Along with Dr. Blackburn, the other Laureates include: Dr. Blackburn has conducted scientific research at the University of California, San Francisco since 1990, where she served as chair of the Department of Molecular Biology from 1993-1999. She earned her B.Sc. (1970) and M.Sc. (1972) degrees from the University of Melbourne in Australia, and her Ph.D. (1975) from the University of Cambridge in England. She completed her postdoctoral work in Molecular and Cellular Biology at Yale.

"Today, many more young women enter studies of science and, in biological sciences, complete postdoctoral research about as frequently as men, so that is good," said Dr. Blackburn. "What has not changed is that the applications by women for the best jobs in science are not proportionately high, and women are grossly underrepresented in such jobs, especially as one goes up the ranks."

The L'ORÉAL -UNESCO For Women in Science Awards is the the only program of its kind to honor eminent women scientists at the international level. The five Laureates are selected by a jury of 18 distinguished international scientists presided over by Professor Gunter Blobel, Nobel Prize winner in Medicine 1999, John D. Rockefeller, Jr. Professor and Investigator, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, at Rockefeller University.

Ten years of advances in science

The result of a unique partnership, the L'ORÉAL-UNESCO For Women in Science Awards aim to recognize the contributions of outstanding women researchers to scientific progress and encourage the participation of women in scientific research. The Laureates serve as role models for future generations, encouraging young women around the world to follow in their footsteps.

Now in its 10th year, the L'ORÉAL -UNESCO For Women in Science program has recognized a total of 52 women from 26 countries whose exemplary careers in science have opened up new and sometimes revolutionary ways of improving human well-being. For more information about the L'ORÉAL-UNESCO partnership please visit: www.forwomeninscience.com.
-end-
About L'ORÉAL

The L'ORÉAL Corporate Foundation, created in 2007, is committed to three areas of action: encouraging education, fostering scientific research, and hepling those in underserved communities. The Foundation, which presently regroups a number of major existing corporate philanthropy initiatives including the L'ORÉAL-UNESCO Awards For Women in Science, will strengthen these actions and ensure their continuity, as well as develop new programs in the coming years.

L'Oréal is a worldwide leader in the cosmetics industry, developing innovative products to meet the diverse needs of customers in 130 countries worldwide. Nearly 3,000 people work in the Group's 14 research centers, located in France, Asia and America. Their findings are responsible for the registration of hundreds of patents annually. Women represent 55% of the research workforce - a percentage unmatched anywhere else in the industry (www.loreal.com).

About UNESCO

Since its creation in 1945, UNESCO has pursued the mission of promoting science - the "S" in its acronym - for peace. Today, UNESCO reinforces international co-operation in the basic sciences among its 192 Member States and promotes ethical norms in science. The Organisation has been also dedicated to eliminating all forms of discrimination and promoting equality between men and women. As well as developing educational programs in science particularly designed for girls, UNESCO has established a network of academic chairs creating links between women in science around the world (www.unesco.org/science/women).

For more information or to arrange interviews with Laureates, please contact:

EDELMAN
Vijay Jesrani
Tel.: +1-212-704-8297
Mob: +1-412-335-0976
vijay.jesrani@edelman.com

L'ORÉAL
Rebecca Caruso
Tel: +1-212-984-4894
Mob: +1-201-965-3837
rcaruso@us.loreal.com

Edelman Public Relations

Related Aging Articles from Brightsurf:

Surprises in 'active' aging
Aging is a process that affects not only living beings.

Aging-US: 'From Causes of Aging to Death from COVID-19' by Mikhail V. Blagosklonny
Aging-US recently published ''From Causes of Aging to Death from COVID-19'' by Blagosklonny et al. which reported that COVID-19 is not deadly early in life, but mortality increases exponentially with age - which is the strongest predictor of mortality.

Understanding the effect of aging on the genome
EPFL scientists have measured the molecular footprint that aging leaves on various mouse and human tissues.

Muscle aging: Stronger for longer
With life expectancy increasing, age-related diseases are also on the rise, including sarcopenia, the loss of muscle mass due to aging.

Aging memories may not be 'worse, 'just 'different'
A study from the Department of Psychological & Brain Sciences in Arts & Sciences adds nuance to the idea that an aging memory is a poor one and finds a potential correlation between the way people process the boundaries of events and episodic memory.

A new biomarker for the aging brain
Researchers at the RIKEN Center for Biosystems Dynamics Research (BDR) in Japan have identified changes in the aging brain related to blood circulation.

Scientists invented an aging vaccine
A new way to prevent autoimmune diseases associated with aging like atherosclerosis, Alzheimer's disease, and Parkinson's disease was described in the article.

The first roadmap for ovarian aging
Infertility likely stems from age-related decline of the ovaries, but the molecular mechanisms that lead to this decline have been unclear.

Researchers discover new cause of cell aging
New research from the USC Viterbi School of Engineering could be key to our understanding of how the aging process works.

Deep Aging Clocks: The emergence of AI-based biomarkers of aging and longevity
The advent of deep biomarkers of aging, longevity and mortality presents a range of non-obvious applications.

Read More: Aging News and Aging Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.