Carol Greider, Professor and Director of Molecular Biology and Genetics at the John Hopkins University, co-discovered the enzyme telomerase in 1984 when she was a graduate student of Elizabeth Blackburn at the University of California, Berkeley. Their research on the mechanism through which telomeres (DNA sequences repeated at the end of chromosomes which allow genetic information to be copied integrally every time the cell divides, formed by telomerase) protect chromosomes from degradation has been awarded last year with the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine. The two women shared it with Jack W. Szostak. Greider leads a “curiosity driven” lab of ten people (3 men and 7 women including her) researching the role of telomeres and telomerase in chromosome maintenance and stability.
Is it true that you went to the first press conference after being announced the winner of the Nobel Prize wearing big glasses and fake moustache?
Yes, it was part of the fun.
Why did you do that?
There’s a famous picture of Barbara Mc Clintock after it had been announced that she had won the Nobel Prize (1983, for her discovery that the genetic material is not fixed but fluid) wearing Groucho Marx’s glasses so, as a joke, I wore them.