Carol W. Greider, Ph.D.

Dr. Carol W. Greider received a BA from the University of California 'at Santa Barbara in 1983 and a 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.

Her groundbreaking discovery is relevant in the treatment of cancer, heart disease, and premature aging syndromes.

In 1988, Dr. Greider went to Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory where, as an independent Cold Spring Harbor Fellow, she cloned and characterized the RNA component of telomerase. In 1990, Dr. Greider was appointed as an Assistant Investigator at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory followed by appointment to Investigator in 1994. She expanded the focus of her telomere research to include the role of telomere length in cell senescence, cell death and in 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 apoptosis. 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 as the Daniel Nathans Professor and Director of the Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics. At Johns Hopkins University, Dr. Greider´┐Żs 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 directs a group of 10 scientists studying both the biochemistry of telomeres and telomerase as well as the cellular organismal consequences of short telomeres.

Dr. Greider has won a number of awards for her work on telomerase, and she shared the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine with Drs. Elizabeth Blackburn and Jack Szostak in 2009.

Biography courtesy of the Maryland Commission for Women, 2011.

© Copyright Maryland State Archives, 2011