Nobel Prize winner and UCSB alumna Carol Greider will discuss advances in cancer prevention and treatment tomorrow at 7:30 p.m. in Corwin Pavilion.
Greider will reveal how the ends of chromosomes, called telomeres, can deter cancer and age-related disease. The prominent molecular biologist and geneticist will also host a private talk with undergraduate biology students Saturday at noon at the College of Creative Studies.
Tomorrow’s free lecture will detail the scientific discovery that earned Greider, UC Berkeley molecular biologist Elizabeth Blackburn and Harvard geneticist Jack Szostak the 2009 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine. The scientists found that chromosomes are protected from cancer and degradation by telomerase — an enzyme that builds and repairs telomeres.
The unique DNA sequence of telomerase protects chromosomes during cell division. Increase in telomerase activity helps maintain telomere length. This in turn allows cells to divide freely and decreases rates of cancer development.
Thomas Weimbs, a molecular, cellular and developmental biology associate professor, said the lecture will also include other distinguished guests.
“We will have a panel of several notable researchers and scientists,” Weimbs said. “I think this lecture will certainly raise awareness about the extensive work being done in cancer treatment and prevention.”
Greider earned a bachelor’s degree in biology from CCS in 1983 and a Ph.D. in molecular biology at UC Berkeley. She currently serves as the director of the Molecular Biology and Genetics Dept. of the Institute for Basic Biomedical Sciences at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine.