American Philosophical Society
Member History

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201. Molecular Biology and Biochemistry[X]
1Name:  Dr. Elizabeth H. Blackburn
 Institution:  University of California, San Francisco
 Year Elected:  2005
 Class:  2. Biological Sciences
 Subdivision:  201. Molecular Biology and Biochemistry
 Residency:  Resident
 Living? :   Living
 Birth Date:  1948
Dr. Elizabeth Blackburn is a leader in the area of telomere and telomerase research and has made key discoveries in different aspects of telomere function and biology. In 1985, she discovered the ribonucleoprotein enzyme telomerase, and since that time, hers has become a lead laboratory in manipulating and studying telomerase activity in cells. Having amassed considerable knowledge and experience in the effects this has on cells, Dr. Blackburn and her research team at the University of California, San Francisco worked with a variety of organisms and human cells, especially cancer cells, with the goal of understanding telomerase and telomere biology. Her work on telomeres and telomerase has been published extensively in peer-reviewed journals. Dr. Blackburn 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 did her postdoctoral work in molecular and cellular biology from 1975-77 at Yale University. In 1978, Dr. Blackburn joined the department of molecular biology at the University of California Berkeley. In 1990, she joined the departments of microbiology and immunology, and biochemistry and biophysics, at the University of California, San Francisco, and she was department chair of the department of microbiology and immunology from 1993-99, and the Morris Herzstein Professor of Biology and Physiology in the department of biochemistry and biophysics at UCSF as well as a non-resident fellow of the Salk Institute. In January 2016 Dr. Blackburn became professor emeritus at the University of California, San Francisco, and was President of the Salk Institute for Biological Studies until 2018. Throughout her career, Dr. Blackburn has been honored by her peers as the recipient of many prestigious awards. These include the Eli Lilly Research Award for Microbiology and Immunology (1988), the National Academy of Science Award in Molecular Biology (1990), and honorary doctorate degrees from Yale University (1991), the University of Pennsylvania (2004), Bard College (2004), Brandeis University (2004), and the University of Chicago (2004). She was a Harvey Society Lecturer at the Harvey Society in New York (1990) and recipient of the UCSF Women's Faculty Association Award (1995). Most recently, she was awarded the Australia Prize (1998), the Harvey Prize (1999), the Keio Prize (1999), the American Association for Cancer Research-G.H.A. Clowes Memorial Award (2000), the American Cancer Society Medal of Honor (2000), the AACR-Pezcoller Foundation International Award for Cancer Research (2001), the General Motors Cancer Research Foundation Alfred P. Sloan Award (2001), the Bristol Myers Squibb Award for Distinguished Cancer Research (2003), the Dr. A.H. Heineken Prize for Medicine (2004), the Kirk A. Landon-American Association for Cancer Research Prize for Basic Cancer Research (2005), the Benjamin Franklin Medal in Life Science (2005), and the Nobel Prize in Medicine (2009). She was named California Scientist of the Year in 1999 and was elected President of the American Society for Cell Biology for the year 1998. Dr. Blackburn is an elected Foreign Associate of the National Academy of Sciences (1993) and an elected Member of the Institute of Medicine (2000). She is an elected Fellow of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences (1991), the Royal Society of London (1992), and the American Association for the Advancement of Science (2000). She was elected Foreign Associate of the National Academy of Sciences in 1993 and was elected as a Member of the Institute of Medicine in 2000. She was awarded the Albert Lasker Medical Research Award in Basic Medical Research (2006). In 2007 she was named one of TIME Magazine's 100 Most Influential People, and she is the 2008 North American Laureate for L'Oreal-UNESCO for Women in Science.
2Name:  Dr. Avram Hershko
 Institution:  Technion-Israel Institute of Technology
 Year Elected:  2005
 Class:  2. Biological Sciences
 Subdivision:  201. Molecular Biology and Biochemistry
 Residency:  International
 Living? :   Living
 Birth Date:  1937
Avram Hershko was born in 1937 in Karcag, Hungary and emigrated with his family to Israel in 1950. He gained his M.D. (1965) and Ph.D. (1969) from the Hebrew University - Hadassah Medical School of Jerusalem, a period which included service as a physician in the Israel Defence Forces (1965-67). After a post-doctoral fellowship with Gordon Tomkins at the University of San Francisco (1969-72), he joined the faculty of the Haifa Technion, becoming professor in 1980. He is now Distinguished Professor in the Unit of Biochemistry in the B. Rappaport Faculty of Medicine of the Technion. His main research interests concern the mechanisms by which cellular proteins are degraded, a formerly neglected field of study. Dr. Hershko and his colleagues showed that cellular proteins are degraded by a highly selective proteolytic system. This system tags proteins for destruction by linkage to a protein called ubiquitin, which had previously been identified in many tissues, as the name suggests, but whose function was previously unknown. Subsequent work in Dr. Hershko's and many other laboratories has shown that the ubiquitin system has a vital role in controlling a wide range of cellular processes, such as the regulation of cell division, signal transduction and DNA repair. Abnormalities in the ubiquitin system result in diseases such as certain types of cancer. The full range of functions of the ubiquitin system in health and disease has still to be elucidated. Dr. Hershko was awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry (2004) jointly with his former Ph.D. student Aaron Ciechanover and their colleague Irwin Rose. His many honors include the Israel Prize for Biochemistry (1994), the Gardner Award (1999), the Lasker Prize for Basic Medical Research (2000), the Wolf Prize for Medicine (2001) and the Louisa Gross Horwitz Award (2001). Dr. Hershko is a member of the Israel Academy of Sciences (2000) and a Foreign Associate of the National Academy of Sciences (2003).
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