Category Archives: Elizabeth Blackburn

Chromatography plays part in Nobel Prize Winners’ work

Congratulations to Elizabeth Blackburn, Carol Greider, and Carol GreiderJack Szostak the 2009 Nobel Prize Winners for medicine.

The three scientists are being honored for discovering a key mechanism in the genetic operations of cells, which has led to new lines of research into cancer.

We would be remiss at this point if we didn’t point out the role chromatography played in their Elizabeth Blackburnresearch. The following are excerpts from the book, “Elizabeth Blackburn and the story of Telomeres – Deciphering the ends of DNA” by Catherine Brady:

“Oligonuclieotides that ran at a similar rate were further separated using chromatography (two-dimensional, or 2D, separation).”
Jack Szostak
“Knowing they would have to clean up the extract in order to begin purifying the enzyme, Greider now conducted column chromatography, which provided extensive purification of the enzyme.”

We would also like to point out that Carol Greider seems to have an excellent sense of humor, as noted in this interview with the Associated Press this morning:

Greider, 48, said she was telephoned by just before 5 a.m. her time with the news that she had won.

“It’s really very thrilling, it’s something you can’t expect,” she told The Associated Press by telephone.

People might make predictions of who might win, but one never expects it, she said, adding that “It’s like the Monty Python sketch, ‘Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition!'”

So there you have it, chromatography and an appreciation for Monty Python can be keys to getting a Nobel Prize.

Again, congratulations to this years’ recipients – the world is a better place because of your contributions.