California native wins Nobel Prize in medicine

The Sacramento BeeOctober 6, 2009 

A scientist who grew up in Davis and graduated from Davis Senior High School in 1979 was among three researchers who on Monday shared the Nobel Prize in medicine.

Carol Greider, a professor at Johns Hopkins University, said she was at home in Baltimore folding laundry Monday morning when she received the news that she had won the world's most prestigious science prize.

On Monday evening, as she celebrated with friends and family, Greider said she never had finished folding.

"My heart went into my throat and started beating fast," she said. "The laundry never did get put away, so I'll have to do that tonight."

Greider, 48, won for her discovery in 1984 of telomerase an enzyme that regulates the length of chromosome ends and governs the division and death of cells in the human body.

"The award was for a basic understanding of how cells work and what happens every time a cell divides," Greider said.

She made the find on Christmas Day 1984, when she was a graduate student at the University of California, Berkeley, and couldn't wait until after the holiday to see the results of an experiment she'd started.

Twenty years later, the discovery has profound implications that scientists say may lead to treatments to control cancer or slow the aging process.

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