Carol Greider shared the 2009 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for the discovery of the enzyme telomerase, which safeguards genetic data by maintaining DNA sequences at the ends of chromosomes and is a major factor in age-related degenerative disease. Greider studies the role of short telomeres in age-related disease and cancer as well as the regulatory mechanisms that maintain telomere length.
Greider’s research is currently focused on the biochemistry of telomeres and telomerase, their roles in chromosome maintenance and stability, and the cellular and organismal consequences of telomere dysfunction. Telomerase mutations cause telomere syndromes, and people with this disorder die of bone marrow failure, pulmonary fibrosis, and other diseases due to the stem cell loss. Future work in the lab will focus on how telomere length equilibrium is regulated. Uncovering the mechanisms that regulate the telomere length equilibrium will allow a better understanding of age-related degenerative diseases, and suggest avenues for treatment in the future.
Greider joined Johns Hopkins University in 1997 from the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory and was named a Bloomberg Distinguished Professor in 2014.