San Diego native Carol Greider was the featured guest at a reception on Dec. 1 at the Torrey Pines Hilton, which was hosted by Ivor Royston of Forward Ventures and Jeffrey Ostrove of Ceregene. In 2009, Dr. Greider was awarded the Nobel Prize in Medicine for the discovery that telomeres (the caps at the end of human chromosomes) are protected from progressive shortening by the enzyme telomerase. A molecular biologist, she is the Daniel Nathans Professor and Director of Molecular Biology and Genetics at Johns Hopkins University.
Dr. Greider spoke to a standing-room only crowd of scientists, physicians and philanthropists. She said the bits of DNA and the enzyme that controls them, telomerase, have now been implicated in cancer, heart and lung disease, as well as the normal aging process. Her talk hit a personal note with many in the audience when she addressed the relationship between shortened telomeres and the onset of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, the ailment that took the life of La Jollan Todd Figi.
Royston’s wife, Colette Carson, intently listened along with William Brody of the Salk Institute, Maureen and Thomas Shiftan, Margret and Nevins McBride, Christine Forester, Harvey and Sheryl White, and Karen Cohn.