University alumna named President of Salk Institute

Nobel laureate and University alumna Elizabeth Blackburn has been named as the next president of the Salk Institute for Biological Studies.

The Salk Institute, founded in 1960 by polio vaccine developer Jonas Salk, is an industry-leading research facility in San Diego, California that specialises in immunology, genetics and neuroscience.

Born in Hobart, Professor Blackburn graduated from the University of Melbourne with a Bachelor's and Master's degree in biochemistry. She received her doctorate in molecular biology from the University of Cambridge and has worked extensively in the United States.

Professor Blackburn was awarded the Nobel Prize in 2009 for her work uncovering telomeres – the tips on chromosomes that serve as protective caps for genetic information – and the role that they play in the ageing process and in diseases such as cancer.

She has previously served as the president of the American Association of Cancer Research, and is a member of the Royal Society of London, the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Medicine.

Professor Blackburn says that she looks forward to the opportunity of furthering the Institute's contribution to the fields of science and health research.

"The Salk is full of absolutely terrific people and brimming with great science," she says.

Professor Blackburn is currently a Professor in the department of biochemistry and biophysics at the University of California, San Francisco. She will assume her position as President of the Salk Institute from January 2016.