Elizabeth Blackburn © 2007 Micheline Pelletier

Elizabeth Blackburn © 2007 Micheline Pelletier

Dr. Elizabeth Blackburn of the University of San Francisco was one of three scientists to receive the Nobel Prize today for her research on chromosomes.

This is not only huge news for the human species (her research on the enzyme Telomerase could be pivotal to stopping cancer and lengthening the human lifespan) but also for San Francisco, as she has been a long time researcher at UCSF’s department of biochemistry and physics.

I’d like to say to Dr. Blackburn:  Represent!  Why aren’t we as proud of locals like Dr. Blackburn as we are of our other San Francisco heroes like Joe Montana or Willie Mays? Although brilliant scientists may not agree, I’d like to think we would worship them ala that Intel Commercial featuring the ‘USB Co-Founder.’ Perhaps if our culture was more centered on making celebrities out of innovators we would see more funding going into pivotal research.

This isn’t the first time that UCSF has produced a winner: three past scientists, Stanley Prusiner, Harold Varmus and J. Michael Bishop have also won the Nobel Prize for their works.

Blackburn will be splitting the $1.4 million dollar prize with two others.  Hopefully after all her dedicated research she will use some of her prize to enjoy herself.   I recommend Cafe Maritime in the Marina district, if she’s a fan of seafood that is.