Congratulations goes to Professor Elizabeth Blackburn, a Tasmanian-born nuclear biologist, who has won the Noble Prize for Medicine.

The first Australian woman to win a Nobel prize, she and her two long-time counterparts pioneered the study of telomeres, caps that protect chromosomes in cells, and is a discoverer of telomerase, an enzyme that does the protecting.

Her work has opened a new field of science, raising the prospects of such medical breakthroughs as interfering with cancerous cells.

Professor Blackburn is a vocal advocate of independent scientific something which cost her to be dropped from President George Bush’s Council on Bioethics in 2004 after questioning its bias.

Based in San Fransisco these days, she is Australia’s 11th Nobel laureate.