Nobel laureate Carol Greider talks about life after receiving the Nobel prize.
Carol Greider, the Daniel Nathans Professor of molecular biology and genetics at Johns Hopkins University, has no shortage of work on her desk. Along with all her normal laboratory, teaching and departmental duties, Greider is hard at work finishing up four separate research papers while thinking ahead to her next round of grant submissions. It’s a hectic schedule that one might think would induce stress, but for Greider it’s actually a welcome relief.
“What this means,” she says in reference to the clutter of papers around her, “is that my life is slowly settling back to normal.”
It was a little over a year ago when Greider’s routine normalcy experienced a major shake-up with the news that she had won a share of the 2009 Nobel Prize in medicine for her work in discovering the enzyme telomerase. It was not an entirely unforeseen event (Greider also had received a Lasker award in 2006, a good barometer for future Nobel success), but it still did not prepare Greider for all the pageantry that was to follow.
While most of us may be familiar with the media blitz that coincides with the yearly Nobel award announcements, that first week was just the start of a whirlwind series of months for Greider, which included trips to Sweden and the White House and more interview and public speaking requests than one could shake a day planner at.
Although life may never quite be the same as it was pre-Nobel, the start of 2011 at least has proven to be relatively quiet, allowing Greider to focus more on her passion: good basic science. And with that little extra downtime, Greider had the opportunity to sit down with the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology and explain what the laureate life is like, one year later.
ASBMB: Your schedule was undoubtedly hectic following the initial award announcement; was there a specific moment during that whole event when the fact you had just won science’s most prestigious honor actually sank in?
Greider: Oh, I think that moment is still coming up; I still can’t quite believe it.