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Photo of Calvin Harley Calvin Harley

See Dr. Harley's answers to Ask the Scientists questions.

Calvin B. Harley, Ph.D. has served Geron Corporation as Chief Scientific Officer (1996-present), Vice President of Research (1994-1996), and Director of Cell Biology (1993-1994). Before joining Geron, Dr. Harley was a faculty member in the Department of Biochemistry at McMaster University (1982-1993). He also conducted postdoctoral research with Herb Boyer at UCSF and John Maynard Smith at the University of Sussex. Dr. Harley is best known for his pioneering work on the cell biology of aging and the role of telomeres and telomerase in cell mortality and immortality and the implications for age-related diseases, including cancer. He and his collaborators were the first to demonstrate that telomeres are specifically lost with age in normal dividing cells, that this process was responsible for cellular aging, and that cancer cells escape mortality by activating the enzyme telomerase. Dr. Harley and colleagues at Geron developed the only commonly used assay for telomerase activity, and were the first to clone the genes for the critical RNA and protein components of this important ribonucleoprotein complex. In addition, the demonstration by Geron scientists and collaborators that introduction of telomerase into normal cells extends their healthy lifespan lays the foundation for a number of novel cell and gene therapy opportunities to treat degenerative diseases associated with aging.


Scientific American Frontiers
Fall 1990 to Spring 2000
Sponsored by GTE Corporation,
now a part of Verizon Communications Inc.