More Science See Inside Actuary of the Cell: A Q&A with Nobelist Elizabeth Blackburn on Telomeres and Aging Cells Building on her Nobel Prize-winning research on cell function, Elizabeth H. Blackburn is trying to find a simple measure of a person's health risks By Thea Singer Photograph by Cody Pickens Big Picture: Blackburn has extended her Nobel Prize–winning work on telomeres to develop measures that aim to assess overall risks for heart disease, cancer and other chronic illnesses. A molecular timepiece that resides inside each cell still makes headlines, decades after Elizabeth H. Blackburn conducted pioneering studies into how it works. The most recent experiments by Blackburn and other researchers have demonstrated that these cellular clocks, known as telomeres, may act as barometers of whether a person will remain healthy or not. This is only a preview. Get the rest of this article now! Select an option below: Buy Digital Issue Customer Sign In *You must have purchased this issue or have a qualifying subscription to access this content It has been identified that the institution you are trying to access this article from has institutional site license access to Scientific American on nature.com. Click here to access this article in its entirety through site license access. ADVERTISEMENT Scientific American is a trademark of Scientific American, Inc., used with permission © 2015 Scientific American, a Division of Nature America, Inc. All Rights Reserved.