Dr. Harley is a world-renowned expert in telomere biology and aging. Cal and his collaborators were the first to observe telomere loss in cell division from normal human cells, and to link this process to cellular aging. His team found that cancer cells escape mortality by activating the telomerase enzyme, and developed the telomerase assay. They were also the first to clone the genes for the critical components of human telomerase.
Immediately prior to co-founding THI, Cal was Chief Scientific Officer at Geron Corporation, a pharmaceutical company with major programs in telomere biology for aging and cancer. At Geron, Cal was CSO (1996–2009), Vice President of Research (1994–1996), and Director of Cell Biology (1993–1994). Prior to Geron, Cal was a faculty member in the Department of Biochemistry at McMaster University where he led research programs on mortality and immortality in human cells.
Dr. Harley completed postdoctoral research at UCSF (with Herb Boyer in molecular biology) and at the University of Sussex (with John Maynard Smith in evolutionary biology). He completed his Ph.D. at McMaster University in Biochemistry and B.Sc. at Waterloo University. Cal has served as an executive for the Canadian Association on Gerontology, has published extensively on the medical applications of telomere research, and has received numerous awards for his work. He is an inventor on a number of key patents related to telomere biology, telomerase, and the diagnosis and treatment of disease.
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