Elizabeth Blackburn grew up in Hobart on the Australian island of Tasmania. It was a long journey from there to a Nobel prize and the lab she runs at the University of California in San Francisco. Malaria researcher Clare Smith is also a Hobart girl, and she’s trying to decide whether to follow in Blackburn’s footsteps and move overseas after she finishes her PhD. Karina Zillner is from Germany. Like Clare, she’s in the final stages of a PhD. She’s developed a method for analysing sections of repetitive DNA. Karina hopes her technique might be used in Blackburn’s lab, where they study telomeres — repetitive sections of DNA that protect the ends of chromosomes.