Dr. Blakely received a B.A. degree in Biology from the University of San Diego, San Diego, CA, and a M.S. degree in Biophysics, and a Ph.D. in Physiology from the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana, IL as a U.S. Atomic Energy Commission Special Fellow in Radiation Science and Protection.
In 1975 Dr. Blakely accepted an appointment at the Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory as a Staff Scientist working directly with Professor Cornelius Tobias and with Drs. Joseph Castro and Theodore Phillips conducting pre-clinical investigations, and Phase I/II trials with heavy charged particle radiotherapy. Since 1989, Dr. Blakely has been a Senior Staff Biophysicist at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) with more than 44 y of professional experience in molecular, cellular and animal radiobiological research directed at studying the basic mechanisms of radiation responses, with an emphasis on charged particle radiation effects. She also is a Clinical Professor of Radiation Medicine (nontenured) at Loma Linda University, School of Medicine, Loma Linda, CA. She has published over 100 peer-reviewed papers and several book chapters.
Her professional activities included service on a variety of advisory panels for several hospitals, universities, and numerous federal agencies including the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), the National Institutes of Health (NIH), National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the Department of Defense (DOD). She has served as an Appointed Member for the Diagnostic Radiology Study Section-Division of Research Grants, NIH, and as an Advisory Committee Member for the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). She was elected as the councilor representing the Biology discipline (1984-1987), and the Secretary-Treasurer for the Radiation Research Society (RRS) (2011-2017). She continues to serve on Editorial Boards for several journals: Radiation Research, Journal of Radiation Research and npj Microgravity. In 2000 she was elected to the National Council on Radiation Units and Protection (NCRP) and served on Scientific Committee (SC) 75 that produced NCRP Report No. 132, Radiation Protection Guidance for Activities in Low-Earth Orbit; and SC 1-7 that produced NCRP Report No. 153, Information Needed to Make Radiation Protection Recommendations for Space Missions Beyond Low-Earth Orbit. In 2011, she was named the NCRP 35th Lauriston S. Taylor Lecturer. Dr. Blakely co-chaired NCRP SC 1-23 that produced NCRP Commentary #26- Guidance on Radiation Dose Limits for the Lens of the Eye (2016).
Dr. Blakely has received a number of awards in teaching and mentoring young scientists including the Robert Emerson Graduate Teaching Award, School of Life Sciences, University of Illinois, the LBL Outstanding Performance Award, the DOE Office of Science Outstanding Mentor Award, and the LBL Technology Transfer Award. She was appointed the Scientific Director of the NASA Space Research Summer School for two consecutive years (2007-2008), and received an RD100 award from Research and Development Magazine (2005). She was awarded the Martin Schneider Memorial Lectureship, University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston, Texas. In June 2015 she retired after 40 years at LBNL, but was rehired by LBNL in October 2015, and continues to work part-time. Dr. Blakely received the Berkeley Laboratory Director’s Award for Exceptional Achievement: the Berkeley Lab Citation Award (2015), was named a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (2016), received the Distinguished Service Award of the RRS (2017), was named a Distinguished Emeritus Member of the NCRP (2018), and was awarded the 20th Gray Medal from the International Commission on Radiation Units and Measurements (ICRU) at the 2019 International Congress of Radiation Research in Manchester, England.