Phillip A. Sharp is Institute Professor (highest academic rank) at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and member of the David H. Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research. His research interests have centered on the molecular biology of gene expression relevant to cancer and the mechanisms of RNA splicing.
His landmark work in 1977 provided one of the first indications of "discontinuous genes" in mammalian cells. The discovery fundamentally changed scientists' understanding of gene structure and earned Dr. Sharp the 1993 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine. His lab has now turned its attention to understanding how RNA molecules act as switches to turn genes on and off (RNA interference). These newly discovered processes have revolutionized cell biology and could potentially generate a new class of therapeutics.
Dr. Sharp has authored over 365 scientific papers. His work has earned him numerous cancer research awards and presidential and national scientific board appointments. He is elected member of the National Academy of Sciences, the Institute of Medicine, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the American Philosophical Society. He is also the recipient of the Gairdner Foundation International Award, the Lasker Basic Medical Research Award, the National Medal of Science and the Inaugural Double Helix Medal for Scientific Research from Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory.
A native of Kentucky, Dr. Sharp earned a B.A. degree from Union College, and a Ph.D. in chemistry from the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana. He is co-founder of Biogen (now Biogen Idec) and Alnylam Pharmaceuticals.