Phillip Sharp

Institute Professor, Massachusetts Institute of Technology; Nobel Laureate

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.