Phillip Sharp, Ph.D.

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 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.

Sharp has authored over 400 papers. He is an elected member of the National Academy of Sciences, the Institute of Medicine, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Philosophical Society, and the Royal Society, UK. Among his many awards are the Gairdner Foundation International Award, the Lasker Basic Medical Research Award, and the National Medal of Science. His long list of service includes the presidency of the AAAS (2013) and chair of the Scientific Advisory Committee, SU2C Project, AACR.  

A native of Kentucky, Sharp earned a B.A. degree from Union College, Barbourville, KY, and a Ph.D. in chemistry from the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana. Sharp is a co-founder of Biogen (now Biogen Idec) and Alnylam Pharmaceuticals, Inc.