Philip A. Sharp, Ph.D.

Dr. Sharp is currently an Institute Professor at MIT. He joined the Center for Cancer Research (now the Koch Institute) at MIT in 1974 and served as its Director for six years, from 1985 to 1991, before taking over as Head of the Department of Biology, a position he held for the next eight years. In 2000, he founded the McGovern Institute and served as its director till 2004. Dr. Sharp’s research interests have centered on the molecular biology of gene expression relevant to cancer and the mechanisms of RNA splicing. His landmark work (1977) provided one of the first indications of the startling phenomenon of “discontinuous genes” in mammalian cells. This discovery, which fundamentally changed scientists’ understanding of the structure of genes, earned Dr. Sharp the 1993 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine.  His lab now focuses on the biology and technology of small RNAs and other types of non-coding RNAs.  RNA interference (RNAi) has dramatically expanded the possibilities for genotype/phenotype analysis in cell biology and for therapeutic intervention.  Dr. Sharp has authored over 400 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 Foreign Fellow of the Royal Society, UK.  He is the recipient of the 2004 National Medal of Science and the 2006 inaugural Double Helix Medal from CSHL.  He served as President of the AAAS from 2013-2014 and is Chair of the Scientific Advisory Committee of the Stand Up to Cancer (SU2C) project of the AACR founded in 2008.  Dr. Sharp earned a B.A. degree from Union College, KY, and a Ph.D. in chemistry from the University of Illinois. In 1978 he co-founded Biogen (now Biogen Idec) and in 2002, he co-founded Alnylam Pharmaceuticals, an early-stage therapeutics company,  He serves on the Board of Directors and chairs the Scientific Advisory Board of Alnylam.

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