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Phillip A. Sharp, PhD

Phillip A. Sharp, PhD

Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Cambridge, Massachusetts

Class of 2013

A world leader in molecular biology and biochemistry, Dr. Sharp’s landmark achievement was the co-discovery of RNA splicing, which led to his being awarded the 1993 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine. This work provided the first indication of the startling phenomenon of “discontinuous genes” in mammalian cells. It fundamentally changed scientists’ understanding of the structure of genes. He currently investigates the processes by which RNA molecules act as switches to turn genes on and off (RNA interference), which could lead to a new class of cancer therapeutics.

Dr. Sharp has received many awards and over 15 honorary degrees and is a central figure in biotechnology and drug discovery. He co-founded Biogen in 1978 and Alnylam Pharmaceuticals in 2002 and has served as a thought leader for numerous think tanks and advisory boards that have helped determine the future of cancer research. For example, he chairs the Scientific Advisory Committee for the SU2C-AACR Dream Team Program and has served as a member of the National Cancer Advisory Board and the Presidential Committee for Advice on Science and Technology.

Career Highlights

2020 AACR Award for Lifetime Achievement in Cancer Research
2013 President, American Association for the Advance of Science
2011 Elected Foreign Member, Royal Society of London, United Kingdom
2010 AACR-Margaret Foti Award for Leadership and Extraordinary Achievements in Cancer Research
2006 Inaugural Double Helix Medal for Scientific Research, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory
2006 AACR-Irving Weinstein Distinguished Award
2004 National Medal of Science, National Science Foundation
2000-2002 Chairman, National Cancer Advisory Board, National Cancer Institute
1999 The Benjamin Franklin Medal for Distinguished Achievement in the Sciences, American Philosophical Society
1993 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine
1991 Elected Member, Institute of Medicine
1988 Albert Lasker Basic Medical Research Award
1986 The New York Academy of Sciences Award in Biological and Medical Sciences
1983 Elected Member, National Academy of Sciences, Washington, D.C.
1983 Elected Fellow, American Academy of Arts and Sciences
1969 PhD, University of Illinois