Phillip Allen Sharp

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Phillip Sharp
Phillip Sharp HD2007 with Winthrop Sears Medal.jpg
Phillip Allen Sharp

(1944-06-06) June 6, 1944 (age 76)
Alma mater
Spouse(s)Ann Holcombe
Scientific career
Doctoral students
External video
DNA exons introns.gif
Meet Phillip Sharp: "What we were able to discover was that in human cells and in many other cells of higher-order organisms, the genes come in discontinuous segments", MIT

Phillip Allen Sharp (born June 6, 1944) is an American geneticist and molecular biologist who co-discovered RNA splicing. He shared the 1993 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine with Richard J. Roberts for "the discovery that genes in eukaryotes are not contiguous strings but contain introns, and that the splicing of messenger RNA to delete those introns can occur in different ways, yielding different proteins from the same DNA sequence".[2][3][4][5][6][7] He has been selected to receive the 2015 Othmer Gold Medal.[8]


Sharp's current research focuses on small RNAs and other types of non-coding RNAs. His laboratory works to identify the target mRNAs of microRNAs (miRNAs), and has discovered a class of miRNAs that are produced from sequences adjacent to transcription start sites. His laboratory also studies how miRNA gene regulation functions in angiogenesis and cellular stress.[9][10][11][12]


Sharp was born in Falmouth, Kentucky, the son of Kathrin (Colvin) and Joseph Walter Sharp.[13] Sharp married Ann Holcombe in 1964. They have three daughters.[14]

Sharp studied at Union College and majored in chemistry and mathematics, afterwards completing his Ph.D. in chemistry at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 1969.[15] Following his Ph.D., he did his postdoctoral training at the California Institute of Technology until 1971, where he studied plasmids.[16] Later, he studied gene expression in human cells at the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory as a senior scientist under James Dewey Watson.[16]

In 1974, he was offered a position at MIT by biologist Salvador Luria.[16] He was director of MIT's Center for Cancer Research (now the Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research) from 1985 to 1991; head of the Biology department from 1991 to 1999; and founder and director of the McGovern Institute for Brain Research from 2000 to 2004.[15] He is currently a professor of Biology and member of the Koch Institute, and has been an Institute Professor since 1999.[15] Sharp co-founded Biogen, Alnylam Pharmaceuticals, and Magen Biosciences, and has served on the boards of all three companies.[17]

Awards and honors[edit]

Phillip Sharp with George W. Bush, at the National Medal of Science awards in 2006.

In addition to the Nobel Prize, Sharp has won several notable awards, including the 2004 National Medal of Science,[18] the 1999 Benjamin Franklin Medal for Distinguished Achievement in the Sciences of the American Philosophical Society,[19] the Golden Plate Award of the American Academy of Achievement in 1981,[20] and the 1988 Louisa Gross Horwitz Prize from Columbia University together with Thomas R. Cech.[21]

Sharp is an elected member of several academic societies, including the American Academy of Arts and Sciences,[22] the American Association for the Advancement of Science,[23] the National Academy of Sciences,[24] and the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies.[25] He was elected a Foreign Member of the Royal Society (ForMemRS) in 2011.[26][27] In 2012, he was elected the president of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.[28] He is also a Member and Chair of the Scientific Advisory Board of Fidelity Biosciences Group; a member of the Board of Advisors of Polaris Venture Partners; chairman of the Scientific Advisory Board and member of the Board of Directors of Alnylam Pharmaceuticals; advisor and investor at Longwood and Polaris Venture Funds; a member of the Boards of Directors at Syros Pharmaceuticals and VIR Biotechnology; and member and Chair of the Scientific Advisory Board at Dewpoint Biotechnology.

Pendleton County, Kentucky, Sharp's birthplace, named its current middle school after him.

Other activities[edit]

In October 2010 Sharp participated in the USA Science and Engineering Festival's Lunch with a Laureate program where middle and high school students got to engage in an informal conversation with a Nobel Prize-winning scientist over a brown-bag lunch.[29] Sharp is also a member of the USA Science and Engineering Festival's Advisory Board.[30] In 2011, he was listed at #5 on the MIT150 list of the top 150 innovators and ideas from MIT.[31]

He is an editorial advisor to Xconomy,[32] and is a member of the Board of Scientific Governors at The Scripps Research Institute.[33] He has also served on the Faculty Advisory Board of the MIT-Harvard Research Journal and MIT Student Research Association.[15]

Selected publications[edit]

  • Petersen C.P.; Bordeleau M.E.; Pelletier J.; Sharp P.A. (17 February 2006). "Short RNAs Repress Translation after Initiation in Mammalian Cells". Mol Cell. 21 (4): 533–42. doi:10.1016/j.molcel.2006.01.031. PMID 16483934.
  • Miskevich F.; Doench J.G.; Townsend M.T.; Sharp P.A.; Constantine-Paton M. (15 April 2006). "RNA Interference of Xenopus NMDAR NR1 in vitro and in vivo". J Neurosci Methods. 152 (1–2): 65–73. doi:10.1016/j.jneumeth.2005.08.010. PMID 16182372.
  • Hong J.H.; Hwang E.S.; McManus M.T.; Amsterdam A.; Tian Y.; Kalmukova R.; Mueller E.; Benjamin T.; Spiegelman B.M.; Sharp P.A.; Hopkins N.; Yaffe M.B. (12 August 2005). "TAZ, a Transcriptional Modulator of Mesenchymal Stem Cell Differentiation". Science. 309 (5737): 1074–8. doi:10.1126/science.1110955. PMID 16099986.
  • Johnson D.M.; Yamaji S.; Tennant J.; Srai S.K.; Sharp P.A. (28 March 2005). "Regulation of Divalent Metal Transporter Expression in Human Intestinal Epithelial Cells Following Exposure to Non-haem Iron". FEBS Lett. 579 (9): 1923–9. doi:10.1016/j.febslet.2005.02.035. PMID 15792797.
  • Neilson J.R.; Sharp P.A. (April 2005). "Herpesviruses Throw a Curve Ball: New Insights into microRNA Biogenesis and Evolution". Nat Methods. 2 (4): 252–4. doi:10.1038/nmeth0405-252. PMID 15782215.
  • Lee K.B.; Sharp P.A. (7 December 2004). "Transcription-dependent Polyubiquitination of RNA Polymerase II Requires Lysine 63 of Ubiquitin". Biochemistry. 43 (48): 15223–9. doi:10.1021/bi048719x. PMID 15568815.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ The Official Site of Louisa Gross Horwitz Prize
  2. ^ "The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 1993". Nobel Media. Retrieved 12 November 2014.
  3. ^ Sharp, P (2011). "Q&A: Phillip Sharp on biomedical convergence". Cancer Discovery. 1 (5): 370. doi:10.1158/2159-8290.CD-ND11-08. PMID 22586619.
  4. ^ Musgrave, E (2010). "Advancing science across the disciplines: An interview with Nobel Laureate Phillip A. Sharp, PhD". Clinical and Translational Science. 3 (3): 69–70. doi:10.1111/j.1752-8062.2010.00197.x. PMC 5350715. PMID 20590673.
  5. ^ Sharp, P. A.; Sharp, P (2005). "Phillip Sharp discusses RNAi, Nobel Prizes and entrepreneurial science". Drug Discovery Today. 10 (1): 7–10. doi:10.1016/S1359-6446(04)03329-X. PMID 15676292.
  6. ^ Shampo, M. A.; Kyle, R. A. (2004). "Phillip Sharp--Nobel Prize for discovery of "split genes"". Mayo Clinic Proceedings. 79 (6): 727. doi:10.1016/s0025-6196(11)62621-9. PMID 15182083.
  7. ^ Raju, T. N. (2000). "The Nobel chronicles. 1993: Richard John Roberts (b 1943) Phillip a Sharp (b 1944)". Lancet. 355 (9220): 2085. doi:10.1016/s0140-6736(05)73547-9. PMID 10885388.
  8. ^ "Othmer Gold Medal". Science History Institute. Retrieved 4 February 2015.
  9. ^ Autobiography at the Nobel site
  10. ^ Sharp's Research at MIT Archived December 6, 2006, at the Wayback Machine
  11. ^ Thackray, Arnold; Brock, David C.; Ashiya, Mona (20 November 2003). Phillip A. Sharp, Transcript of Interviews Conducted by Arnold Thackray, David C. Brock, and Mona Ashiya at Massachusetts Institute of Technology Cambridge, Massachusetts on 28 January, 29 May, and 20 November 2003 (PDF). Philadelphia, PA: Chemical Heritage Foundation.
  12. ^ "The Koch Institute: Phillip A. Sharp". Retrieved 2020-02-11.
  13. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2014-10-28. Retrieved 2013-10-08.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  14. ^ "Phillip A. Sharp - Biographical". Nobel Media AB. Retrieved 12 November 2014.
  15. ^ a b c d "Curriculum Vitae - Phillip A. Sharp, Ph.D." Sharp Lab. Retrieved 12 November 2014.
  16. ^ a b c "Short Bio - Phillip A. Sharp". Sharp Lab. Retrieved 12 November 2014.
  17. ^ Biogen Idec, Inc. (2008). "Proxy statement for annual meeting of stockholders to be held on June 19, 2008 at 9:00 A.M., local time", 7.
  18. ^ "The President's National Medal of Science Recipient Details - Phillip A. Sharp". National Science Foundation. Retrieved 12 November 2014.
  19. ^ "Benjamin Franklin Medal for Distinguished Achievement in the Sciences Recipients". American Philosophical Society. Retrieved 27 November 2011.
  20. ^ "Golden Plate Awardees of the American Academy of Achievement". American Academy of Achievement.
  21. ^ "The Louisa Gross Horwitz Prize for Biology or Biochemistry". Columbia University Medical Center. Retrieved 12 November 2014.
  22. ^ "Alphabetical Index of Active Members" (PDF). American Academy of Arts and Sciences. 5 November 2013. Retrieved 12 November 2014.
  23. ^ "Fellows". American Association for the Advancement of Science. Archived from the original on 27 July 2014. Retrieved 12 November 2014.
  24. ^ "Phillip A. Sharp". National Academy of Sciences. Retrieved 12 November 2014.
  25. ^ "Directory: IOM Member - Phillip A. Sharp, Ph.D." Institute of Medicine of the National Academies. Archived from the original on 12 November 2014. Retrieved 12 November 2014.
  26. ^ "Professor Philip Sharp ForMemRS". London: Royal Society. Archived from the original on 2015-10-06.
  27. ^ "Royal Society". Royal Society. Retrieved 2010-03-20.
  28. ^ Staff Report (13 March 2012). "Phillip A. Sharp, Molecular Biologist and Nobel Laureate, Chosen to Serve as AAAS President-Elect". American Association for the Advancement of Science. Retrieved 12 November 2014.
  29. ^ "Lunch with a Laureate". Archived from the original on April 21, 2010. Retrieved 2010-12-09.. (2010)
  30. ^ Furthermore, Sharp participates in the Distinguished Lecture Series of the annual Research Science Institute (RSI), a summer research program for high school students held at MIT. Advisors Archived 2010-04-21 at the Wayback Machine.
  31. ^ "MIT 150: The Top 50". Retrieved 12 November 2014.
  32. ^ "About". Retrieved 12 November 2014.
  33. ^ "Board of Scientific Governors". The Scripps Research Institute. Retrieved 12 November 2014.

External links[edit]