March 12, 2018 – Kentucky to the World special guest Phillip Sharp discussed his own pursuits in science, from his past accomplishments to his vision for the future of biotechnology with Jenni Laidman, a freelance writer specializing in science and medicine.
Nobel Prize Laureate Dr. Phillip A. Sharp is an Institute Professor (highest rank) at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, co-founder of Biogen, Inc. and founder of Alnylam Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
A world leader of research in molecular biology and biochemistry, Dr. Sharp joined the Center for Cancer Research (now the Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research) 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. He was founding director of the McGovern Institute for Brain Research from 2000 to 2004.
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 the first indications of “discontinuous genes” in mammalian cells. The discovery fundamentally changed scientists’ understanding of gene structure and the genetic causes of cancer and other diseases, earning Dr. Sharp the 1993 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine.
Dr. Sharp has authored over 410 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 of the SU2C Project, AACR.
A native of Kentucky, Dr. Sharp’s early education took place entirely in the public schools of Pendleton County, where he first gained his appreciation of math and science. Dr. Sharp earned a B.A. degree from Union College in Barbourville, KY. He went on to receive a Ph.D. in chemistry from the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana.