Dr. Phillip A. Sharp is currently Salvador E Lauria Professor and Head of the Department of Biology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, a position he assumed on July 1, 1991. He joined the Center for Cancer Research and Department of Biology at MIT in 1974, becoming Associate Director in 1982 and Director in 1985.
Dr. Sharp obtained a B.A. in chemistry and mathematics from Union College, Kentucky, and a Ph.D. in chemistry from the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana. During his post-doctoral fellowship at California Institute of Technology, he studied the molecular biology of plasmids from bacteria in Professor Norman Davidson's laboratory. In 1971, Dr. Sharp moved to Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory to begin studies on the molecular biology of animal viruses and mammalian cells. His interests have centered on the molecular biology of tumor viruses and the mechanisms of RNA splicing. Dr. Sharp's most noted achievement was the discovery of RNA splicing in 1977.
Dr. Sharp is the recipient of numerous awards. In 1980 he received both the Eli Lilly Award in molecular biology and the U.S. Steel Award from the National Academy of Sciences. He was elected to the National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1983 and elected Associate Member of the European Molecular Biology Organization in 1989. In 1986, he received the Gairdner Foundation International Award, was nominated Councilor of NAS, and, the following year, was elected Fellow of the American Academy for the Advancement of Sciences. In 1991, he was elected member of the American Philosophical Society and member of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences.
Among Dr. Sharp's other awards are the John D. MacArthur Professorship (1987-1992), the first Salvador E. Lauria Professorship (1992- ), the New York Academy of Sciences Award in Biological and Medical Sciences, the General Motors Research Foundation Alfred P. Sloan, Jr. Prize for Cancer Research, the 1988 Louisa Gross Horwitz Prize, the Albert Lasker Basic Medical Research Award and the 1990 Dickson Prize from the University of Pittsburgh. He has served on numerous committees and professional societies and on the editorial boards of the Journal of Virology and Molecular Cell Biology. He currently serves on the editorial board of Cell.
Dr. Sharp has over 240 career publications in peer reviewed scientific journals and periodicals as well as numerous book chapters in edited works. He has held lectureships at various universities and continues to teach at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He is also co-founder and Chairman of the Scientific Board of Biogen, Inc., and a member of its Board of Directors.
Mendel Medal Presentation Program, January 23, 1993. Villanova University, Villanova, Pennsylvania.