NEW YORK and PHILADELPHIA4 May 2007The Chemists' Club of New York has announced that Phillip A. Sharp, Institute Professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), will receive The Chemists' Club's Winthrop-Sears Award for 2007. The award will be presented at a dinner on Thursday, 17 May 2007, at the Chemical Heritage Foundation (CHF) in Philadelphia, as part of CHF's sixth annual Heritage Day celebration.
"As a researcher, Phil Sharp's work opened an entirely new area in molecular biology and forever changed the field," said Joel W. Jones, president of The Chemists' Club. "As an entrepreneur, he is a cofounder of Biogen. As an educator, for more than three decades Sharp has been inspiring researchers that now work across the world of biotechnology."
Since joining MIT in 1974, Sharp has played a role in the emergence of the institute (and of Cambridge, Massachusetts) as a world leader in the biomolecular sciences and technologies. He was director of its Center for Cancer Research from 1985 to 1991 and chair of the Department of Biology from 1991 to 1999. He served as founding director of the McGovern Institute at MIT from 2000 through 2004. In 1999 he was named Institute Professor, a title given to a small number of faculty with extraordinary records of achievement.
Sharp codiscovered RNA splicing in 1977. This work provided one of the first indications of the startling phenomenon of "discontinuous genes" in mammalian cells. The discovery that genes contain nonsense segments that are edited out by cells in the course of utilizing genetic information is important in understanding the genetic causes of cancer and other diseases. For this work he was awarded the 1993 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine. Sharp is cofounder of Biogen (now Biogen Idec) and a member of its board of directors.
One of the biggest scientific advances of the last decade has been RNA interference (RNAi), a natural process used by organisms from poppie
Contact: Neil Gussman
Chemical Heritage Foundation