Phillip A Sharp


Also found in: Medical.

Sharp, Phillip A. (Allen)

(1944–  ) molecular biologist; born in Falmouth, Ky. He helped pay his Union College (Kentucky) tuition by working on the family farm, took a Ph.D. in chemistry from the University of Illinois: Urbana, went to California Institute of Technology, and then to the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory. In 1974 he joined the faculty at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), where he also directed the Center for Cancer Research and chaired the biology department. In 1977 he discovered that DNA is not continuous as had been thought. For this discovery of "split genes" he shared the 1993 Nobel Prize in medicine with Richard J. Roberts, who independently made the same discovery. In 1978 Sharp helped found Biogen, a Cambridge-based producer of interferon through genetic engineering. In 1990 he accepted and then declined the presidency of MIT after deciding he preferred teaching and research.