News » GW Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Medicine to Host Nobel Laureate

GW Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Medicine to Host Nobel Laureate

WASHINGTON (March 19, 2013) – The George Washington University (GW) Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Medicine will host Phillip A. Sharp, Ph.D., Nobel Laureate in Physiology or Medicine and Institute Professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, to speak on “The Biology and Synthesis of Non-coding RNAs,” March 22 from noon to 1 p.m., as part of the department’s Nobel Laureate Distinguished Lecture Series.

"Professor Sharp is a major contributor of this century to modern nucleic acid biology; his work not only discovered RNA splicing and processes that cause cancer, but also developed technology and methods to study complex regulatory interactions between protein factors and RNA or DNA. Thus, Dr. Sharp's contribution to medical sciences was a precursor to many pivotal discoveries from other laboratories. More recently, Dr. Sharp continues to reveal ever increasing significance of small RNAs in fine regulation of gene expression, an essential component of the living system. We, at the George Washington University, are very fortunate to have him share his perspective to our students, fellows, and faculty." said Rakesh Kumar, Ph.D., chair of the department of biochemistry and molecular medicine at the GW School of Medicine and Health Sciences (SMHS).

The goal of the Nobel Laureate Distinguished Lecture Series is to bring today’s leading researchers from all over the world to Washington, D.C. and to GW. Sharp, who won a Nobel Prize in Medicine or Physiology with a colleague in 1993 for their discoveries of “discontinuous genes” in mammalian cells, fundamentally changed scientists’ understanding of the structure of genes. 

Sharp’s more than 380 scientific papers have earned him numerous cancer-research awards and presidential and national scientific-board appointments. He is an elected member of the National Academy of Sciences, the Institute of Medicine, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the Royal Society, and the American Philosophical Society. He is also the recipient of the Lasker Basic Medical Research Award, and the 2004 National Medal of Science. Sharp earned a B.A. degree from Union College, in Kentucky, and a Ph.D. in chemistry from the University of Illinois. In 1978 he co-founded Biogen (now Biogen Idec), and in 2002 he co-founded Alnylam Pharmaceuticals, an early stage therapeutics company. 

Sharp is the third speaker to come to GW as part of the Nobel Laureate Distinguished Lecture Series. In February 2012, Aaron Ciechanover, M.D., Ph.D., who won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 2004 with two other scientists for describing how proteins are broken down by cell enzymes, spoke as part of the series. The lectures were launched by Ferid Murad, M.D., Ph.D., in September 2010. Murad, who won the Nobel Prize in Science or Medicine in 1998 for uncovering nitric oxide’s first biological effects, is now a University professor at GW and professor in SMHS’s Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Medicine.

For more information, please contact Lisa Anderson at lisama2@gwu.edu or 202-994-3121.

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Founded in 1825, the GW School of Medicine and Health Sciences (SMHS) was the first medical school in the nation’s capital and is the 11th oldest in the country. Working together in our nation’s capital, with integrity and resolve, the GW SMHS is committed to improving the health and well-being of our local, national and global communities.