Phillip A. Sharp

Phillip A. Sharp

Institute Professor and Professor of Biology; Member, Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research

Phillip A. Sharp studies many aspects of gene expression in mammalian cells, including transcription, the roles of non-coding RNAs, and RNA splicing. 








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  • PhD, 1969, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
  • BA, 1966, Chemistry and Math, Union College

Research Summary

We investigate small, non-coding RNAs called microRNAs (miRNAs), which regulate over half of the genes in mammalian cells at the stages of translation and mRNA stability. We are also interested in the processes underlying transcription from the anti-sense strand (so-called “divergent” transcription), as well as the relationship between elongation of transcription, RNA splicing, and chromatin modifications.


  • AACR Award for Lifetime Achievement in Cancer Research, 2020
  • AACR Distinguished Award for Extraordinary Scientific Innovation and Exceptional Leadership in Cancer Research and Biomedical Science, 2018
  • Royal Society of London, Foreign Fellow, 2011
  • National Science Foundation, National Medal of Science, 2004
  • The Nobel Foundation, Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, 1993
  • National Academy of Medicine, Member, 1991
  • American Association for the Advancement of Science, Fellow, 1987
  • American Academy of Arts and Sciences, Fellow, 1987
  • National Academy of Sciences, Member, 1983

Key Publications

  1. Divergent transcription from active promoters. Seila, AC, Calabrese, JM, Levine, SS, Yeo, GW, Rahl, PB, Flynn, RA, Young, RA, Sharp, PA. 2008. Science 322, 1849-51.
    doi: 10.1126/science.1162253PMID:19056940
  2. RNAi: double-stranded RNA directs the ATP-dependent cleavage of mRNA at 21 to 23 nucleotide intervals. Zamore, PD, Tuschl, T, Sharp, PA, Bartel, DP. 2000. Cell 101, 25-33.
    doi: 10.1016/S0092-8674(00)80620-0PMID:10778853
  3. Targeted mRNA degradation by double-stranded RNA in vitro. Tuschl, T, Zamore, PD, Lehmann, R, Bartel, DP, Sharp, PA. 1999. Genes Dev 13, 3191-7.
    doi: 10.1101/gad.13.24.3191PMID:10617568
  4. Splicing of adenovirus RNA in a cell-free transcription system. Padgett, RA, Hardy, SF, Sharp, PA. 1983. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 80, 5230-4.
    doi: 10.1073/pnas.80.17.5230PMID:6577417
  5. Spliced segments at the 5' terminus of adenovirus 2 late mRNA. Berget, SM, Moore, C, Sharp, PA. 1977. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 74, 3171-5.
    doi: 10.1073/pnas.74.8.3171PMID:269380

Recent Publications

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Photo credit: Evgenia Eliseeva