Phillip Sharp to Receive 2015 Othmer Gold Medal

Mar 02, 2015, 23:16 ET from Chemical Heritage Foundation

PHILADELPHIA, March 2, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Phillip Sharp, Institute Professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a faculty member of the Department of Biology and the Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research, will receive the 2015 Othmer Gold Medal at Heritage Day, May 14, at the Chemical Heritage Foundation. Sharp is the 21st recipient of the Othmer Gold Medal since it was first awarded to Ralph Landau in 1997.

"In 1977 Phil Sharp gave the scientific world a new view of the structure of genes," said Carsten Reinhardt, president and CEO. "In addition to his Nobel Prize-winning research he has founded very successful biotechnology companies, including Biogen. One of his graduate students is also a Nobel laureate, and dozens of other Sharp lab alumni run labs and companies and hold prestigious positions in hospitals and universities around the world."

The 2015 Othmer Gold Medal will be the fourth award CHF has presented to Sharp. In 2002 he received the Biotechnology Heritage Award, and then in 2004 he delivered the annual Ullyot Public Affairs Lecture. Sharp was awarded the Winthrop-Sears Medal at Heritage Day 2007. 

About Phillip Sharp

Sharp joined the Center for Cancer Research (now the Koch Institute) in 1974 and served as its director for six years, from 1985 to 1991, before taking over as head of MIT's Department of Biology, a position he held for the next eight years. More recently, he was founding director of the McGovern Institute, a position he held from 2000 to 2004. Sharp is also a cofounder of Biogen (now Biogen Idec) and Alnylam Pharmaceuticals.

His research interests have centered on the molecular biology of gene expression relevant to cancer and the mechanisms of RNA splicing. His landmark work in 1977 provided the first indications of "discontinuous genes" in mammalian cells. The discovery fundamentally changed scientists' understanding of gene structure and earned Sharp the 1993 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine.

Sharp has authored over 400 papers. He is an elected member of the National Academy of Sciences, the Institute of Medicine, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Philosophical Society, and the Royal Society. Among his many awards are the Gairdner Foundation International Award, the Lasker Basic Medical Research Award, and the National Medal of Science. His long list of service includes the presidency of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (2013) and chairman of its board (2014), and chair of the Scientific Advisory Committee of Stand Up to Cancer (SU2C).

Sharp earned a BA degree from Union College, in Barbourville, Kentucky, and a PhD in chemistry from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.

About the Othmer Gold Medal

The Chemical Heritage Foundation (CHF) established the Othmer Gold Medal in 1997 to honor outstanding individuals who have made multifaceted contributions to our chemical and scientific heritage through outstanding activity in such areas as innovation, entrepreneurship, research, education, public understanding, legislation, or philanthropy.

The medal is presented annually and cosponsored by CHF and four affiliated organizations: the American Chemical Society (ACS), the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE), The Chemists' Club, and the Societe de Chimie Industrielle (American Section). The medal commemorates Donald Othmer (1904–1995), noted researcher, consultant, editor, engineer, inventor, philanthropist, professor, and coeditor of the Kirk-Othmer Encyclopedia of Chemical Technology.

CHF gratefully acknowledges John Wiley and Sons for donating a set of the Kirk-Othmer Encyclopedia of Chemical Technology each year to the institution chosen by the Othmer Gold Medal recipient.

About the Chemical Heritage Foundation (CHF)
CHF fosters dialogue on science and technology in society. Our staff and fellows study the past in order to understand the present and inform the future. We focus on matter and materials and their effects on our modern world in territory ranging from the physical sciences and industries, through the chemical sciences and engineering, to the life sciences and technologies. We collect, preserve, and exhibit historical artifacts; engage communities of scientists and engineers; and tell the stories of the people behind breakthroughs and innovations.

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