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Phillip A. Sharp was born in Pendleton County, Kentucky on June 6, 1944 – D-Day. When Phil was three years old, his parents bought a farm to grow tobacco. As a boy and all throughout high school, Phil worked on the farm, picking tobacco and husbanding a cow. He earned enough money this way to attend Union College in Eastern Kentucky. There, Phil first began seriously studying biology and chemistry. At Union, he met his future wife Ann. The couple were married after their sophomore year. Upon graduation, Phil enrolled in the University of Illinois to earn his PhD in chemistry. He later did postdoctoral work at Caltech and at Cold Spring Harbor. In 1974, Phil was recruited to join the new Center for Cancer Research at MIT, founded by Nobel Laureates Salvador Luria and David Baltimore.


In 1977, Phil, in collaboration with his postdoc Sue Berget and technician Claire Moore, discovered the process of RNA splicing. This discovery would earn Phil the Nobel Prize in 1993. Phil was also instrumental in the development of the biotechnology industry which emerged in the late 1970s after the discovery of recombinant DNA techniques. In 1978 Phil co-founded Biogen, which to this day remains one of the largest and most successful biotech companies in the world. His foundational work in both science and industry has ushered in a revolution in the life sciences industry which enabled the global health community to respond to the COVID-19 crisis with unparalleled speed and has set the stage for a golden age of medical research and drug development.



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