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Nobel Prize winner to get honorary U of M degree

Nobel Prize winner Phillip Sharp will receive an honorary doctor of science degree from the University of Minnesota today.

He’s in town to speak at Saturday’s commencement ceremony for the University’s College of Biological Sciences.

Sharp won the 1993 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for his 1977 discovery that genes contain “nonsense” segments that cells delete as they use genetic information. The discovery fundamentally changed the understanding of the structure of genes and contributed to the rise of genetic engineering as a tool for science and industry.

Sharp is now an Institute Professor at MIT’s Koch Institute for Cancer Research.

When he was a graduate student at the University of Illinois (Champaign-Urbana) in the late 1960s, Sharp’s adviser was Victor Bloomfield, now a U of M biochemistry professor and university administrator. Bloomfield is retiring this year after 40 years at the University.

U of M President Robert Bruininks will present the honorary degree to Sharp today at the annual Bollum Symposium from 1 to 5 p.m. in the University’s Mayo Auditorium. Bloomfield also will be recognized at the symposium.

Saturday’s CBS commencement is at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at Mariucci Arena.

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