Paul M. Sharp

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Paul Sharp
Born Paul Martin Sharp
(1957-09-12) 12 September 1957 (age 60)[1]
Alma mater University of Edinburgh (BSc, PhD)
Known for
Awards EMBO Member (1992)[5]
Scientific career
Thesis Quantitative genetics of Drosophila melanogaster - variation in male mating ability (1982)
Doctoral advisor Alan Robertson[8]
Doctoral students Kenneth H. Wolfe[9][10]
Other notable students Desmond G. Higgins (postdoc)[11]

Paul Martin Sharp (born 1957)[1] FRS FRSE MRIA[12][13] is Professor of Genetics at the University of Edinburgh, where he holds the Alan Robertson chair of genetics in the Institute of Evolutionary Biology.[14][15][16][17]


Sharp was educated at the University of Edinburgh where he was awarded a Bachelor of Science degree in 1979[1][18] followed by a PhD in 1982 for research using quantitative genetics on the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster supervised by Alan Robertson.[14][8]

Career and research

Sharp has held academic posts at Trinity College, Dublin from 1982 to 1993,[7] the University of Nottingham from 1993 to 2007[7] and was appointed Professor at the University of Edinburgh in 2007.[7]

Sharp's research investigates the evolutionary origin of bacteria and viruses.[12][19][20] He has carried out important work into the origin of HIV and its transmission from chimpanzees to humans. He also discovered that the human malaria parasite, Plasmodium, originated in gorillas.[12] He was one of the first researchers to use DNA sequence databases to gain insight into evolutionary processes. His work amplifying DNA from chimpanzee faecal samples showed that HIV type 1 was transmitted to humans from a specific chimp population in West Africa in the early 20th century. Paul went on to examine his collection of ape faecal samples for plasmodium parasites, finding a likely candidate for the form that causes malaria in humans.[12][21]

In the eighties, Sharp collaborated with Desmond G. Higgins during the creation of CLUSTAL,[2][3] a suite of multiple sequence alignment programs that have become widely used and highly influential.[22] His research has been funded by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC).[23] His former doctoral students include Laura Emery[24] Chloe McIntyre[25] and Kenneth H. Wolfe.<re fna

Awards and honours

Sharp was elected member of the European Molecular Biology Organization (EMBO) in 1992,[5] and was President of the Society for Molecular Biology and Evolution[when?]. He was elected member of the Royal Irish Academy in 1993,[18] a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh (FRSE) in 2010[13] and a Fellow of the Royal Society (FRS) in 2013.[12]

Personal life

Sharps's entry in Who's Who lists his recreations as hill walking, pteridology and, since 1967, supporting Nottingham Forest Football Club.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d Anon (2016). Sharp, Prof. Paul Martin. Who's Who (online Oxford University Press ed.). A & C Black, an imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing plc. doi:10.1093/ww/9780199540884.013.271679.  closed access publication – behind paywall (subscription required)
  2. ^ a b Higgins, Desmond G.; Sharp, Paul M. (1988). "CLUSTAL: a package for performing multiple sequence alignment on a microcomputer". Gene. 73 (1): 237–244. doi:10.1016/0378-1119(88)90330-7. PMID 3243435. 
  3. ^ a b Higgins, Desmond G.; Sharp, Paul M. (1989). "Fast and sensitive multiple sequence alignments on a microcomputer". Bioinformatics. 5 (2): 151–153. doi:10.1093/bioinformatics/5.2.151. PMID 2720464. 
  4. ^ a b Sharp, Paul M.; Li, Wen-Hsiung (1987). "The codon adaptation index-a measure of directional synonymous codon usage bias, and its potential applications". Nucleic Acids Research. 15 (3): 1281–1295. doi:10.1093/nar/15.3.1281. PMC 340524Freely accessible. PMID 3547335. 
  5. ^ a b "Paul M. Sharp University of Edinburgh, United Kingdom". Hedelberg: EMBO. Archived from the original on 2016-01-19. 
  6. ^ Paul M. Sharp publications indexed by Google Scholar
  7. ^ a b c d Paul Sharp's Entry at ORCID
  8. ^ a b Sharp, Paul Martin (1982). Quantitative genetics of Drosophila melanogaster : variation in male mating ability. (PhD thesis). University of Edinburgh. hdl:1842/14397. OCLC 606022632. EThOS  open access publication – free to read
  9. ^ Paul M. Sharp at the Mathematics Genealogy Project
  10. ^ Wolfe, Kenneth H. (1990). Rates of nucleotide substitution in higher plants and mammals (PhD thesis). Trinity College, Dublin. OCLC 842511087. 
  11. ^ "Paul M. Sharp: Computational Biology Tree". 
  12. ^ a b c d e Anon (2013). "Professor Paul Sharp FRS". London: Royal Society. Archived from the original on 2015-11-17.  One or more of the preceding sentences incorporates text from the website where:

    “All text published under the heading 'Biography' on Fellow profile pages is available under Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.” --"Royal Society Terms, conditions and policies". Archived from the original on 25 September 2015. Retrieved 9 March 2016. 

  13. ^ a b "Royal Society of Edinburgh Fellows as of 2016-05-13" (PDF). Edinburgh: Royal Society of Edinburgh. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2016-03-30. 
  14. ^ a b "Professor Paul M. Sharp, FRS, FRSE, MRIA: Alan Robertson Chair of Genetics". Edinburgh: University of Edinburgh. Archived from the original on 2016-04-12. 
  15. ^ Sharp, P. M.; Hahn, B. H. (2011). "Origins of HIV and the AIDS Pandemic". Cold Spring Harbor Perspectives in Medicine. 1 (1): a006841. doi:10.1101/cshperspect.a006841. PMC 3234451Freely accessible. PMID 22229120. 
  16. ^ "Staff profiles: Institute of Evolutionary Biology". Edinburgh: University of Edinburgh. Archived from the original on 2015-09-17. 
  17. ^ Paul M. Sharp publications from Europe PubMed Central
  18. ^ a b "Paul Martin Sharp BSc, PhD (Edin 1979, 1982). FRS, FRSE". Dublin: Royal Irish Academy. Archived from the original on 2016-04-13. 
  19. ^ Paul M. Sharp publications indexed by the Scopus bibliographic database, a service provided by Elsevier. (subscription required)
  20. ^ Hahn, Beatrice H.; Shaw, George M.; Cock, Kevin M. De; Sharp, Paul M. (2000). "AIDS as a Zoonosis: Scientific and Public Health Implications". Science. 287 (5453): 607–614. doi:10.1126/science.287.5453.607. PMID 10649986. 
  21. ^ Gao, Feng; Bailes, Elizabeth; Robertson, David L.; Chen, Yalu; Rodenburg, Cynthia M.; Michael, Scott F.; Cummins, Larry B.; Arthur, Larry O.; Peeters, Martine; Shaw, George M.; Sharp, Paul M.; Hahn, Beatrice H. (1999). "Origin of HIV-1 in the chimpanzee Pan troglodytes troglodytes". Nature. 397 (6718): 436–441. doi:10.1038/17130. PMID 9989410. 
  22. ^ Van Noorden, R.; Maher, B.; Nuzzo, R. (2014). "The top 100 papers: Nature explores the most-cited research of all time". Nature. London. 514 (7524): 550–3. doi:10.1038/514550a. PMID 25355343. 
  23. ^ "UK Government grants awarded to Paul M. Sharp". Swindon: Research Councils UK. Archived from the original on 2016-04-12. 
  24. ^ Emery, Laura R. (2011). Codon usage bias in Archaea (PhD thesis). University of Edinburgh. OCLC 827265443.  open access publication – free to read
  25. ^ McIntyre, Chloe Leanne (2013). Epidemiology, classification and evolution of human rhinoviruses (PhD thesis). University of Edinburgh. OCLC 870423031.  open access publication – free to read
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