Craig C. Mello, PhD

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On October 2, 2006, the Nobel Assembly at Karolinska Institutet awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for 2006 to Dr. Craig Mello of the University of Massachusetts Medical School and for their discovery of RNA interference, a fundamental mechanism for controlling the flow of genetic information. Drs. Mello and Fire, who were elected to the National Academy of Sciences in 2005 and 2004 respectively, were co-recipients of the organization's distinguished Award in Molecular Biology in 2003 and the Wiley Prize in the Biomedical Sciences from Rockefeller University that same year. Their RNAi finding was named the 2002 "Breakthrough of the Year" by Science magazine and was also on Science's list of the top 10 scientific advances in 2003. Dr. Mello, a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator, holds his B.S. in biochemistry from Brown University and his Ph.D. in Cellular and Developmental Biology from Harvard University. He was a postdoctoral fellow at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center before coming to Worcester to join University of Massachusetts Medical School in 1994; he was named a Pew Scholar in the Biomedical Sciences in 1995. In 2003, Dr. Mello's work so inspired philanthropists John F. "Jack" Blais and wife Shelley that they made a $3 million gift to establish the Blais University Chair in Molecular Medicine to assist Mello in his future research endeavors. Dr. Mello has received numerous honors and awards for his work during the past 14 years and has authored more than 50 peer-reviewed publications. The RNAi discoveries of Drs. Mello and Fire have not only changed the way many biomedical researchers work, but offer profound potential for better understanding and manipulating the cellular basis of human disease.