Professor Paul Sharp FRS
Paul Sharp is a geneticist whose research focusses on the evolutionary origin of bacteria and viruses. 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.
Paul 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.
Paul is a member of EMBO, the European Molecular Biology Organization, and has been President of the Society for Molecular Biology and Evolution. He is also a member of the Royal Irish Academy.