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Craig C. Mello

Craig C. MelloAKA Craig Cameron Mello

Born: 19-Oct-1960
Birthplace: New Haven, CT

Gender: Male
Race or Ethnicity: White
Sexual orientation: Straight
Occupation: Scientist

Nationality: United States
Executive summary: RNA interference

Craig C. Mello was only 47 years old when he won the Nobel Prize for Medicine in 2006, sharing the honor with Andrew Z. Fire, for their discovery of a natural means for switching off the flow of genetic information in the nematode worm C. elegans. In a technique called ribonucleic acid (RNA) interference, small double-stranded RNA can trigger sequence-specific silencing of gene expression, basically tricking the cell into killing the messenger RNA before it can produce a protein. Now used widely in research, RNA interference is expected to lead to breakthrough medicines against cancer and other genetic diseases.

Mello said the Nobel Committee had to ring twice. Their first call, at 4:30 AM Eastern Time, was answered by Mello's wife, who heard a thickly-accented voice say that her husband had won the Nobel Prize, assumed it was a prank and hung up. When the Committee called again a few minutes later, Mello himself answered the phone. Still, to be certain, he visited the Nobel Prize website, where he saw his name on the screen. In addition to the prestige, Mello and Fire shared a payment of about $1.4-million.

Father: James Mello (paleontologist)
Mother: Sally Mello (homemaker)
Sister: Jeanne Day (librarian, b. 1959)
Brother: Frank Mello (metal worker, b. 1960)
Brother: Roger Mello (high school principal, b. 1963)
Wife: Edit Mello (nurse)
Daughter: Victoria Mello (b. circa 2000)

    High School: Fairfax High School, Fairfax, VA
    University: BS Chemistry, Brown University (1982)
    University: Biology, University of Colorado (1982-84, transferred to Harvard)
    University: PhD Biology, Harvard University (1990)
    Scholar: Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center (1990-94)
    Teacher: Cell Biology, University of Massachusetts (1994-2000)
    Teacher: Molecular Medicine, University of Massachusetts (2000-03)
    Professor: Molecular Medicine, University of Massachusetts (2003-)

    Nobel Prize for Medicine 2006 (with Andrew Z. Fire)
    Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator (2000-)
    National Academy of Sciences
    Science Debate 2008


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