Andrew Fire

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Data 2: April 27 1959 (1959-04-27) (age 55)
Palo Alto, California
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Andrew Zachary Fire (born April 27, 1959) is an American biologist and Professor of pathology and of genetics at the Stanford University School of Medicine. He was awarded the 2006 Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine, along with Craig C. Mello, for the discovery of RNA interference (RNAi). This research was conducted at the Carnegie Institution of Washington and published in 1998.


Andrew Fire was born in Palo Alto, California and raised in Sunnyvale, California.[1] He graduated from Fremont High School. He attended the University of California, Berkeley after being turned down by Stanford University, his only other college choice. He received his B.A. in mathematics from Berkeley in 1978 at the age of 19. He then proceeded to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he received a Ph.D. in biology in 1983 under the mentorship of Nobel laureate geneticist Phillip Sharp.

Fire then moved to Cambridge, England, to become a Helen Hay Whitney Postdoctoral Fellow. He became a member of the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology group headed by Nobel laureate biologist Sydney Brenner.

From 1986 to 2003, Fire was a staff member of the Carnegie Institution of Washington’s Department of Embryology in Baltimore. The initial work on double stranded RNA as a trigger of gene silencing was published while Fire and his group were at the Carnegie Labs. [2]

Fire became an adjunct professor in the Department of Biology at Johns Hopkins University starting in 1989 and joined the Stanford faculty in 2003. Throughout his career, all of the major work in Fire’s lab has been supported by research grants from the U.S. National Institutes of Health.

He is a member of the two prestigious learned societies: the National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He also serves on the Board of Scientific Counselors and the National Center for Biotechnology, National Institutes of Health.

Nobel prize

See also: RNAi

In 2006, Craig Mello and Andrew Fire received the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for work that began in 1998, when Mello and Fire along with their colleagues (SiQun Xu, Mary Montgomery, Stephen Kostas, Sam Driver) published a paper [3] in the journal Nature detailing how tiny snippets of RNA fool the cell into destroying the gene's messenger RNA (mRNA) before it can produce a protein - effectively shutting specific genes down.

The Nobel citation, issued by Sweden's Karolinska Institute, said: "This year's Nobel Laureates have discovered a fundamental mechanism for controlling the flow of genetic information."

Mello and Fire's research, conducted at the Carnegie Institution for Science, had shown that in fact RNA plays a key role in gene regulation. The BBC noted:

"It is very unusual for a piece of work to completely revolutionise the whole way we think about biological processes and regulation, but this has opened up a whole new field in biology." - Professor Nick Hastie, director of the Medical Research Council's Human Genetics Unit[4]

Awards and honors

Fire has received the following awards and honors:
(By chronological year of award [5])


  1. Andrew Fire wins 2006 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine. Stanford School of Medicine (2006-10-02). Retrieved on 2006-10-02.
  2. Andrew Fire wins 2006 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine. Stanford School of Medicine (2006-10-02). Retrieved on 2006-10-02.
  3. A. Fire, S.Q. Xu, M.K. Montgomery, S.A. Kostas, S. E. Driver, C.C. Mello: Potent and specific genetic interference by double-stranded RNA in Caenorhabditis elegans. In: Nature. 391/1998, S. 806-811, ISSN 0028-0836
  4. Nobel prize for genetic discovery. BBC (2006-10-02). Retrieved on 2006-10-02.
  5. UMASS MEDICAL SCHOOL PROFESSOR WINS NOBEL PRIZE. University of Massachusetts (2006-10-02). Retrieved on 2006-10-02.

External links

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