Craig Mello is a pioneer in the field of regulation of gene expression by small RNA molecules, an area recently described as "arguably the most important advance in biology in decades". His studies, focused through elegant experiments with a very powerful model organism, the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans, were and continue to be instrumental in elucidating mechanisms of gene regulation through short double-stranded RNAs, short interfering siRNA. This work has opened the field that has been named as RNA-mediated interference (RNAi) by Mello. RNAi has become an extremely powerful tool for basic studies on gene silencing and has led the way to important practical applications in biotechnology and medicine.
Craig Mello received his ScB in Biochemistry from Brown University in 1982 and additional training in Developmental Biology at the University of Colorado from 1982-1984. He went on to do doctoral work at Harvard University receiving his PhD in 1990, and postdoctoral work from 1990-1994 at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle. Dr. Mello is the recipient of many honors and awards including the Wiley Prize, Rockefeller University in 2003, and the National Academy of Sciences Molecular Biology Award in 2003. He has been an Assistant Investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute since 2000 and holder of the Blais University Chair in Molecular Medicine at the University of Massachusetts Medical School since 2003.