Scientific breakthroughs often result from years of dedication, collaboration, and a commitment to building upon past research. A groundbreaking study of RNA modification by Phil Bevilacqua ’87 eventually led to the 2023 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine. Katalin Kariko and Drew Weissman earned this honor.
Bevilacqua, a distinguished Chemistry professor at Penn State, played a pivotal role in the research that contributed to the Nobel Prize. His RNA research began during his graduate studies at the University of Rochester, where he focused on RNA and precisely how it reacts to different catalysts. This interest in RNA led him to collaborate with Nobel laureate Tom Cech, who had discovered catalytic RNA, a significant development in RNA research.
Bevilacqua's independent research program has always revolved around RNA, and his work intersects the fields of chemistry and biology. He has a joint appointment in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, emphasizing the interdisciplinary nature of his research. This synergy is deeply rooted in his undergraduate days at John Carroll University, which is the blueprint for his students' aspirations.