Harold E. Varmus - Microbiologists, Birthday and Family

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Harold E. Varmus's Personal Details

Harold E

InformationDetail
BirthdayDecember 18, 1939
NationalityAmerican
FamousAmherst College, Physicians, Geneticists, Immunologists, Medical Scientists, Microbiologists
SpousesConstance Louise Casey
Known asHarold Eliot Varmus
Childrens Christopher Varmus, Jacob Varmus
Universities
  • Amherst College
Notable Alumnis
  • Amherst College
Birth PlaceOceanside, New York, US
GenderMale
FatherFrank Varmus
MotherBeatrice Varmus
Sun SignSagittarius
Born inOceanside, New York, US
Famous asPhysician

// Famous Microbiologists

Harold E. Varmus's photo

Who is Harold E. Varmus?

Harold E. Varmus is an American scientist who won a share of the 1989 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine. Along with J. Michael Bishop, he discovered the cellular origin of retroviral oncogenes and developed a new theory of the origin of cancer, which holds that the disease arises from mutations in some of our own normal genes. The duo also found out that the genes that are susceptible to such mutations are closely related to genes in a number of cancer-causing viruses. Born as the son of a physician, he was expected to follow in his father’s footsteps. But as a young man Varmus was more interested in literature and went on to earn a graduate degree in English at Harvard University. However, he changed his mind and entered the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, earning his MD in 1966. He was first exposed to laboratory science when he joined the Public Health Service at the National Institutes of Health where he performed research under Ira Pastan. He later began post-doctoral studies with Michael Bishop at University of California, San Francisco, under a fellowship from the California Division of the American Cancer Society. His scientific collaboration with Bishop led to many significant medical discoveries that are of much importance to the study of cancer causing viruses.

// Famous Alumni of Amherst College

Childhood & Early Life

Harold Eliot Varmus was born on December 18, 1939, in Oceanside, New York, U.S. to Jewish parents who had descended from immigrants who had arrived from Poland and Austria at the beginning of the century. His father, Frank Varmus, was a physician while his mother, Beatrice,, was a social service worker.

He graduated from Freeport High School in Freeport in 1957. As a youngster he was deeply interested in literature and writing, and planned for an academic career in literature. Following this dream, he earned an MA degree in English at Harvard University in 1962 with a focus on Anglo-Saxon and metaphysical poetry.

Armed with an English degree, he changed his mind and decided to pursue medical studies. He applied to, and was rejected by the Harvard Medical School following which he was accepted into the College of Physicians and Surgeons at Columbia University in New York in 1962. He received his MD in 1966, which included a three-month internship at a hospital in northern India.

Career

Varmus worked as a medical house officer at Columbia-Presbyterian Hospital from 1966 to 1968 following which he joined the Public Health Service at the National Institutes of Health where he was employed as a Clinical Associate in Ira Pastan's laboratory.

In 1970, he began postdoctoral research in J. Michael Bishop's lab at University of California, San Francisco. He became a Lecturer shortly thereafter, and in 1972, became a regular member of the faculty in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at the university.

In the 1970s and 1980s, Bishop and Varmus together directed a research group which made several major discoveries regarding cancer causing viruses. The duo demonstrated that nearly-identical versions of cancer-causing genes (oncogenes) carried by retroviruses are present in the genome of normal, uninfected cells in a wide range of species, including humans.

Varmus steadily rose through the ranks in the UCSF and was promoted to professor in 1979 and became an American Cancer Society Research Professor in 1984. His collaborative research with Bishop shed light on the functioning of the retroviruses and contributed immensely to the understanding of cancer cells.

One of Varmus and Bishop’s biggest achievements was the identification of a cellular gene (c-src) that gave rise to the v-src oncogene of Rous Sarcoma Virus, a cancer-causing virus first isolated from a chicken sarcoma in 1910. The duo was honored with the 1989 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for their discoveries.

In 1993, President Bill Clinton nominated Varmus as director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in Maryland, the nation's premier research and funding institution in the biomedical sciences. In this position he strengthened the institution’s commitment towards research on particular diseases, most notably AIDS, and helped to nearly double the research agency's budget.

He left NIH in 1999 to become president and director of the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York. He helped to expand the center's basic research and educational programs, and built stronger collaborative relationships with two neighboring research institutions, Weill-Cornell Medical College and Rockefeller University. During the ten years he spent there, he also directed a small laboratory where he pursued his cancer research.

Varmus teamed up with two colleagues, Patrick Brown at Stanford and Michael Eisen at UC Berkeley, to establish the Public Library of Science (PLOS), a not-for-profit publisher of a suite of open access journals in the biomedical sciences. It launched its first journal, ‘PLOS Biology’, in October 2003. Varmus is also the author of more than 300 scientific papers and five books.

He returned to NIH in 2010, this time as director of the National Cancer Institute (NCI). He left NCI in March 2015, and returned to New York to become the Lewis Thomas University Professor of Medicine at Weill-Cornell Medical College and as a Senior Associate at the New York Genome Center.

Major Works

Harold E. Varmus, in collaboration with J. Michael Bishop performed pioneering cancer research and is credited with the discovery of the cellular origin of retroviral oncogenes. Their studies in cancer-causing genes (oncogenes) carried by retroviruses shed new light on several questions on cancers that had been puzzling scientists so far.

Awards & Achievements

Harold E. Varmus shared the Albert Lasker Basic Medical Research Award with J. Michael Bishop in 1982.

In 1989, Varmus and Bishop were jointly awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine "for their discovery of the cellular origin of retroviral oncogenes."

Varmus was honored with the Vannevar Bush Award in 2001.

Personal Life & Legacy

In 1969 Varmus married journalist and book critic Constance Casey. They have two sons, Jacob and Christopher.

// Famous Medical Scientists

Harold E. Varmus awards

YearNameAward

Other

2009Phi Beta Kappa Award in Science - The art and politics of science
2001Vannevar Bush Award
2002National Medal of Science for Biological Sciences
1989 - Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine
1982 - Albert Lasker Award for Basic Medical Research
1984 - Gairdner Foundation International Award

Harold E. Varmus biography timelines

  • // 1910 To 1989
    One of Varmus and Bishop’s biggest achievements was the identification of a cellular gene (c-src) that gave rise to the v-src oncogene of Rous Sarcoma Virus, a cancer-causing virus first isolated from a chicken sarcoma in 1910. The duo was honored with the 1989 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for their discoveries.
  • // 18th Dec 1939
    Harold Eliot Varmus was born on December 18, 1939, in Oceanside, New York, U.S. to Jewish parents who had descended from immigrants who had arrived from Poland and Austria at the beginning of the century. His father, Frank Varmus, was a physician while his mother, Beatrice,, was a social service worker.
  • // 1957 To 1962
    He graduated from Freeport High School in Freeport in 1957. As a youngster he was deeply interested in literature and writing, and planned for an academic career in literature. Following this dream, he earned an MA degree in English at Harvard University in 1962 with a focus on Anglo-Saxon and metaphysical poetry.
  • // 1962 To 1966
    Armed with an English degree, he changed his mind and decided to pursue medical studies. He applied to, and was rejected by the Harvard Medical School following which he was accepted into the College of Physicians and Surgeons at Columbia University in New York in 1962. He received his MD in 1966, which included a three-month internship at a hospital in northern India.
  • // 1966 To 1968
    Varmus worked as a medical house officer at Columbia-Presbyterian Hospital from 1966 to 1968 following which he joined the Public Health Service at the National Institutes of Health where he was employed as a Clinical Associate in Ira Pastan's laboratory.
  • // 1969
    In 1969 Varmus married journalist and book critic Constance Casey. They have two sons, Jacob and Christopher.
  • // 1970 To 1972
    In 1970, he began postdoctoral research in J. Michael Bishop's lab at University of California, San Francisco. He became a Lecturer shortly thereafter, and in 1972, became a regular member of the faculty in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at the university.
  • // 1979 To 1984
    Varmus steadily rose through the ranks in the UCSF and was promoted to professor in 1979 and became an American Cancer Society Research Professor in 1984. His collaborative research with Bishop shed light on the functioning of the retroviruses and contributed immensely to the understanding of cancer cells.
  • // 1982
    Harold E. Varmus shared the Albert Lasker Basic Medical Research Award with J. Michael Bishop in 1982.
  • // 1989
    In 1989, Varmus and Bishop were jointly awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine "for their discovery of the cellular origin of retroviral oncogenes."
  • // 1993
    In 1993, President Bill Clinton nominated Varmus as director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in Maryland, the nation's premier research and funding institution in the biomedical sciences. In this position he strengthened the institution’s commitment towards research on particular diseases, most notably AIDS, and helped to nearly double the research agency's budget.
  • // 1999
    He left NIH in 1999 to become president and director of the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York. He helped to expand the center's basic research and educational programs, and built stronger collaborative relationships with two neighboring research institutions, Weill-Cornell Medical College and Rockefeller University. During the ten years he spent there, he also directed a small laboratory where he pursued his cancer research.
  • // 2001
    Varmus was honored with the Vannevar Bush Award in 2001.
  • // Oct 2003
    Varmus teamed up with two colleagues, Patrick Brown at Stanford and Michael Eisen at UC Berkeley, to establish the Public Library of Science (PLOS), a not-for-profit publisher of a suite of open access journals in the biomedical sciences. It launched its first journal, ‘PLOS Biology’, in October 2003. Varmus is also the author of more than 300 scientific papers and five books.
  • // 2010 To Mar 2015
    He returned to NIH in 2010, this time as director of the National Cancer Institute (NCI). He left NCI in March 2015, and returned to New York to become the Lewis Thomas University Professor of Medicine at Weill-Cornell Medical College and as a Senior Associate at the New York Genome Center.

// Famous Physicians

Harold E. Varmus's FAQ

  • What is Harold E. Varmus birthday?

    Harold E. Varmus was born at 1939-12-18

  • Where is Harold E. Varmus's birth place?

    Harold E. Varmus was born in Oceanside, New York, US

  • What is Harold E. Varmus nationalities?

    Harold E. Varmus's nationalities is American

  • Who is Harold E. Varmus spouses?

    Harold E. Varmus's spouses is Constance Louise Casey

  • Who is Harold E. Varmus childrens?

    Harold E. Varmus's childrens is Christopher Varmus, Jacob Varmus

  • What was Harold E. Varmus universities?

    Harold E. Varmus studied at Amherst College

  • What was Harold E. Varmus notable alumnis?

    Harold E. Varmus's notable alumnis is Amherst College

  • Who is Harold E. Varmus's father?

    Harold E. Varmus's father is Frank Varmus

  • Who is Harold E. Varmus's mother?

    Harold E. Varmus's mother is Beatrice Varmus

  • What is Harold E. Varmus's sun sign?

    Harold E. Varmus is Sagittarius

  • How famous is Harold E. Varmus?

    Harold E. Varmus is famouse as Physician