Dr. Harold E. Varmus delivered the 4th Annual Leaders in Biomedicine Lecture, “Becoming a Political Scientist”, sponsored by the M.D.-Ph.D. Program on Tuesday, April 27, 2010 at the Carl Walter Amphitheater located in the Tosteson Medical Education Center at Harvard Medical School.
Dr. Harold E. Varmus

Dr. Varmus' Bio

After completing an undergraduate degree in English literature at Amherst College and a Masters in English at Harvard University, Dr. Varmus received his M.D. degree in 1966 from Columbia University. He remained in New York for his medical internship and residency at Presbyterian Hospital, then moved to the NIH for fellowship training. After moving to the University of California in San Francisco, he, Michael Bishop and their co-workers discovered that the transforming gene of a chicken retrovirus was derived from a cellular protein kinase called Src. For this work, Varmus and Bishop were awarded the Nobel Prize in Medicine in 1989.

Dr. Varmus has continued to guide an active research laboratory exploring the function of various genes implicated in human cancer, and developing murine models of carcinogenesis. He has also been a true leader of the biomedical research community, first serving as the Director of the National Institutes of Health from 1993-1999, and since the year 2000, as president of the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. President Barack Obama also appointed him to be co-chair of the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST).

Click here for video of Dr. Varmus's lecture "Becoming a Political Scientist"

See New York Times article re Dr. Varmus’ new position to head the National Cancer Institute


As part of the series, M.D.-Ph.D. students hosted a lunch seminar for Dr. Varmus to discuss his views on personal and scientific life.


Dr. Harold E. Varmus and Dr. Stephen C. Blacklow Dr. Varmus signs his book “The Art and Science of Politics” for students.

Also see:

2012 – Dr. Eric S. Lander

2011 – Dr. Bruce Alberts

2010 – Dr. Harold E. Varmus

2009 – Dr. Michael S. Brown

2008 - Dr. Elizabeth H. Blackburn

2007 - Sir Paul Nurse

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