May 29, 1997
Vol. 16, No. 18

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    Director of NIH to give lecture tomorrow

    Harold Varmus, a Nobel Prize-winning cancer research specialist and Director of the National Institutes of Health, will give the lecture "Genes, Mice and Cancer," at 4 p.m. Friday, May 30, in the Biological Sciences Learning Center.

    The lecture, which is free and open to the University community, will be presented by David Schramm, Vice President for Research, and Glenn Steele Jr., Dean of the Biological Sciences Division. The talk is being held in conjunction with the 50th anniversary of the Cancer Research Foundation of the University of Chicago.

    Varmus shared the 1989 Nobel Prize in Medicine with his former University of California at San Francisco colleague, J. Michael Bishop, for their work demonstrating that cancer genes can arise from normal cellular genes. He is the first Nobel laureate to serve as Director of the NIH, a post he has held since November 1993. Previously he was a professor of microbiology, biochemistry and biophysics and the American Cancer Society Professor of Molecular Virology at University of California at San Francisco. He is an internationally recognized authority on retroviruses and the genetic basis of cancer.

    In recent years, his work has assumed special relevance to AIDS, through a focus on biochemical properties of HIV, and to breast cancer, through investigation of mammary tumors in mice. In 1996, he chaired the subcommittee of the International Committee on the Taxonomy of Viruses that gave the AIDS virus its name, HIV.

    His most recent book, Genes and the Biology of Cancer, co-authored with Robert Weinberg for the Scientific American Library, is geared toward a general audience. In the fall of 1996, he directed "Winding Your Way Through DNA," a popular public symposium on recombinant DNA, presented by UCSF.

    He is a member of the Institute of Medicine, the National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.