Harold E Varmus

Also found in: Medical.

Varmus, Harold E. (Elliot)

(1939–  ) virologist, oncologist; born in Oceanside, N.Y. He was an associate chemist at the National Institutes of Health (1968–70), then joined the University of California: San Francisco (1970), where he met collaborator J. Michael Bishop. The two scientists' investigations on oncogenic (cancer-causing) viruses demonstrated that a normal cell may transform into a cancer cell if a tumor virus inserts its oncogenic genes into the host cell's DNA. This breakthrough in cancer research earned Varmus and Bishop the 1989 Nobel Prize in physiology.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.