Harold E Varmus

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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.