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  • Prof .Ajith Varki

    Ajit Varki is currently Professor in the Departments of Medicine and Cellular & Molecular Medicine, Co-Director of the Glycobiology Research and Training Center, and Associate Dean for Physician-Scientist Training at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD). He received basic training in Physiology, Medicine, Biology, and Biochemistry at the Christian Medical College, Vellore, The University of Nebraska, and Washington University in St. Louis. He also has training and board certification in internal medicine, hematology, and oncology. Dr.Varki is Executive Editor of the textbook "Essentials of a MERIT award from the NIH, and an American Cancer Society Faculty Research Award. He is an elected member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Society for Clinical Investigation, and the Association of American Physicians. Significant past appointments include: Co-Head, UCSD Division of Hematology-Oncology (1987-89); President of the Society for Glycobiology (1996); Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Clinical Investigation (1992-97); Interim Directorship of the UCSD Cancer Center (1996-1997), and President of the American Society for Clinical Investigation (1998-1999). Dr. Varki's research interests are focused on a family of cell surface sugars called the Sialic Acids, and their roles in biology, evolution and disease. Currently active projects are relevant to the roles of sialic acids in microbial infectivity, the regulation of the immune response, the progression and spread of tumors, and, unique aspects of human evolution. His group is particularly intrigued in finding multiple differences in sialic acid biology between humans and our closest evolutionary cousins, the great apes. These differences are a signature of the events that occurred during the last few million years of human evolution, and appear relevant to understanding several aspects of the current human condition, both in health and disease. He visited the Department on January 2007.

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