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5 December 2013 11:26 am ,
Vol. 342 ,
An animal rights group known as the Nonhuman Rights Project filed lawsuits in three New York courts this week in an...
Researchers have been hot on the trail of the elusive Denisovans, a type of ancient human known only by their DNA and...
Thousands of scientists in the Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS) are about to lose their jobs as a result of the...
Dyslexia, a learning disability that hinders reading, hasn't been associated with deficits in vision, hearing, or...
Exotic, elusive, and dangerous, snakes have fascinated humankind for millennia. They can be hard to find, yet their...
Researchers have sequenced and analyzed the first two snake genomes, which represent two evolutionary extremes. The...
Snake venoms are remarkably complex mixtures that can stun or kill prey within minutes. But more and more researchers...
At age 30, Dutch biologist Freek Vonk has built up a respectable career as a snake scientist. But in his home country,...
- 5 December 2013 11:26 am , Vol. 342 , #6163
- About Us
Definitely Not Retirement, Says Varmus
12 January 2010 4:08 pm
Harold Varmus announced this morning that he’ll soon be leaving his job as president of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York City. Later in the day, he spoke to Science and said the move shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone who’s been “reading the tea leaves.” From the start, he was clear that he’d keep the job for 10 years, and the end of that decade has come. “This is definitely not retirement,” he says. Here are some excerpts from the conversation, edited for brevity:
Q: What are some of the highlights from your years heading up Sloan-Kettering? What are you most proud of?
H.V.: This is not a time for valedictories—I don’t want people to start summing it up and saying what we’ve done. When I’m actually leaving as president, then that might be a good time to sum it up. Thematically, what I’ve been trying to do is what everyone else is trying to do: bring the clinical and research enterprises together; recruiting great people; raising a lot of money that allows us to build new programs. We’ve [been] slowed down by the economic crunch. [But] we’ve hired a lot of great people—this place has been transformed as an institution that does cancer research across the board.Q: What’s the value of big cancer centers like Sloan-Kettering these days?
H.V.: There’s good reason to have places that have a strong research component and a very big patient-care responsibility, especially now. I’ve been in this business, I hate to say it, about 40 years. In the beginning, when I was working on chicken retroviruses, the connection between the clinic and what I did was zero. Now everything we do feels clinically relevant. I’ve tried to build our research across the board, but especially where basic research meets the patient.
Q: Do you think cancer genomics, your research area, is moving slowly?
H.V.: The institution was doing no genomics when I got here—now we have a computational biology program, an informatics core, at least three genome cores. These tests are improving the way we take care of cancer patients—I think it’s starting to happen.
Q: What are you planning next?
H.V.: I’m co-chair of PCAST [President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology], I’m the chair of the Public Library of Science, I chair an advisory committee for the Gates Foundation, and I have an active lab which I try to pay attention to. I’m a busy guy without the presidency. I’m perfectly happy [with what I’m doing]. But life is hard to predict.
Nobody thinks I’m sick or old, so that’s good news. I’ve done this job long enough, and now someone else should do it.