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Stony Brook University

The Antonija Prelec Memorial Lecture: 2004 - Varmus

Harold Varmus

Fourth Annual Lecture

Dr. Harold Varmus, M.D.


Dr. Harold Varmus, M.D. is currently President and Chief Executive Officer of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York City, and also one of the main driving forces behind the Open Access movement in scholarly publishing, gave the Fourth Antonija Prelec Memorial Lecture on November 5, 2004. Dr. Varmus spoke on the topic of open access to scientific information in the health sciences.


Dr. Varmus, a native of Freeport, Long Island, was former Director of the National Institutes of Health (1993-1999) and co-recipient of a Nobel Prize (1989) for studies of the genetic basis of cancer. Since 2000, he has been President and Chief Executive Officer of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York City. Dr. Varmus has held many academic and administrative appointments, received many fellowships and awards, served on numerous editorial boards and committees, and has been an advisor to the Federal Government, pharmaceutical and biotechnology firms, and many academic institutions.

In addition to his academic and administrative activities, Dr. Varmus has also been one of the major proponents and champions of the “Open Access Movement” in scholarly and scientific publishing, and is the Co-Founder of “Public Library of Science” (“PLoS”), which has so far published two OA journals: “PLoS Biology” and “PLoS Medicine”. He gave the Fourth Prelec Lecture on the topic of open access to scientific information in the health sciences, a very important and controversial issue among scholars, librarians, and the publishing industry today.




Some Online publications about/by Dr. Varmus and/or Open Access publishing:

  • Brown, P., M. Eisen, H. Varmus. “Why PLoS Became a Publisher” in PLoS Biology, V.1, issue 1, 2003.


Dr. Varmus has authored over 300 scientific papers and four books, including an introduction to the genetic basis of cancer for a general audience.

Some of Dr. Varmus’ recent scientific publications:

  • Feng Cong, Liang Schweizer and Harold Varmus. Wnt signals across the plasma membrane to activate the B-catenin pathway by forming oligomers containing its receptors, Frizzled and LRP. Submitted.
  • Cong, F., Schweizer, L., and Varmus, H.E. Casein kinase ?e modulates the signaling specificities of dishevelled. Mol. Cell. Biol. 24:2000-11, 2004.
  • Cong, F. and Varmus, H.E. Nuclear-cytoplasmic shuttling of Axin regulates subcellular localization of beta-catenin. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U S A 101:2882-7, 2004.
  • Cong, F., Schweizer, L., Chamorro, M. and Varmus, H.E. Requirement for a nuclear function of beta-catenin in Wnt signaling. Mol. Cell Biol. 23:8462-70, 2003.
  • Lewis, B.C, Klimstra, D.S., Varmus, H.E. The c-myc and PyMT oncogenes induce different tumor types in a somatic mouse model for pancreatic cancer. Genes Dev. 17:3127-38, 2003.
  • Li,Y., Welm, B., Podsypanina, K., Huang, S., Chamorro, M., Zhang, X., Rowlands, T., Egeblad, M., Cowin, P., Werb, Z., Tan, L.K., Rosen J.M., Varmus H.E. Evidence that transgenes encoding components of the Wnt signaling pathway preferentially induce mammary cancers from progenitor cells. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U S A. 100:15853-8, 2003.
  • Schewizer, L. and Varmus, H.E. Wnt/Wingless signaling through beta-catenin requires function of both LRP/Arrow and Frizzled classes of receptors. BMC Cell Biology 2003 4:4 2003