Top Quotes from Harold E. Varmus

By | January 31, 2016

My ideal summer day was reading on the porch.

Harold E. Varmus

I had learned that science is a rewarding, active process of discovery, not the passive absorption of what others had discovered.

Harold E. Varmus

Just after graduation in 1966, like many of my contemporaries, I applied for research training at the National Institutes of Health. Perhaps because his wife was a poet, Ira Pastan agreed to take me into his laboratory, despite my lack of scientific credentials.

Harold E. Varmus

When I was the NIH director, I often expressed envy of institute directors: they had the money and ran the scientific programmes.

Harold E. Varmus

Anyone graduating from medical school in 1966 had first to fulfill military service before launching a career. Fiercely opposed to the Vietnam War, I sought to avoid it through an assignment to the Public Health Service.

Harold E. Varmus

Some growths can be detected early, making for increased accuracy in diagnosis. Some can be cured and others controlled.

Harold E. Varmus

Tobacco, UV rays, viruses, heredity, and age are the main causes of cancer.

Harold E. Varmus

Following graduation from Amherst, a Woodrow Wilson Fellowship enabled me to test the depth of my interest in literary scholarship by beginning graduate studies at Harvard University.

Harold E. Varmus

I was born in the shadow of World War II, on December 18, 1939, on the South Shore of Long Island, a product of the early -wentieth-century emigration of Eastern European Jewry to New York City and its environs.

Harold E. Varmus

The public schools I attended were dominated by athletics and rarely inspiring intellectually, but I enjoyed a small circle of interesting friends despite my ineptitude at team sports and my preference for reading.

Harold E. Varmus

In preparation for a career in academic medicine, I worked as a medical house officer at Columbia-Presbyterian Hospital from 1966 to 1968 and then joined Ira Pastan’s laboratory at the National Institutes of Health as a Clinical Associate.

Harold E. Varmus

As an undergraduate at Amherst College, I was devoted to Dickensian novels and antiestablishment journalism while marginally fulfilling premedical requirements.

Harold E. Varmus

A major feature of life at the NIH in late 1960s was the extraordinary offering of evening courses for physicians attempting to become scientists as they neared thirty.

Harold E. Varmus

From some dilatory reading in the early 1960s, I knew enough about viruses and their association with tumors in animals to understand that they might provide a relatively simple entry into a problem as complex as cancer.

Harold E. Varmus

I begin with the premise that behavior is an incredibly important element in medicine. People’s habits, their willingness to quit smoking, their willingness to take steps to avoid transmission of HIV, are all behavioral questions.

Harold E. Varmus

When I read about genetics, I see breakthroughs every day. And while I’m trying to learn more about behavioral science, I must say that I don’t feel I get tremendous intellectual stimulation from most of the things I read.

Harold E. Varmus

I saw my friends in medical school seeming to be more engaged with the real world. That provoked a sort of jealousy, and I decided to go to medical school after all.

Harold E. Varmus

Cancer is a collection of many diseases with common principles, and each disease will have to be understood and more effectively controlled on its own terms.

Harold E. Varmus

The NCI scientific programme leaders meet regularly to ensure that we are not ignoring highly original proposals and that we are not creating an unbalanced grant portfolio.

Harold E. Varmus

All basic scientists who look to the NCI for funding should know that I will tolerate no retreat on the study of model systems and the pursuit of fundamental biological principles.

Harold E. Varmus

I’m used to being surrounded by really smart 22-year-old students who have no problem saying that something I suggested is not a very good idea.

Harold E. Varmus

I keep encouraging the pharmaceutical companies to put more money into R&D.

Harold E. Varmus

Our biggest single theme is trying to make the NIH work better with the same amount of money.

Harold E. Varmus

When high school students ask to spend their afternoons and weekends in my laboratory, I am amazed: I didn’t develop that kind of enthusiasm for science until I was 28 years old.

Harold E. Varmus

I had learned of Gertrude Stein’s bon mot that medicine opened all doors. This prompted me, in different moods, to view my future life as literary psychiatrist, globe-trotting tropical disease specialist, or academic internist.

Harold E. Varmus

In the 1960s and ’70s, there wasn’t much evidence at all. We knew vaguely the causes of cancer, but methods like genomics were very new.

Harold E. Varmus

Science can improve lives in ways that are elegant in design and moving in practice.

Harold E. Varmus

In general, all cancers have been traditionally characterized by the way they appear under the microscope and the organs in which they arise.

Harold E. Varmus

Every cancer looks different. Every cancer has similarities to other cancers. And we’re trying to milk those differences and similarities to do a better job of predicting how things are going to work out and making new drugs.

Harold E. Varmus

I believe that we are going to have a much deeper appreciation of what kinds of abnormalities in cancer cells and in the surrounding cells that feed and respond to cancers are vulnerabilities that will allow us to make better predictions of which kinds of drugs will work to treat these cancers.

Harold E. Varmus

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