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Varki Lab

About Ajit Varki


National Program Analyst
Amanda Cuervo

Lab Manager
Andrea Verhagen

UC San Diego
9500 Gilman Drive, Mail Code 0687
La Jolla, CA 92093-0687

Google Scholar Profile


Ajit Varki received basic training in physiology, medicine, biology, and biochemistry at the Christian Medical College, Vellore, The University of Nebraska, Omaha, and Washington University, St. Louis. Dr. Varki was trained and board-certified in internal medicine, hematology, and oncology. He joined the faculty of the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) in 1982.

Professor Ajit Varki is an elected member of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences, National Academy of Medicine, American Society for Clinical Investigation, Association of American Physicians, and of Sigma Xi. He has been a recipient of a MERIT award from the NIH, the American Cancer Society Faculty Research Award, as well as three of the highest honors in the field: the Karl Meyer Award (2005), the International Glycoconjugate Organization Award (2007), the Rosalind Kornfeld Award for Lifetime Achievement in Glycobiology (2020), and the ASBMB Herbert Tabor Research Award (2023). He was also elected President of the American Society for Clinical Investigation (1998–1999), President of the Society for Glycobiology (1996) and served Editor-In-Chief of the Journal of Clinical Investigation (1992–1997). He is  recognized for creating the first major open access research journal, The Journal of Clinical Investigation, JCI (1996), as well as the first major open access textbook, Essentials of Glycobiology (2008). Dr. Varki was honored with the Old Cottonian of Eminence Award at the 150th Anniversary of Bishop Cotton Boy's School in Bangalore, India (2015) and he was also honored with the Annual Research Day Distinguished Faculty Medal and Oration at his medical school alma mater, the Christian Medical College, Vellore, India (2020). Dr. Varki's interests in human evolution also led him to propose a novel Mind Over Reality Transition theory about human origins, in the book, Denial.


Significant past appointments also include: