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Distinguished Professor  
Department of Medicine
Department of Cellular & Molecular Medicine

Adjunct Professor
Salk Institute for Biological Studies

Founding Director
Glycobiology Research & Training Center

Founding Co-Director
UCSD/Salk Center for Academic Research & Training in Anthropogeny (CARTA)


How to Contact

Administrative Specialist
Amanda Cuervo

Lab Manager
Andrea Verhagen

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

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 certified in internal medicine, hematology, and oncology. He joined the faculty of the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) in 1982 and became a Distinguished Professor in both the Departments of Medicine and of Cellular and Molecular Medicine at in 2006.

Dr. Varki is also currently the Executive Editor of the textbook, Essentials of Glycobiology, as well as an Adjunct Professor at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies. He is an elected member of; American Academy of Arts & Sciences, National Academy of Medicine, American Society for Clinical Investigation, Association of American Physicians, and of Sigma Xi, the scientific research honor society. Dr. Varki is the Founding Director of the Glycobiology Research & Training Center, an organized research unit. and is also the Founding Co-Director for the UCSD/Salk Center for Academic Research and Training in Anthropogeny. Most recently, Dr. Varki is the recipient of the ASBMB Herbert Tabor Research Award (2023).

In the past Dr. Varki 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), and the Rosalind Kornfeld Award for Lifetime Achievement in Glycobiology (2020). He was also 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). Not too long ago 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.

Significant past appointments also include:

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.

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