Ajit Varki received basic training in physiology, medicine, biology, and biochemistry at the Christian Medical College, Vellore, The University of Nebraska, and Washington University in St. Louis. He also has formal training and certification in internal medicine, hematology, and oncology. He is currently distinguished professor of medicine and cellular and molecular medicine, and co-director of the Glycobiology Research and Training Center at UCSD. Dr. Varki is executive editor of the textbook Essentials of Glycobiology. He is also a co-director for the UCSD Center for Academic Research and Training in Anthropogeny and is an affiliate faculty member of the Living Links Center of Emory University. Dr. Varki is an elected member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the Institute of Medicine, the American Society for Clinical Investigation, and the Association of American Physicians.
Dr. Varki is recipient of a MERIT award from the NIH, an American Cancer Society Faculty Research Award, the Karl Meyer Award of the Society for Glycobiology and the International Glycoconjugate Organization (IGO) Award (2007). He is a member of the Faculty of 1000 and the editorial board of Glycobiology. He is a specialist advisor to the Human Gene Nomenclature Committee. Significant past appointments include: Associate Dean for Physician-Scientist Training at UCSD (2003-10); co-head, Division of Hematology/Oncology (1987-89): president of the Society for Glycobiology (1996); editor-in-chief of the Journal of Clinical Investigation (1992-97); consulting editor for the Journal of Clinical Investigation (1998-2006), and PLoS Medicine (2004-2008); interim directorship of the UCSD Cancer Center (1996-97); president of the American Society for Clinical Investigation (1998-99); scientific advisor to the Complex Carbohydrate Research Center (University of Georgia); the Yerkes Primate Center (Emory University); member of the National Advisory Committee of PubMed Central (NLM/NIH); and coordinator for the multidisciplinary UCSD Project for Explaining the Origins of Humans (1996-2007).