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Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Dr. Harold Varmus of Memorial Sloan-Kettering To Give Leff Lectures March 26 and 27

Dr. Harold Varmus, president and CEO of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, will deliver the 2006-2007 Arthur Allen Leff Fellowship Lectures at Yale Law School on Monday, March 26, and Tuesday, March 27. 

The Monday lecture, open to the public, is titled “Freeing Scientific Culture:  The Fight to Provide Public Access to Results the Public Finances.” In it, Dr. Varmus will draw on his personal experience as co-founder of The Public Library of Science, a publisher of open access journals in biology and medicine, to talk about the reasons for, and obstacles to, current efforts to make the scientific literature a public resource. He’ll touch on the roles of funding agencies, governments, scientific societies, publishing companies, information technology, copyright law, patterns of behavior in academia and the financing of journals.

This lecture will be held at 4:30 p.m. in Room 127. A reception will follow in the Alumni Reading Room.

The Tuesday lecture, limited to the Yale Law School community, is titled “How the Law Affects Contemporary Cancer Research:  A Personal View” and will be grounded in Dr. Varmus’ experiences as a cancer researcher.

“Among the major issues I raise,” said Dr. Varmus, are the ways that concerns about privacy and HIPAA rules limit important efforts to connect genetic data with clinical information; and the conflicts—and current battles in the courts—over access to drugs that may be described in overly optimistic ways, with implications for patient safety and the conduct of clinical trials.”

This lecture will be held at 12:30 p.m. in the Faculty Lounge.

Dr. Varmus has served as the president and CEO of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center since January 2000. He is former Director of the National Institutes of Health. Previously, he was a faculty member at the University of California, San Francisco, Medical School, where his work with Dr. J. Michael Bishop and others earned many awards, including a Nobel Prize for studies of the genetic basis of cancer.

Dr. Varmus has authored more than 300 scientific papers and four books and has been an advisor to the Federal government, pharmaceutical and biotechnology firms, and many academic institutions.

He holds a B.A. in English literature from Amherst College, a master’s degree in English from Harvard University and an M.D. from Columbia University’s College of Physicians and Surgeons.

The Arthur Allen Leff Fellowship, established in memory of Arthur Allen Leff, Southmayd Professor of Law, brings to Yale Law School people whose work in other disciplines illuminates the study of law and legal institutions.