He is now distinguished professor of medicine and cellular and molecular medicine and co-director of the Glycobiology Research and Training Center at the University of California, San Diego. Dr. Varki is also executive editor of the textbook Essentials of Glycobiology. He is a founder and co-director of the UCSD Center for Academic Research and Training in Anthropogeny. He has served as chief editor of the Journal of Clinical Investigation. Dr. Varki is an elected member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, Institute of Medicine, American Society for Clinical Investigation, and Association of American Physicians. Dr. Varki has received a MERIT Award from the National Institutes of Health, an American Cancer Society Faculty Research Award, the Karl Meyer Award of the Society for Glycobiology, and the International Glycoconjugate Organization Award. He serves on the National Chimpanzee Observatory Working Group and on the editorial board of Glycobiology. He is a specialist advisor to the Human Gene Nomenclature Committee. His research interests currently focus on the family of sugar molecules called sialic acids and their roles in biology, evolution, and disease. Active projects are relevant to the roles of sialic acids in viral and bacterial infectivity, regulation of the immune response, initiation and progression of tumors, and unique aspects of human evolution. The lab is particularly intrigued to find multiple differences in sialic acid biology between humans and our closest evolutionary cousins, the great apes. These differences are a signature of the multiple cellular and molecular events that occurred during the past few million years of human evolution and are relevant to understanding several aspects of the current human condition, both in health and disease.
Chi-Huey Wong received his Ph.D. in chemistry from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and completed a postdoctoral fellowship at Harvard University in 1983. Currently, Dr. Wong is president of Academia Sinica (Taipei, Taiwan) and a professor of chemistry at the Scripps Research Institute. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He has served on the National Research Council Board on Chemical Sciences and Technology and has held advisory positions in industry and academia. He has received more than 20 awards for his scientific work. His main research interests are in chemical biology and synthetic chemistry, including synthesis of complex carbohydrates, glycoproteins, and small-molecule probes for the study of posttranslational glycosylation and carbohydrate-mediated biological recognition.