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Judith Varner

Professor, Pathology and Medicine, UC San Diego

Judy Varner, Ph.D., is Professor in the Departments of Pathology and Medicine at the University of California, San Diego, Director of Faculty Mentoring for the Department of Pathology and co-Leader of the Solid Tumor Therapeutics program in the Moores UCSD Cancer Center. She joined the Department of Medicine in 1997 and the Department of Pathology in 2012. Dr. Varner received her undergraduate degree in Chemistry from Duke University, where she was an A.B. Duke and National Merit Scholar, and received her Ph.D. in Biochemistry from the University of Basel, Switzerland, where she was a Fulbright Fellow. Prior to coming to UCSD, she was a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Pharmacology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill where she studied integrin signaling in cancer. As a member of Moores Cancer Center, her research has focused on mechanisms regulating the tumor microenvironment and inflammation in cancer. Her work, which appears in journals that include Cancer Cell, Nature, Nature Communications and Cancer Discovery, has identified novel mechanisms by which macrophages promote tumor growth and has developed new approaches to treat cancer patients by targeting tumor macrophage signal transduction, with a focus on inhibition of PI3Kinase gamma. The novel therapeutic eganelisib (IPI-549) was developed by Infinity Pharmaceuticals in conjunction with the Varner lab and is currently in testing in five Phase II clinical trials as an immune/oncology agent for cancer therapy. Dr. Varner is a recipient of the V Foundation Award for Translational Research, the AACR-Landon Foundation Innovator Award for International Collaboration and the Lustgarten Foundation Innovator Award for Pancreatic Cancer Research for her work on immune oncology therapeutics. Dr. Varner is active in the American Association for Cancer Research and the Society for the Immunotherapy of Cancer. Dr. Varner’s publications can be found at https://orcid.org/0000-0002-9251-0600.