Jeffrey D. Varner

Jeffrey D. Varner

Associate Director
Smith School of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering
256A Olin Hall


Jeffrey Varner holds a Bachelor of Science degree (Chemistry), a Masters and a Ph.D. degree in Chemical Engineering, from Purdue University. Prof. Varner's graduate thesis work at Purdue was done under the direction of Prof. D. Ramkrishna in the area of modeling and analysis of metabolic networks. Following Purdue, Prof. Varner was a postdoctoral researcher in the Department of Biology at the ETH-Zurich where he studied signal transduction mechanisms involved in cell-death under Prof. Jay Bailey. After the ETH, Prof. Varner was a Scientist in the Oncology business unit of Genencor International Inc, Palo Alto, CA. While at Genencor, Prof. Varner was involved in the discovery of novel targets in human cancers, and was a project team member for preclinical, phase-I and II studies of protein therapeutics for the treatment of colorectal cancer and Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia (CLL). Prof. Varner left Genencor at the end of 2005 to join the faculty of the Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering department at Cornell University. At Cornell, the Varner lab is developing physiochemical modeling tools to rationally reprogram human signal transduction architectures.

Research Interests

The objective of our research program at Cornell is the development of physiochemical modeling tools that can be used to rationally reprogram signal flow in human signal transduction networks. Our thesis is that physiochemical models could be hypotheses generation engines, which suggest targeted reprogramming strategies, despite model uncertainty.

Research Group Members

Teaching Interests

Varner's teaching objectives have been; (i) to better integrate biochemistry into the core Chemical and Biomolecular curriculum and; (ii) to be an undergraduate research mentor.

Service Interests

National Institutes of Health (NIH) reviewer, National Science Foundation (NSF) reviewer, Undergraduate research advisor, Undergraduate faculty advisor

Selected Publications

  • Tasseff, R., S. Nayak, S. Salim, P. Kaushik, N. Rizvi, Jeffrey D. Varner.  2010. "Analysis of the molecular networks in androgen dependent and independent prostate cancer revealed fragile and robust subsystems."  PLoS One 5 (1): e8864.
  • Tasseff, R., S. Nayak, S. Song, A. Yen, Jeffrey D. Varner.  2011. "Modeling Analysis of Retinoic Acid Induced Differentiation of Uncommitted Precursor Cells."  Integrative Biology.
  • Chakrabarti, A., A.W. Chen, Jeffrey D. Varner.  2011. "A Review of the Mammalian Unfolded Protein Response."  Biotechnology and Bioengineering.
  • Shen, M.Q., R.P. Bunaciu, J. Congleton, H.A. Jensen, L.G. Sayam, Jeffrey D. Varner, A. Yen.  2011. "Interferon regulatory factor-1 binds c-Cbl, enhances mitogen activated protein kinase signaling and promotes retinoic acid-influenced differentiation of HL-60 human myleo-monoblastic leukemia cells."  Leukemia & lymphoma 52 (12): 2372-2379.
  • Lequieu, J., A. Chakrabarti, Jeffrey D. Varner, S. Nayak.  2011. "Computational Modeling and Analysis of Insulin Induced Eukaryotic Translation Initiation."  PLOS Computational Biology 7 (11).

Selected Awards and Honors

  • McNair Diversity Programs Undergraduate Research Mentorship Award (Cornell University, College of Engineering) 2014
  • Mr. and Mrs. Richard Tucker College of Engineering Teaching Excellence Award (College of Engr) 2010
  • NSF Career Award (National Science Foundaton) 2009


  • B.S. (Chemistry and Mathematics), Purdue University, 1992
  • M.Sc. (Chemical Engineering), Purdue University, 1995
  • Ph.D. (Chemical Engineering), Purdue University, 1997


Research Group Members

Graduate Students

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