Charlie Rice, the Maurice R. and Corinne P. Greenberg Professor in Virology and head of the Laboratory of Virology and Infectious Disease, has been named recipient of the 2016 Lasker-DeBakey Clinical Medical Research Award. Charlie will share this award with Ralf F. W. Bartenschlager of Heidelberg University and Michael J. Sofia of Arbutus Biopharma. The award recognizes their critical contributions to development of a cure for Hepatitis C, a chronic viral infection of the liver that affects 170 million people worldwide and until now has resulted in 350,000 deaths annually.
Charlie’s seminal work defined the elements necessary for robust replication of the Hepatitis C virus in cell culture, a discovery that allowed rapid cell-based screening and led to the development of potent drugs that directly inhibit viral replication. Treatment with a combination of two of these drugs now cures virtually all affected individuals with negligible side effects, an extraordinary advance destined to save millions of lives.
With Charlie’s selection, 22 Rockefeller faculty scientists have now received Lasker Awards, including eight who are on our faculty today. It’s an astonishing record.
Charlie’s remarkable work is the embodiment of the Rockefeller credo, “Science for the benefit of humanity.” Please join me in congratulating Charlie on this exceptionally well-deserved recognition!