Letter from President Richard Lifton, The Rockefeller University
I’m delighted to share with you, as Rockefeller’s new president, some splendid news. The Albert and Mary Lasker Foundation announced that Charles M. Rice, the University’s Maurice R. and Corinne P. Greenberg Professor in Virology and Head of our Laboratory of Virology and Infectious Disease, has been named a recipient of the 2016 Lasker-DeBakey Clinical Medical Research Award. Dr. Rice 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 the 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.
Dr. Rice’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.
Charles Rice was recruited to Rockefeller in 2000 thanks to the visionary philanthropy of University Trustee Emeritus Maurice R. Greenberg and his wife, Corinne. Over the years, Dr. Rice’s work has received substantial support from the Greenberg Medical Research Institute, Inc. (funded by the Greenbergs and The Starr Foundation). As a result, Dr. Rice and his research team had the resources, time, and encouragement needed to tackle Hep C. The resulting impact on human health is enormous.
With Dr. Rice’s selection, 22 Rockefeller scientists have now received Lasker Awards, including eight who are on our faculty today. It’s an astonishing record.
Charlie Rice’s remarkable work is the embodiment of the Rockefeller credo, “Science for the benefit of humanity.”
Richard P. Lifton, M.D., Ph.D. ,President, The Rockefeller University #