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LEADING RESEARCHER ON HEPATITIS C WILL DISCUSS THE DISEASE AT BARD COLLEGE ON APRIL 21 Distinguished Scientist Lecture Series Presents Charles Rice, Rockefeller University Virologist and Head of the Center for the Study of Hepatitis C

Darren O'Sullivan

ANNANDALE-ON-HUDSON, N.Y.—On Saturday, April 21, as part of the Distinguished Scientist Lecture Series at Bard College, Charles Rice, the Maurice R. and Corinne P. Greenberg Chair in Virology at Rockefeller University and head of the Laboratory for Virology and Infectious Disease there, will discuss his research on the hepatitis C virus (HCV). Rice's lecture, "Global Challenges in the Treatment and Prevention of Hepatitis C," will take place in Olin Hall at 3:00 p.m. There will be a prelecture talk by John B. Ferguson, professor of biology at Bard, at 1:30 p.m. Refreshments will be served in between the lectures.

Last December, Rice and his research team from Rockefeller University and the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis announced the discovery of an efficient system for replicating strains of HCV in the lab, a major breakthrough in the study of the virus. The finding will help Rice and his colleagues conduct genetic analyses of the virus and search for medicines that will slow or stop it. In 1997 Rice led a research team at Washington University that demonstrated for the first time that HCV alone is sufficient to cause hepatitis C, a revelation that should help scientists determine the best strategy for developing an effective vaccine.

Rice is scientific and executive director of the Center for the Study of Hepatitis C, the first major center in the Northeast devoted specifically to the disease. The multi-institutional center was established jointly in 2000 by Rockefeller University, New York-Presbyterian Hospital, and Weill Medical College of Cornell University. Rice was previously a professor in the department of molecular biology at Washington University's School of Medicine. He received a bachelor's degree in zoology from University of California, Davis, in 1974 and a Ph.D. in biochemistry in 1981 from the California Institute of Technology, where he was a postdoctoral research fellow from 1981 to 1985.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Rockefeller University, some four million people in the United States are infected with HCV and more than 30,000 new infections occur every year. HCV is responsible for 8,000 to 10,000 deaths per year in the United States. Liver failure due to hepatitis C is the leading cause of liver transplants in the United States, and about 25 percent of liver cancer cases in the country are associated with HCV. Although about 85 percent of those who are infected develop chronic infection, the virus usually remains undetected for years or even decades until it causes advanced liver disease.

For more information about Charles Rice's lecture or the Distinguished Scientist Lecture Series, call 845-758-7581.

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This event was last updated on 04-06-2001