With the awarding of the Nobel Prize for Medicine 2020 to virologist Charles M. Rice, of Rockefeller University, USI adds another case of a direct relationship with an award winner conferred by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences. Davide Robbiani, Director of the Institute for Research in Biomedicine (IRB, affiliated to USI), collaborates with Prof. Rice and with him is co-author of a dozen scientific publications.
This year’s Nobel Prize for Medicine is awarded to three scientists, Harvey J. Alter, Michael Houghton, and Charles M. Rice, for their “decisive contribution to the fight against blood-borne hepatitis, a major global health problem that causes cirrhosis and liver cancer in people around the world. The discovery of the Hepatitis C virus revealed the cause of the remaining cases of chronic hepatitis and made possible blood tests and new medicines that have saved millions of lives” – as mentioned in the official statement.
“With Charles Rice, we have worked together during the past 4-5 years to research the viruses responsible for emerging diseases, in particular Zika, but also other viruses in studies that are not yet published. More recently, we have been collaborating actively on the coronavirus,” says Davide Robbiani, who before joining the IRB in Bellinzona was a long-term researcher at Rockefeller University in New York. “Charles Rice is a scientist with a capital S, not only for his major contributions to the study of infectious diseases such as hepatitis C, which have opened the door (and still do) to new therapies but also as a ‘mentor’ for his dedication to student and post-docs education,” adds Robbiani.
The Rice-Robbiani case adds to the one between Robert F. Engle, Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences 2003, and USI professor Giovanni Barone Adesi, who co-authored of a number of scientific publications in the field of quantitative finance, and the Nobel Prize for Physics 2016 (awarded to David Thouless, Duncan Haldane e Michael Kosterlitz), the motivation for which cited two studies by Piero Martinoli, former President of USI (>> www.nobelprize.org).