Nobel Laureate Charles Rice and Athlete Rolf Benirschke Return to Campus for On-Stage Conversation

Two notable alumni — Nobel laureate Charles Rice and former pro football player and patient advocate Rolf Benirschke — will return to the University of California, Davis, on Friday, March 15, for an on-stage conversation about scientific innovation.  


The event, hosted by the UC Davis College of Biological Sciences, will explore the discoveries that connected Rice and Benirschke, including Rice’s work as the first scientist to culture the hepatitis C virus — a breakthrough that enabled the development of treatments for the disease and played a pivotal role in curing Benirschke and countless others. The conversation will be moderated by UC Davis Provost Mary Croughan. The event is free, with registration requested in advance.

Charles Rice
Charles Rice

Charles Rice is the Maurice R. and Corinne P. Greenberg Professor in Virology at The Rockefeller University, New York. A world-renowned virologist, he is widely recognized for his groundbreaking contributions to the field of hepatitis C research. Born in 1952, Rice earned his B.S. in zoology from UC Davis in 1974 before completing his Ph.D. at the California Institute of Technology. In 2020, he was awarded the Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine for the discovery of the hepatitis C virus, a breakthrough that has transformed the landscape of viral infection treatment.

Rolf Benirschke
Rolf Benirschke

Rolf Benirschke is a celebrated athlete and a hepatitis C survivor. Born in 1955, Benirschke is an accomplished former professional football player, best known for his time with the San Diego Chargers. He is also a television personality, author, motivational speaker and patient advocate, a role in which he develops patient support, disease awareness, and treatment compliance initiatives for medical device and pharmaceutical companies.

Media Resources

Register for the event here.

Media Contacts:

  • Evan White, College of Biological Sciences,
  • Andy Fell, News and Media Relations, 530-304-8888,

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Secondary Categories

Science & Technology