Ralf Bartenschlager

Ralf Bartenschlager has been awarded the Beijerinck Virology Prize 2020 for his efforts to combat hepatitis C.

Ralf Bartenschlager’s work forms the basis of all current hepatitis C drug treatments. He developed a method for cultivating the virus in the lab that researchers have been using ever since to study hepatitis C and test antiviral drugs. His work has led to pioneering new treatments for chronic liver infections.

Bartenschlager has widened his scope to include other viruses, including the coronaviruses, using the latest imaging techniques to track how they replicate. He is also investigating the ‘arms race’ between the virus and the host’s immune system, how antiviral therapies work, and how hosts grow resistant to such therapies.

The jury has praised Bartenschlager as a source of inspiration for the younger generation of researchers. He advises and supervises numerous students and has also established and now coordinates several study programmes. Some of his pupils have gone on to have impressive careers of their own.

About the laureate

Bartenschlager (born 1958) is professor and head of the Department of Molecular Virology at Heidelberg University. He is also head of the Virus-Associated Carcinogenesis Division at the German Cancer Research Center.