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Hepatitis B Foundation Announces 2019 Baruch S. Blumberg Prize Winner

Dr. Christoph Seeger of Fox Chase Cancer Center Recognized for His Contributions to the Science of Hepatitis B

DOYLESTOWN, PA (November 12, 2018) The Hepatitis B Foundation has named Christoph Seeger, PhD, the recipient of its 2019 Baruch S. Blumberg Prize for excellence in hepatitis B research. Dr. Seeger is a Professor and Senior Scientist at Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia. Dr. Seeger will receive the award at the Hepatitis B Foundation’s annual Crystal Ball Gala planned April 26, 2019 at Blue Bell Country Club in Blue Bell, PA.

The Baruch S. Blumberg Prize is the Hepatitis B Foundation’s highest honor, given to publicly recognize and appreciate the outstanding contributions made by an individual to significantly advance the science and medicine of hepatitis B. It is named for Baruch S. Blumberg, who received the Nobel Prize for his discovery of the hepatitis B virus, and who was instrumental to the work of the Hepatitis B Foundation.

“Dr. Seeger’s outstanding contributions to hepatitis B molecular biology have had implications not only for hepatitis B, but for all viruses,” said Timothy Block, PhD, president of the Hepatitis B Foundation and its Baruch S. Blumberg Institute. “We are proud to recognize the impact of his work in hepatitis B research.”

Dr. Seeger is credited with demonstrating one of the essential enzymatic activities of the HBV polymerase, its primase activity. In the process of this discovery, he showed that the protein is covalently attached to viral RNA, which was then very unexpected. The finding has implications for some other viruses, as well.

Dr. Seeger’s work at Fox Chase Cancer Center has focused on the biology of human pathogenic viruses with an emphasis on HBV. Professor Seeger's investigations have led to the identification of the signals required for reverse transcription of the viral DNA and provided the basis for the current model for HBV replication. His laboratory also expressed the HBV polymerase in enzymatically active form in the presence of the heat shock protein 90 complex. In line with his interest in HBV biology, the goal of his current research is to investigate a novel approach to inactivate covalently closed circular (ccc) DNA, which could improve current antiviral therapies and lead to a cure for chronic infections. He earned his PhD from the University of Basel, Switzerland.

About the Hepatitis B Foundation: The Hepatitis B Foundation is the nation’s leading nonprofit organization solely dedicated to finding a cure for hepatitis B and improving the quality of life for those affected worldwide through research, education and patient advocacy. To learn more, go to www.hepb.org, read our blog at http://hepb.org/blog, follow us on Twitter @HepBFoundation, find us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/hepbfoundation or call 215-489-4900.