Karikó and Weissman Receive 2023 Nobel Prize in Medicine

Science

Katalin Karikó, Drew Weissman at the 9th Breakthrough Prize Ceremony Arrivals at the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures on April 15, 2023 in Los Angeles.

Image by Kathy Hutchins / Shutterstock.com

Katalin Karikó and Drew Weissman have been awarded the 2023 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for their discoveries concerning nucleoside base modifications that enabled the development of effective mRNA vaccines against COVID-19.

The discoveries by the two Nobel Laureates were critical for developing effective mRNA vaccines against COVID-19 during the pandemic that began in early 2020, Nobelprize.org notes.

Through their groundbreaking findings, which have fundamentally changed the understanding of how mRNA interacts with the human immune system, Karikó and Weissman contributed to the unprecedented rate of vaccine development during one of the greatest threats to human health in modern times, the website adds.

Hungarian-American scientist Katalin Karikó was born in 1955 in Szolnok (93 km southeast of Budapest). She received her PhD from Szeged’s University in 1982 and performed postdoctoral research at the Hungarian Academy of Sciences until 1985. She then emigrated to the United States, conducting postdoctoral research at Temple University, Philadelphia, and the University of Health Science, Bethesda. In 1989, she was appointed assistant professor at the University of Pennsylvania, where she remained until 2013. After that, she became VP and later senior VP at BioNTech RNA Pharmaceuticals. Since 2021, she has been a professor at Szeged University and an adjunct professor at Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania.

The Nobel Assembly, consisting of 50 professors at Karolinska Institutet, awards the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, while its Nobel Committee evaluates the nominations. Since 1901 the Nobel Prize has been awarded to scientists who have made the most important discoveries for the benefit of humankind.

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