Katalin Karikó Wins a 2022 Women in Science International Award from the L’Oréal  Foundation

Katalin Karikó was the North American winner of the 2022 Women in Science International Awards from the L’Oréal  Foundation in Paris. Each year, the foundation in conjunction UNESCO celebrate the scientific excellence of five eminent women researchers, each from a major region of the world. Since the creation of the For Women in Science program in 1998, 122 laureates have been honored

Dr. Karikó is a biochemist, researcher, and adjunct professor of neurosurgery at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. She is best known for her contributions to mRNA technology and the COVID-19 vaccines. Dr. Karikó and co-collaborator Drew Weissman, invented the modified mRNA technology used in Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna’s vaccines to prevent COVID-19 infection.

More than 15 years ago at Penn Medicine, Karikó and Weissman found a way to modify mRNA and later developed a delivery technique to package the mRNA in lipid nanoparticles. This made it possible for mRNA to reach the proper part of the body and trigger an immune response to fight disease.

Dr. Karikó received her bachelor’s degree in biology in 1978 and her doctorate in biochemistry in 1982 from the University of Szeged in her native Hungary. She was working at the Biological Research Center of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences in Szeged before immigrating to the United States in 1985.

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