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Dr. Katalin Karikó will talk about her pioneering research in mRNA vaccine technology. The Hungarian-born biochemist’s discoveries provided scientists with the tools necessary to develop mRNA vaccines for COVID-19. 

For her entire career, Dr. Kariko has focused on messenger RNA, or mRNA, the genetic script that carries DNA instructions to each cell’s protein-making machinery. She was convinced mRNA could be used to instruct cells to make their own medicines, including vaccines. 

Dr. Karikó is the senior vice president at BioNTech RNA Pharmaceuticals and adjunct associate professor of neurosurgery at the University of Pennsylvania. Born in Szolnock, Hungary, Karikó moved to the United States in 1985 to pursue postdoctoral studies at Temple University in Philadelphia. She was recently profiled in The New York Times, and in The Guardian

Dr. Karikó has just been named as the 2022 recipient of the prestigious Vilcek Prize for Excellence in Biotechnology and recently received the 50th Annual Rosentheil Award for Distinguished Work in Basic Medical Research with her Penn colleague Professor Drew Weissman. Their work laid the foundation for the stunningly successful vaccines made by Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna. 

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Katalin Kariko, PhD
Katalin KarikóPhD
Senior Vice President,
BioNTech RNA Pharmaceuticals
Associate Professor of Neurosurgery,
University of Pennsylvania