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Katalin Karikó Donates Nobel Prize Money to the University of Szeged

MTI-Hungary Today 2024.04.17.

Katalin Karikó donated a replica of her Nobel Prize and the prize money to her former alma mater, the University of Szeged (SZTE).

In a lecture on Tuesday, during which she reported on the events of last December’s Nobel Week in Stockholm, the biochemist announced that she would donate a copy of her award to the university, as well as the more than USD 500,000 that will go to outstanding teachers and students.

The researcher highlighted that

many people have worked on the COVID vaccine and the research that made it possible, and she would like to share the prize and the money it brings with future generations.

A replica of the Nobel Prize was placed in a new permanent exhibition on the life and work of Katalin Karikó, which opened at the university.

Biochemist Katalin Karikó. Behind her are Gábor Szabó, Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the University of Szeged Foundation (L) and Rector László Rovó (R). Photo via MTI/Lehoczky Péter

Speaking to the students at the opening of the exhibition, the researcher said she was confident that the prize on display and the support generated by her donation would inspire teachers and students to be the best they can be. She noted that she planned to give the prize to one researcher or student each year, and would like to present the awards in person.

At her press conference, Karikó emphasized that she had spent most of the last three years at airports and visiting cities she had never seen. However, in the future she wants to concentrate on her work.

She stressed that making modified mRNA is very cheap and fast. There are already more than 250 clinical trials using mRNA technology worldwide. The most advanced are vaccines against viruses, but vaccines are also being developed against influenza, HIV, or  Mpox (monkeypox), and also to prevent bacterial or parasitic diseases such as TB (tuberculosis) or malaria. There is also promise for methods to make vaccines using several antigens present in tumors, or personalized methods to help a patient avoid tumor recurrence in pancreatic cancer or melanoma, or to treat peanut or dust mite allergies.

Speaking at the ceremony to welcome Karikó, Rector László Rovó noted that the COVID vaccine gave doctors a tool to effectively fight the pandemic. The Nobel Prize-winning discovery that led to the creation of the vaccine will bring huge changes to healthcare in the coming decades, with the advent of new treatments that can significantly improve quality of life.

The Rector also presented Karikó with a university lab coat. He added that the professor will soon be using it, as she has her own study in Szeged, the same one that once belonged to Albert Szent-Györgyi.

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Nobel Prize Winner Gérard Mourou Joins the University of Szeged

The professor intends to focus his research on solving global problems facing humanity.Continue reading

Speaking at a banquet in honor of Karikó at the University of Szeged, President Tamás Sulyok said the Nobel Prize winner’s fantastic success is an encouragement to all those who want to embark on the path of science.

In Katalin Karikó, we constantly see that she has a great sense of responsibility towards her country. This is true patriotism, which is neither boastful nor ostentatious, but deep, true, and heartfelt,”

the President stressed.

Referring to the fact that the researcher donated a replica of the Nobel Prize and the prize money to her former alma mater, the Head of State underlined that her generous donation would never be forgotten by the university.

Katalin Karikó and Ferenc Krausz Receive the Nobel Prize
Katalin Karikó and Ferenc Krausz Receive the Nobel Prize

The ceremony was held in the Stockholm Concert Hall.Continue reading

Via MTI; Featured image via MTI/Lehoczky Péter

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