Katalin Karikó has received the Theodor Boveri Prize, the highest life science award of the Julius-Maximilians University of Würzburg, in recognition of her research in biomedical sciences, the University of Szeged announced.
The award was founded by the Würzburg Society for Physical Medicine (Societas Physico-Medica), aiming to highlight the links between medicine and natural sciences, with the important goal of disseminating knowledge. The prize is named after Theodor Heinrich Boveri (1862-1915), one of the founders of comparative anatomy and modern cytology, who is also known for his observations and hypotheses on the cellular processes that cause cancer.
Katalin Karikó’s recognition is the first time a woman researcher has been awarded the prize.
According to the announcement, the society’s award honors prominent scientists whose outstanding work has opened up new possibilities in biomedical research and its human applications. Professor Manfred Schartl, President of Societas Physico-Medica, said:
Without the fundamental work of Katalin Karikó, it would not have been possible to develop an effective vaccine against SARS-CoV-2 in such a short time.”
Karikó is a Széchenyi and Bolyai Prize-winning Hungarian biochemist and academic living in the United States, and one of the developers of the mRNA-based vaccine against Covid-19. She graduated in biology from the University of Szeged in 1978, and received her PhD in 1983. After graduation, she was awarded a fellowship at the Institute of Biophysics of the Szeged Biological Center, where she started working with viruses.
In 1985, she moved with her family to the United States, joining the University of Pennsylvania in 1989, where she conducted research for twenty-four years. In 1998, she started working with immunologist Drew Weissman. In 2005, together they registered a patent for the therapeutic application of mRNA containing modified nucleosides, which became the basis for mRNA-based vaccines that have been central to the fight against Covid-19.
Via MTI, Featured photo via Twitter/Katalin Karikó