Katalin Karikó held a seminar for students at the University of Szeged on Thursday. During the lecture, she spoke about the importance of relationships during university, family, career balance, and stress management, among other topics.
On December 10, the research professor will be awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for her discoveries that paved the way for the development of mRNA-based vaccines. On Thursday, she met students of the university at a seminar, and told them that she started her studies in 1973 in Szeged, (Southern Great Plain, Hungary) where she studied biology. She obtained both her diploma and doctorate at the University of Szeged. It was here that she met her husband, with whom she celebrated their 43rd wedding anniversary on Wednesday. They also have a daughter, she noted.
University of Szeged. Photo: Ferenc Somorjai/Wikipedia
The researcher stressed the importance of the relationships formed during her university years. She advised the audience to follow in the footsteps of their former classmates after graduation. Katalin Karikó also encouraged students to ask their teachers or even to seek out researchers with questions, and if they have good questions, they might get noticed.
About her first years in the United States, she emphasized that
in the second half of the 1980s, laboratory conditions were in many ways worse in the U.S. than at the Biological Research Center in Szeged.
On the subject of family and career balance, she stressed that a research career is not family-friendly. She said that
it is much easier for a woman to give up her career dream when her child is crying. However, she advised girls not to do so, and instead ask their families and husbands for support.
She mentioned that her husband was a great help in raising their daughter and in her research career.
Talking about the importance of stress management, she emphasized that in every negative situation, you have to find something that can be turned into a positive. Citing an example from her student days, she said that a former teacher in Ostrava (Czech Republic) threatened to stop her from being accepted to university. To prevent that from happening, she studied much harder.
She added that this is why she thanks those who hindered her in her career, because they made her resilient and pushed her to do even better.
Via MTI, Featured image: MTI/Rosta Tibor