Former President of Ireland, Chair of The Elders & UN Special Envoy on Climate Change
Speaker Katalin Kariko, PhD, is a Nobel laureate and pioneering biochemist behind the groundbreaking mRNA technology in COVID-19 vaccines. Her transformative research at Penn Medicine led to the FDA-approved Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, cementing her status as a beacon of innovation in modern medicine and a sought-after speaker in the scientific community.
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Speaker Katalin Kariko, PhD, is an illustrious biochemist whose pioneering work has transformed modern medicine. As a Nobel Prize winner, Kariko’s story is one of perseverance and innovation. She co-created the modified mRNA technology, a cornerstone of the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines, marking a monumental leap in vaccine development and global health.
Over 15 years ago, at Penn Medicine, Kariko, alongside Drew Weissman, MD, PhD, discovered a method to modify mRNA, later devising a delivery system using lipid nanoparticles. This breakthrough revolutionized mRNA’s role in immunology, enabling its safe and effective application in combatting diseases, including COVID-19.
Kariko’s efforts culminated in the FDA’s full approval of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine in August 2021, with Moderna’s vaccine also receiving emergency use authorization. Her dedication to mRNA research has not only offered a beacon of hope during the pandemic but also promises a new era for therapeutic interventions.
Currently, speaker Katalin Kariko serves as Senior Vice President at BioNTech and as an Adjunct Professor of Neurosurgery at the University of Pennsylvania. Her academic journey began with a bachelor’s degree in biology and a doctorate in biochemistry from the University of Szeged, Hungary. After a stint at the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, she immigrated to the United States in 1985, joining the University of Pennsylvania four years later. Her career at Penn spanned decades, fostering a collaborative environment that nurtured her groundbreaking research with Weissman.
In recent news, Kariko’s role in mRNA technology continues to garner acclaim, emphasizing her impact on science and public health. Her accolades and speaking engagements inspire a new generation of scientists and laypeople alike, highlighting the profound effect of resilience and scientific curiosity on human progress.
Dr. Katalin Karikó discusses the journey of mRNA technology from its nascent stages to its critical role in combating the COVID-19 pandemic. She explores the science behind mRNA vaccines and their impact on future therapeutic strategies.
This talk delves into the importance of resilience in research, providing insights into how perseverance leads to transformative discoveries in science.
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