Nobel Medicine 2023, who are Karikó and Weissman: ‘parents’ of mRNA vaccines

Biography of the Hungarian biochemist and American immunologist

THE parents of mRNA vaccines, the mother and father of the anti-Covid ‘shields’ who helped bring the world out of the Sars-CoV-2 pandemic. This is who the Hungarian biochemist Katalin Karikó and the American immunologist Drew Weissman are, winners of the 2023 Nobel Prize for Medicine.

Karikò was born in 1955 in Szolnok, Hungary. He received his PhD from the University of Szeged in 1982 and carried out his postdoctoral studies at the Hungarian Academy of Sciences in Szeged until 1985. He subsequently continued his research in the USA, at Temple University in Philadelphia and at Bethesda University of Health Sciences. In 1989 she was appointed assistant professor at the University of Pennsylvania, where she remained until 2013. She then became vice president and then senior vice president of the German company BioNTech Rna Pharmaceuticals. Since 2021 she has been a professor at the University of Szeged and an adjunct professor at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania.

Weissman was born in 1959 in Lexington, Massachusetts, United States. He received his medical degree and PhD from Boston University in 1987. He did his clinical training at the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center at Harvard Medical School and postdoctoral research at the National Institutes of Health ( Nih). In 1997 he founded his research group at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. He is the Roberts Family Professor in Vaccine Research and director of the Penn Institute for RNA Innovations.