2022. July 4., Monday
News  --  Archive  --  2021

Katalin Karikó Received the Reichstein Medal: "Entering the Spacious Hallway of the Nobel Prize."

Katalin Karikó received the Reichstein Medal, known as the most prestigious Swiss award in the field of pharmaceutical sciences, on 6 September 2021. The biochemist who patented the therapeutic application of mRNA containing modified nucleosides, vice-president of BioNTech, Honorary Doctor and alumni of the University of Szeged, has thus "entered the spacious hallway of the Nobel Prize".

The Reichstein Medal is awarded by the "Swiss Academy of Pharmaceutical Sciences" (SAPhS) to internationally renowned scientists who have made a major contribution to the development of medical science and pharmaceutical sciences through research, education and practical application.


"Katalin Karikó's contribution to mRNA research and its application in vaccines and medicine has been fundamental." – Quoted by the newspapers in June 2021 from the official statement of the Swiss Academy of Pharmaceutical Sciences. "Your determination to develop new technology not only brought a new era in vaccine technology, but also contributed to rapid and mass vaccination that prevented the spread of COVID-19 disease."


Katalin Karikó received the gold Reichstein Medal at a ceremony at the "Haus der Universität" of the University of Bern on 6 September 2021. “Listening to Katalin Kariko's journey and story has been so inspiring! Her passion for science and her resilience are mind-blowing. An absolutely deserved Rechstein Award from the Swiss Academy of Pharmaceutical Sciences to a woman who never stopped to believe in her science.” - Said Paola Luciani, Professor at the University of Bern, in a LinkedIn post.


Katalin Karikó, a researcher who became world famous as an iconic figure in the fight against the coronavirus during the COVID-19 pandemic, defended her PhD thesis at the University of Szeged, Hungary. The scientist arrived at the University of Bern for the Swiss Reichstein Medal ceremony as an honorary doctor of the University of Szeged.



The SAPhS named the medal after the Swiss chemist and Nobel Prize winner Tadeus Reichstein who developed the synthesis of ascorbic acid (vitamin C) in 1932 and thus enabling its industrial production. Vitamin C is a link between the two laureates. It is interesting to recall that Albert Szent-Györgyi, professor at the University of Szeged, won the Nobel Prize for his discoveries in the field of biological combustion processes, for his work on the role of vitamin C and fumaric acid in catalysis.


The Reichstein Medal is awarded irregularly every 5-10 years, most recently in 2014. The Medal has already been awarded to two Nobel Prize winners.

The Rosenstiel and Horwitz Prizes, previously awarded to Katalin Karikó and Drew Weissman, are said to be, that the person so recognised "has entered the spacious hallway of the Nobel Prize".

SZTE Experience


Tamerlan Mendybayev – Faculty of Agriculture

My name is Tamerlan Mendybayev. I am from capital of Kazakhstan, Nur-Sultan. Currently I am first year student at the Faculty of Agriculture. I chose the University of Szeged as my study destination for several reasons: firstly, it is a well-known applied science institution in Europe and the best in Hungary. Secondly, the program is designed with a significant focus on the developing practical skills of the students and there is a University pilot farm where students keen their skills and implement their knowledge in practice. Undoubtedly, University of Szeged is a place where students become professionals in their academic field.

95930002_620793281842686_908476219798847488_oDianne - Faculty of Science and Informatics

I am a PhD student and a Stipendium Hungaricum scholarship holder from the Philippines. I am currently pursuing my PhD in Environmental Science and I happen to be in my 3rd year of studies. I chose University of Szeged because its one of the top ranked research university in Hungary known for its good reputation in the fields of health and natural sciences. Coming from the Philippines with a warm climate, I had huge preference of Szeged for my studies, the city having the most rays of sunshine and considered to be the warmest place in Hungary. I would advise all the prospective students to join University of Szeged’s diverse and vibrant community! Don’t be afraid to leave your comfort zone, try to find and establish your niche in a new place like what I did. I didn’t regret coming to Szeged as it continuously provides me an enabling learning environment for various reasons, has affordable cost of living, very safe and calm university town, organized transport system, beautiful and clean surroundings with the very sightly Tisza River which adds to its appeal, and also holds many festivals throughout the year. After graduation, I am planning to go back to my home institution and continue my teaching duties at the University of the Philippines Los Baños