2022. January 23., Sunday
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


Ferdous Rahman – Faculty of Law and Political Sciences

My name is Ferdous Rahman and I am from Bangladesh. I am pursuing doctoral studies at the Department of Private International Law at the Faculty of Law and Political Science under the Stipendium Hungaricum Programme. Currently I am in the first year of my four-year PhD programme. I came to know about SZTE while exploring for the Stipendium Hungaricum programme. Among the other available options, this was my first choice. Apart from its excellent ranking, I got my supervisor with similar research interest. The increasing number of international students gave me a comfort of having a cosmopolitan environment. After starting my studies here in September 2019, I am convinced that I could not expect more. For prospective students, I would advise that SZTE can be their next home as I got mine. Everyone here including the professors, the administrators, and the students are very friendly and helpful. They make studies a joyous journey instead of pile of classes and books. After my graduation, I will return to my home country. The knowledge and the experience that I have been receiving here will be a great resource for my academic career. I intend to continue my research further and expect to contribute to policy formulation at national and international level."


Ahmad Adha - Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences

I am Ahmad Adha from Indonesia and currently a 3rd year student in Theoretical Linguistics PhD program. I chose the University of Szeged (SZTE) as my study destination because it is located in the center of the town and it is also the highest ranked university in Hungary. The university staff and the professors were very accommodating and understanding when I decided to change the program that suits my research topic. I am so glad that I can be a part of my current department, and of course SZTE, since it is also the Center of Pragmatic Research which aims to promote advanced linguistic pragmatic research with international collaborations. After graduating, I wish to continue to work in my academic field as a professor and a researcher. My advice for prospective SZTE students is to choose a university with a good academic reputation that fits their passion.