2022. July 4., Monday
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Katalin Karikó and her Research Colleague are Awarded the Kovalenko Medal by NAS

Katalin Karikó and Drew Weissman will jointly receive the 2022 Jessie Stevenson Kovalenko Medal. The U.S. National Academy of Sciences (NAS) thus acknowledges that the revolutionary development of the two scientists has made the delivery of mRNA efficient for vaccines and immunotherapies. Kariko and Weissman will receive the Kovalenko Medal on 1 May 2022.

In recognition of her "pioneering work in the development of nucleoside-modified mRNA", Katalin Karikó will receive the 2022 Jessie Stevenson Kovalenko Medal. The US National Academy of Sciences is honoring the first two scientists who pioneered the development of the licensed Covid-19 vaccine, Katalin Karikó, who holds a PhD in Biochemistry from the University of Szeged, and Drew Weissman, who has become a research fellow at the University of Pennsylvania (UPenn) laboratories.



According to a press release published by the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) on 24 January 2022, Katalin Karikó and Drew Weissman showed that "the modified mRNA was non-inflammatory and functional in vivo in animals". This paved the way for the new mRNA technology to be used for therapeutic treatments. Through their research, they have demonstrated in animal studies that nucleoside-modified mRNA can be used for vaccination against a number of pathogens, including influenza virus, HIV, SARS-CoV-2 and malaria." The method can also be used "in infection prevention, treatment of various acute and chronic diseases and genetic engineering.” - Summarised NAS, summing up the two scientists' results and findings.



As a recipient of the Jessie Stevenson Kovalenko Medal, Katalin Karikó will receive a gold-plated bronze medal and share a $ 25,000 prize with UPenn's fellow researcher Drew Weissmann, and the two scientists will receive a $ 50,000 grant to continue working together.



The NAS Kovalenko Medal will be awarded on May 1, 2022, at the Academy's annual meeting, where Katalin Karikó, Research Professor at the SZTE, and Drew Weissman, Professor at UPenn, will receive the award.



Among the 16 NAS awards, the Jessie Stevenson Kovalenko Medal, which is awarded every two years, is also distinguished by the fact that Katalin Karikó is the first Hungarian among the scientists who have won the award so far.

Previous winners include Nobel Laureate James P. Allison, one of America's top scientists, who is linked to Katalin Karikó by several awards.


For more information about Dr. Katalin Karikó, Research Professor of the University of Szeged, please visit the website of SZTE, or the website of the SZTE Klebelsberg Library.

SZTEinfo – Újszászi Ilona

Illustration: NAS

Article translated by: Diana Mustafa

SZTE Experience

93292160_608489396406408_4799535565693255680_oOlney Rodrigues - Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences

My name is Olney Rodrigues de Oliveira and I am from Brazil. I am currently pursuing my PhD studies in the Doctoral School of Education at SZTE. I chose the University of Szeged because it’s one of the best universities in Europe, especially in the field of education. I personally love Szeged because it is safe and I love the architecture, the cultural events, the local Market Mars Tér and so many other beautiful destinations. For my studies I wanted to have an excellent university in a good quality life city and Szeged offers me that. It’s neither too big nor too small, I can ride my bike to go to my classes and practically everything is within a walking distance. I would advise the prospective students to enjoy the city during their stay, the cultural and historical events, know other international students and make a lot of friends, visit other cities in Hungary and make good memories. I am pretty sure that you will be proud of this priceless experience. Before coming to Hungary I worked several years as a teacher. I love the academic environment, the libraries, relationship with students and the feeling to be involved in the acquisition of new knowledge. That is why I plan to be part of a University as a professor as well as to keep researching in different aspects of the process of education. I am so thankful to be here and I believe that the Universe brought me to Szeged because the city and the University are the experience that I need in my life now.


Nikki - Faculty of Health Sciences and Social Studies

My name is Nikki and I am from Iran. Currently I am a second year student studying Physiotherapy at the University of Szeged. I really like the Environment of Szeged as it is a true University City where you can meet people from around the world. I consider Szeged as my second home since I have established my own path here and I have a lot of friends who make me feel home. The reason why I came to Szeged is because I was informed by one of my friends about the fact that the University degrees are EU accredited and will help me to reach my goals and open doors for future job opportunities. Once I have obtained my degree, I would like to stay in Hungary and pursue a post graduate program. Later on I will seize the opportunity to gain some job experience in my field here in Hungary before I hold my ground in Europe.