2022. May 21., Saturday

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The Presentation Ceremony of the Japan Prize 2022

The Presentation Ceremony of the Japan Prize 2020, 2021 and 2022 was held in the presence of Their Majesties the Emperor and Empress of Japan in Tokyo on 13 April. Prof. Katalin Karikó, Research Professor at the University of Szeged (SZTE) and Drew Weissman, Professor at the University of Pennsylvania, have been awarded the 2022 Japan International Prize for their pioneering research contributing to the development of mRNA vaccines. At the event Dr. Karikó met Mr. Hideya Ishikura, Executive Director of Hungarian Medical Universities Foundation (HMU), a longtime student recruitment partner of the University of Szeged.

The Japan Prize is awarded annually to scientists and engineers from around the world who have made significant contributions to the advancement of science and technology, thereby furthering the cause of peace and prosperity of mankind. Each year two fields of scientific endeavor are honored. The Japan Prize laureates receive a certificate of merit and a prize medal.


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According to Emperor Naruhito’s laudation, Karikó and Weissman received the Prize for their pioneering research contributing to the development of mRNA vaccines. The two scientists have discovered that by replacing uridine with a modified form of uridine in the mRNA molecule, they can suppress the unwanted innate immune response in the body. Their continuous research into mRNA protein production has laid the foundation for the development of mRNA vaccines.


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The University of Szeged is honored that its alumna and research professor, Dr. Katalin Karikó has been awarded the Japan Prize! This is Dr. Karikó’s second prize in Japan – she also received the Keio Medical Science Prize. The University of Szeged has long put intense focus on recruiting Japanese students with strong educational background for its internationally recognized programmes. Hungarian Medical Universities Foundation (HMU) has been the University’s longtime, exclusive partner in these efforts. As a result, there are currently 114 students of Japanese nationality pursuing their studies at the institution, the majority of them in Health Sciences. Thus, Executive Director Mr. Hideya Ishikura’s meeting with Dr. Karikó is of symbolic meaning, representing the collaboration between HMU and the University of Szeged. Dr. Norbert Palanovics, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Hungary to Japan - who also plays an important role in the promotion of Hungarian higher education in the country - was also present at the Ceremony.

 

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 In the picture from left to right, Dr. Norbert Palanovics, Dr. Katalin Karikó, Mr. Hideya Ishikura


Summing up her career Katalin Karikó said that „my journey from the humble beginning demonstrates that it doesn’t matter how far you start, you can achieve so much if you put your mind into it and don’t give up.” She praised the Japan prize for putting a spotlight on scientific research, technological advancement and international collaboration – all of these having been so crucial for the development of mRNA. She also expressed the hope that this recognition would inspire the future generation to become scientists. Following the Japan Prize award ceremony and the associated scientific lectures, Katalin Karikó concluded her program in Tokyo with various meetings and discussions at Keio University.

SZTE Experience

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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.

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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."

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