Katalin Karikó, Nobel Prize in Medicine (httpscommons.wikimedia.orgwindex.phpcurid98114553-e1696875740748.jpeg)

Women and Adversity:
Katalin Karikó
2023 Winner of Nobel Prize
in Medicine

Katalin “Kati” Karikó’s scientific pursuit is a journey of determination. She believed in her research of mRNA technology despite countless humiliations. That determination paid off October 2 when she won the Nobel Prize in Medicine. The actual name of the Nobel is Physiology or Medicine. Karikó shares the honor with Dr. Drew Weissman for their contributions to mRNA technology and the COVID-19 vaccines.

An online explanation of mRNA says it is a subtype of ribonucleic acid (RNA). At https://byjus.com it says DNA and messenger RNA (mRNA) are two types of nucleic acids that carry genetic information. That may help some people investigate more, but this blog is about how Karikó got to this point.


  • Born January 17, 1955 in Szolnok, Hungary and grew up in Kisújszállás in a home that had no running water or refrigerator or television. Her father was a butcher, and her mother was a bookkeeper.
  • In primary education earned third place in a biology contest in Hungary
  • 1978 — Bachelor of Science degree in biology, University of Szeged
  • 1982 — Ph.D. in biochemistry, University of Szeged
  • 1985 — She, her husband and two-year-old daughter left Hungary for the U.S.


  • 1982 — postdoctoral research, Institute of Biochemistry, Biological Research Centre of Hungary
  • 1985 — her lab lost its funding at BRC
  • 1985 — research at Temple University
  • 1989 — research at University of Pennsylvania
  • 1995 — demoted at University of Pennsylvania because she was not able to get financial grants to continue her work. She said, “One day, this will save lives.”
  • 2005 — received a patent with Weissman for non-immunogenic, nucleoside-modified RNA
  • 2006 — along with Weissman, founded RNARx, a company that aimed to commercialize non-immunogenic, nucleoside-modified RNA. Licensed the technology to Moderna and BioNTech.
  • 2013 — senior vice president at BioNTech
  • 2021 — Time magazine named her one of the most influential people of 2021.
  • 2023 — won the Nobel Prize in Medicine

Personal life

  • 1980 ­­— married Bela Francia, an engineer
  • 1982  — daughter Zsuzsanna, “Susan,” born. Susan won two gold medals in rowing, women’s eight, one at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing and another in the 2012 Olympics in London.

 Learn more about Karikó:
Researcher Demoted By University Of Pennsylvania Wins Nobel Prize For mRNA Discoveries—And Some Academics Urge Penn To Apologize (forbes.com)
Olympian Susan Francia on how her mother helped develop the COVID-19 vaccines and their American dream – ESPN

My ebooks available at amazon.com and barnesandnoble.com:
Honoring 23 Black Women, Recognizing 23 Notable Mothers, Saluting 23 Faithful Suffragists  


Article By: Jo Ann Mathews

I published three ebooks in 2020: Women and Adversity, Honoring 23 Black Women; Women and Adversity, Recognizing 23 Notable Mothers; and Women and Adversity, Saluting 23 Faithful Suffragists to commemorate the hundredth anniversary of the passage of the 19th Amendment giving women the right to vote. These books are meant to be study guides for all students from grade school through college to help in choosing topics for assignments and to learn more about these noteworthy women. Go to amazon.com, barnesandnoble.com and goodreads.com to learn more.

  1. Susan Lerner Friedberg says:

    I’m so proud to say I knew you when! Your focus on women and their accomplishments is so admirable. Keep up the good work!

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