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Dr Katalin Karikó awarded Honorary Doctorate

26 Apr 2023
Dr Katalin Karikó and Prof John O'Halloran

UCC recently awarded an Honorary Doctorate to Dr Katalin Karikó for her pioneering mRNA research, which led to the BioNTech/Pfizer and Moderna vaccines against COVID-19.

For three decades, Dr Karikó’s research has focused on the use of messenger RNA (mRNA) - the genetic code that carries DNA instructions to each cell. Convinced that mRNA could be used to make medicine, she surmounted many scientific and personal challenges on her journey to discovering a means of overcoming the potentially lethal inflammatory response caused by synthetic mRNA that had precluded its use in humans.

This UCC honour recognises Dr Karikó’s discovery of this revolutionary mRNA technique and her outstanding contributions to science despite facing grant rejections and funding uncertainty earlier in her career.

In advance of her honorary conferring Dr Karikó met with UCC medicine and health students and researchers.

As an independent and creative thinker who creates and communicates knowledge, Dr Karikó embodies our aspirations as a university, and the role of our graduates in society. The personal and professional perseverance of Dr Karikó to develop the science that protected our world is deeply inspiring. It is a great honour and privilege to award this Honorary Doctorate to Dr Katalin Karikó, a true pioneer. With unrelenting determination and courage, Dr Karikó has made an enormous contribution to the fight against viral diseases and turned the tide of the pandemic.

  • UCC President Professor John O’Halloran


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