Office of Research Distinguished Speaker Series in Research and Innovation - mRNA Vaccine Development for COVID-19 - Office of Research

Distinguished Speaker Series in Research and Innovation – mRNA Vaccine Development for COVID-19

Join us for this amazing opportunity to hear from a pioneer in RNA-mediated immune activation, Dr. Katalin Karikó, senior vice president at BioNTech RNA Pharmaceuticals. Dr. Karikó will speak about the path of the development and science behind this exciting platform that is at the forefront of COVID-19 relief.

This event is part of the UC Davis Lung Center Seminar Series and is cohosted by the UC Davis School of Medicine and Office of Research.

Event Details

March 12, 2021
8:00 – 9:00 am: Presentation
9:00 – 9:45 am: Question and Answer

Registration is required


Who Should Attend?

UC Davis faculty, clinicians, staff, students and their research partners. Media representatives are also welcome to attend.

About the Speaker

Katalin Karikó, PhD
Senior Vice President, BioNTech RNA Pharmaceuticals
Adjunct Associate Professor, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania

Katalin Karikó is Senior Vice President at BioNTech RNA Pharmaceuticals from 2013. She is also Adjunct Associate Professor at the Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, where she worked for 24 years. She received her Ph.D. in biochemistry from University of Szeged, Hungary, in 1982. For four decades, her research has been focusing on RNA-mediated mechanisms with the ultimate goal of developing in vitro-transcribed mRNA for protein therapy. She investigated RNA-mediated immune activation and co-discovered that nucleoside modifications suppress immunogenicity of RNA, which widened the therapeutic potentials of mRNA. She is co-inventor on mRNA-related patents for application of non-immunogenic, nucleoside-modified RNA. She co-founded and from 2006-2013 served as CEO of RNARx, a company dedicated to develop nucleoside-modified mRNA for therapy. She is a founding member of the scientific planning committee for the International mRNA Health Conference, an annual non-profit meeting for advancements of mRNA technology, inaugurated in 2013. She served as guest editor of the Molecular Therapy special issue on mRNA Therapy, in 2019. Her patent, co-invented with Drew Weissman on nucleoside-modified uridines in mRNA is used to create the anti-SARS-CoV-2 mRNA vaccines by BioNTech/Pfizer and Moderna/NIH. She has 10 patents granted by US.

Membership and Awards

2020 Member of the European Academy
2021 Precision Medicine World Conference Pioneer Award
2021 Rosenstiel Award for Distinguished Work in Medical Science
2021 Research! America’s Outstanding Achievement in Public Health Award – “Building the Foundation Award”


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