The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for 2023 has been awarded to Katalin Kariko and Drew Weissman, recognizing their groundbreaking research on nucleoside base modifications. This work laid the foundation for the development of highly effective mRNA vaccines against Covid-19.
In their announcement, the Nobel Assembly emphasized the transformative impact of these discoveries, which fundamentally altered our understanding of how mRNA interacts with the immune system. These breakthroughs played a crucial role in the swift development of vaccines during one of the most significant health crises in modern history.
Katalin Kariko, born in 1955 in Szolnok, currently holds a position as a Professor at Szeged University and serves as an Adjunct Professor at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. Meanwhile, Drew Weissman is the Roberts Family Professor in Vaccine Research and also serves as the Director of the Penn Institute for RNA Innovations.
This Nobel Prize marks the 113th awarded in Physiology or Medicine since its inception in 1901, with 12 of these honors having been bestowed upon women. Notably, the youngest laureate in the field of medicine remains Frederick G. Banting, who received the Medicine Prize in 1923 for his discovery of insulin at the age of 32.
Reflecting on the previous year, the 2022 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine was presented to Swedish geneticist Svante Pääbo. Pääbo, who leads the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany, was lauded for his pioneering work in extracting and analyzing DNA from ancient bones, particularly those of Neanderthals. His research has significantly advanced our understanding of extinct hominins and the evolution of humanity.
The Nobel Prize announcements are eagerly anticipated each October, with committees convening in Stockholm and Oslo to unveil the recipients. Since its establishment in 1901, the Nobel Prize has recognized scientists whose discoveries have made the most profound contributions to the betterment of humanity.