Katalin Kariko, PhD

faculty photo
Adjunct Professor of Neurosurgery
Department: Neurosurgery

Contact information
BioNTech RNA Pharmaceuticals
An der Goldgrube 12
Mainz, D-55131
BS (Biology)
József Attila University, Szeged, Hungary, 1978.
PHD (Biochemistry)
József Attila University, Szeged, Hungary, 1982.
Post-Graduate Training
Postdoctoral Fellow, Biological Research Center, Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Szeged, Hungary, 1982-1985.
Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of Biochemistry, Temple University, Philadelphia, PA, 1985-1988.
Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of Pathology, Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, Bethesda, MD, 1988-1989.
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Description of Research Expertise

Dr. Katalin Karikó’s research has for decades focused 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 (with Penn Medicine colleague Drew Weissman) that nucleoside modifications suppress the immunogenicity of RNA, which has widened the therapeutic potential of mRNA in treating diseases. This led to the development of the two most effective vaccines for COVID-19, the BioNTech/Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, and holds vast promise for future treatments of many other diseases. Dr. Karikó was recently honored with the Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences, the Princess of Asturias Award, and the Vilcek Prize for Excellence in Biotechnology. She continues to work on new therapeutic applications of mRNA therapy.

Selected Publications

Krienke, C, Kolb, L, Diken, E, Streuber, M, Kirchhoff, S, Bukur, T, Akilli-Öztürk, Ö, Kranz, LM, Berger, H, Petschenka, J, Diken, M, Kreiter, S, Yogev, N, Waisman, A, Karikó, K, Türeci, Ö, and Sahin, U : A noninflammatory mRNA vaccine for treatment of experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis. Science 371(6525): 145-153, Jan 2021.

Hotz, C, Wagenaar, TR, Gieseke, F, Bangari, DS, Callahan, M, Cao, H, Diekmann, J, Diken, M, Grunwitz, C, Hebert, A, Hsu, K, Bernardo, M, Karikó, K, Kreiter, S, Kuhn, AN, Levit, M, Malkova, N, Masciari, S, Pollard, J, Qu, H, Ryan, S, Selmi, A, Schlereth, J, Singh, K, Sun, F, Tillmann, B, Tolstykh, T, Weber, W, Wicke, L, Witzel, S, Yu, Q, Zhang, YA, Zheng, G, Lager, J, Nabel, GJ, Sahin, U, and Wiederschain, D: Local delivery of mRNA-encoding cytokines promotes antitumor immunity and tumor eradication across multiple preclinical tumor models. Science Translational Medicine 13(610): eabc7804, Sep 2021 Notes: [Epub Ahead of Print]

Sahin, U, Muik, A, Derhovanessian, E, Vogler, I, Kranz, LM, Vormehr, M, Baum, A, Pascal, K, Quandt, J, Maurus, D, Brachtendorf, S, Lorks, V, Sikorski, J, Hilker, R, Becker, D, Eller, AK, Grutzner, J, Boesler, C, Rosenbaum, C, Kuhnle, MC, Luxemburger, U, Kemmer-Bruck, A, Langer, D, Bexon, M, Bolte, S, Karikó, K, Palanche, T, Fischer, B, Schultz, A, Shi, PY, Fontes-Garfias, C, Perez, JL, Swanson, KA, Loschko, J, Scully, IL, Cutler, M, Kalina, W, Kyratsous, CA, Cooper, D, Dormitzer, PR, Jansen, KU, and Tureci, O.: COVID-19 vaccine BNT162b1 elicits human antibody and TH1 T cell responses. Nature 586(7830): 594-599, Oct 2020.

Karikó, K., Muramatsu, H., Welsh, FA., Ludwig, J., Kato, H., Akira, S., Weissman, D.: Incorporation of pseudouridine into mRNA yields superior nonimmunogenic vector with increased translational capacity and biological stability. Molecular Therapy 16: 1833-1840, 2008.

Karikó K, Buckstein M, Ni H, Weissman D.: Suppression of RNA recognition by Toll-like receptors: the impact of nucleoside modification and the evolutionary origin of RNA. Immunity 23(2): 165-75, 2005.

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Last updated: 10/01/2021
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