Katalin Karikó

Podcast

Nobel Prize Conversations

“If I get an award, I have an opportunity to thank people. I also thank the people who tried to make my life miserable because they made me work harder and become more resilient”

Working harder and becoming more resilient seems to be the story of Nobel Prize laureate Katalin Karikós’s life. Despite facing a number of enormous challenges, she has never lost hope or focus. Instead she is convinced that it is better to focus on yourself and not to despair when life doesn’t go as planned.

In our podcast conversation Karikó, our 2023 medicine laureate, shares some of her best practices for overcoming obstacles and never giving up. As an added bonus, she also gives us some insightful parenting advice.

This conversation was published on 23 May, 2024. The host of this podcast is nobelprize.org’s Adam Smith, joined by Clare Brilliant.

Below you find a transcript of the podcast interview. The transcript was created using speech recognition software. While it has been reviewed by human transcribers, it may contain errors.

Katalin Karikó showing her Nobel Prize medal
Katalin Karikó showing her Nobel Prize medal during a visit to the Nobel Foundation on 11 December 2023. © Nobel Prize Outreach. Photo: Nanaka Adachi.

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Katalin Karikó: If I get an award, I have an opportunity to thank people. I also thank the people who tried to make my life miserable because they made me work harder and become more resilient. 

Adam Smith: Speaking with Katalin Karikó, I was just so struck by how incredibly positive she is about everything, whether it’s disappointments in the work, or awful colleagues, or rejections, or losing a job, it’s all good. What a wonderful way to live. I mean, personally, I’m constantly set back by things that don’t go the way I hope they would be, but doesn’t seem to phase her at all. What an extraordinary ability she has and it comes over in abundance listening to her talk. So do stay with me for this conversation with Katalin Karikó. 

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Clare Brilliant: This is Nobel Prize Conversations, and our guest is Katalin Karikó, recipient of the 2023 Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine. She was awarded for discoveries concerning nucleoside base modifications that enabled the development of effective mRNA vaccines against COVID-19. She shared the prize with Drew Weissman. Your host is Adam Smith, Chief Scientific Officer at Nobel Prize Outreach. This podcast was producing cooperation with Fundación Ramón Areces.  

Katalin Karikó shares her time between the private sector and academia as a senior vice president at BioNTech and an adjunct professor of neurosurgery at the University of Pennsylvania. In this conversation, she talks about raising an Olympic champion, getting up early to make breakfast for her lab team, and how a book by Janos Selye, the Hungarian-Canadian scientist, who coined the term stress, formed her whole approach to the ups and downs of life. But first, Adam and Kati discuss how she sees her place in the battle against Covid. 

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Smith: In his will, Alfred Nobel indicated that he wanted the Nobel Prize to go to those who had brought the greatest benefit to mankind, as he said, and humankind as we say now. Benefit to humankind is a difficult thing to define, but in this case, the benefit of the vaccination program during Covid was absolutely apparent. I just wanted to start by asking how it feels to walk around and know that most of the people you are passing in the street have been injected with a vaccine that most likely you were instrumental to developing. 

Karikó: I perceive things differently. I feel that all of those who came before us, all of the science and what I learned from them and my colleagues here at the university or at BioNTech, everybody just worked together. I don’t feel that I did it. I felt that everybody did their part and I was just one of those. That’s how I feel. Otherwise, it would be overwhelming, probably. But that’s how I felt always. As I mentioned many times, I was not craving recognition that somebody would know that I did something. It was, for me, it was enough that I knew even without any pandemic, I knew that what I was doing is good, and one day it will be helpful for people. That’s why I went to Germany. I commuted for a decade to make sure that this product will enter to the clinic and will help somebody. I wanted to stay as long as I could see somebody will be helped. I just put one thing, and many, many people that did important things. 

Smith: Certainly so many people were involved, and it’s a communal effort. And that’s, I suppose the wonderful thing about science. But nevertheless, it’s unusual to see the direct benefit of your work in the way that you and the others who’re involved in this program have been able to. Can I just get you to reflect a little bit on the impact of the work? 

Karikó: The biggest feeling, what I was generated within, inside it was that, this Meadowbrook, elderly home where they get an covid infection broke out just one week after everybody received one injection. Then they send me the letter that when the first person get infected, everybody thought that one third of the people will be gone, and nobody died. Then they made this Katalin Karikó appreciation day and they were celebrating. They had a T-shirt, and they want to be grateful to somebody. They send me pictures when the children of those elderly people could visit the home. And the joy, I was happy that I was part of it. I know that they celebrated me, but I can tell you that it was more important than any award, including the Nobel Prize, reading that letter, seeing those pictures. 

Smith: That’s lovely. I suppose, yes, it’s a very interesting point that people wanted somebody to thank. When I think of in the UK, people standing on the streets applauding the NHS on a weekly basis, they were just wanting to say thank you to somebody. How lovely to be the person they’re saying thank you to sometimes.  

Karikó: I am most thankful to those people who were working in the hospitals, all of the healthcare workers, because they risk their life. They went every day taking care of the patient, and they didn’t know that they can infect it or infect their own family. They risk the most and they are the real heroes. 

Smith: Your story has become very famous. People know you as the person who believed in the power of mRNA therapeutics against considerable adversity and stuck with it. Is there a simple answer to the question of what gave you the resilience to stick with your beliefs? 

Karikó: I think that learning how to handle stress, to not pay attention and not to divert when I believe in something. It was all coming from when I was 16 years old and I was reading Janos Selye’s book about our life and stress. I am not a religious person, so we didn’t get some word from the church or what to follow. That was what I really followed in my life. It was like some stoic philosophy that I just focus on what I can change and all of this outside, opinions etc, I just take it as learning. Like if it is hurtful, I learn that I won’t do and won’t tell anyone about it because it’s hurtful. Everything is learning. Even from very early on when one of my teachers said that he will make sure that I won’t get accepted to the university. He will arrange that I realised that not everybody’s rooting for me, and also that I had to even work harder to make sure that I will be the best and they will still accept me. 

Karikó: If he would say to me when I was 18 that he was sure he will arrange it was very difficult to get into the university, he will arrange that I will get accepted. Somewhere I would just sit back. That’s why if I get an award and I have an opportunity to thank people, I also thank to the people who tried to make my life miserable because they made me work harder and become more resilient. That’s how you process stress because stress can kill you as Selye demonstrated. He coined the word stress for the human feelings. You have to learn how to make this negative stress to positive, because the positive we need, the anticipation and excitement we need that otherwise we wouldn’t get up in the morning. You have to learn and practice. It’s not easy. Selye described that when you are angry, the fastest way you can release your anger and the stress is revenge. He said that you should never do that because it hits you back and it escalates and it gets worse, and you never get down and quiet. He said, you have to find something to be grateful for the same person. You are just ready to make a revenge because the gratitude is also get back to you. 

Smith: It’s amazing to me that you learnt this when you were 16 because of course there are examples of this, this idea of what doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger and being grateful for adversity. But it takes forever to learn. Yet you at the age of 16 decided you were going to read about it and learn. What drove you to be so if you mature about yourself at 16?

Karikó: Actually in the high school, we sent a letter to Selye, he’s Hungarian, and we couldn’t speak English. We learned Russian in the school, and we sent him letter and he responded. We get so excited. His book was published in Hungarian. We read the book and then in the biology after-school program, we discussed what this mean, what we have to do. It was not just, I am reading by myself. We discussed with the other students and with the biology teacher. We also sent letters to Albert Szent-Györgyi. He also responded. That’s why I feel responsibility in these days to respond to high school students and help them because you never know. 

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Smith: So you were already very switched on at the age of 16. You were interested, curious, ready to be a scientist. 

Karikó: In elementary school, I was already competing in biology and I was in a very small town and I was third best in the country. 

Smith: Okay, so did that come from within? 

Karikó: We had garden and we had animals. I was just curious with many of the other kids and, of course, great teachers. My parents also encouraged us to study because they had no opportunity. My father had six elementary years and my mother had eight years. 

Smith: Your father was a butcher, wasn’t he? 

Karikó: Yes, he was a butcher. I watched when he caught up the animals and I was told that I was curious, I want to see what is inside now. The animal is not running. What made it run? 

Smith: What about your mother? What did she do? 

Karikó: My mother, she had just studied elementary, but then when we were born, she attended night schools and she became a bookkeeper. She was always reading books. Then she was very computer wise, she was 80 years old. She got her own laptop finally because she wanted her own, she could look up everything on the internet. She could set up the VCR for example, to watch one channel and record on the other one. She was technically great. 

Smith: I don’t think I can do that. 

Smith: She was a great believer in you as you mentioned during our lovely conversation in October, on the day that you heard the news of your award, you mentioned that she believed you were going to get it every year. 

Karikó: Yes, she would. My mother told me, Kati, you know, next week is announcing, who gets to Nobel Prize? I will listen, you might get it, they might say your name. I told her, don’t worry.

Smith: Mothers are always right, right?

Karikó: Really 10 years ago I was kicked out from Penn after 24 years. No goodbye party, nothing, just get out. I walked to the parking lot and thinking what next? Because that’s what I emphasised to young people: these things happen to you. You don’t have to think too much about why things happened to you because this is other people’s decision and you have to focus on what I do next. You have to spend all of your focus energy on that, otherwise you are just bitter. 

Smith: So even on that day in 2013, you remember the lessons you learned when you were 16 and you were able to take the positive from it and think, okay.  

Karikó: I was 30 years old. I was terminated in Hungary in my position when I was 40 years old in -95, I was demoted from faculty position at Penn and I became senior research investigator. I kept working like nothing happened. Literally. I said, the bench is here I am in the United States of America, where else, if not here I could do what I want. So I still had the bench. 

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Brilliant: Katalin Karikó’s work is focused on mRNA. Can you explain to us in simple terms what mRNA is, Adam?  

Smith: I’ll give it a go. We are all taught that the DNA in our bodies contains the information that creates everything we are. mRNA is a single-stranded messenger molecule in that pathway of information flow. It transfers information from the DNA to the ribosome, which is the machine in cells that makes the proteins that make us. 

Brilliant: Why is this mRNA messenger molecule potentially useful as a therapeutic? 

Smith: Well, you can see that in all sorts of therapeutic applications, it might be good to tell the body to make a particular protein. You might want to do so for some particular disease, or in this case you might want to do so because making proteins is an essential part of the pathway to producing vaccines in many cases. 

Brilliant: How are proteins used for producing vaccines? 

Smith: A vaccine is trying to get the body to produce antibodies that it will then use to stop an infection by some agent. In this case of the Covid virus, what you want to do is to give a piece of the covid virus that isn’t dangerous to the body, get the immune system to recognise that piece, produce antibodies, and therefore be ready for a real attack by the covid virus later. You can produce those proteins in the body, those non harmful proteins in, in various different ways. One way is to give the body the mRNA that makes the protein, have the body produce that protein, have the immune system recognise it, and then have these antibodies ready for when the real virus attacks. The protein for Covid that has standardly been chosen as the one that gets the immune system going is the spike protein on the outside of the Covid virus. 

Brilliant: How did Karikó and Weissman’s work help with this process of developing the Covid vaccine? 

Smith: What they noticed was that mRNA that’s made outside the body in the lab evokes its own immune reaction if it’s given to somebody so that it doesn’t get to do its job because the body immediately recognises it as an invader, as foreign and eliminates it. They found a way round that they recognise that the problem was that the mRNAs that are being made in the lab aren’t chemically modified in the same way as those that are made naturally by cells. They worked out what kind of modification they needed to make in order to produce lab built mRNA that was acceptable to the body and could get on and do its job and produce proteins. 

Brilliant: That sounds like a really important discovery. I think they published this in a paper back in 2005, but it didn’t get much attention at the time. Why was that? 

Smith: No, I think they were quite struck by the thunderous silence they encountered. People did see its importance, but it didn’t fly in the way that they thought it might. I suppose the answer is that research findings take time to filter through. People are not particularly looking for that at the time. People are not recognising its importance, not seeing how to apply it. If you think of the 1953 paper in nature announcing Watson and Crick’s proposal for the structure of DNA, that’s always talked about as a truly groundbreaking moment. Indeed it was, but it also took time for the implications of that paper to be really widely felt. It wasn’t, for instance, until 1960 that Watson Creek were nominated for the Nobel Prize. That’s seven years later. You might have thought if the impact was so enormous, that might have happened sooner. I guess it’s just a case of things take time to filter through and be understood. The delay in the importance being recognised was certainly not ideal for Kati Karikó. 

Brilliant: Yes, it’s really interesting to see the similarities here. How did Katalin deal with delays like this and other setbacks in her career? 

Smith: Yeah, she certainly had a lot of setbacks, which seems deeply unfair. But she speaks very candidly and interestingly about the way she dealt with the rejection in setbacks she encountered at Penn. Let’s listen to her. 

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Karikó: I don’t blame even those people who evaluated, I don’t know who did because there are 10 names there, but I can imagine they had children, they have teams and they have to submit grants and write papers and they look at there and it was probably was not well written or something and they didn’t understand. That’s the other thing. I always, when I get back any rejection, I always thought that, when I was reading that, probably would say, oh, they are stupid. They didn’t understand. They just said, oh, they didn’t understand. Probably I didn’t write well so they couldn’t understand it. This is a practice, it’s not coming easy because people has easier to blame somebody and it is easier to say that, oh, they should, they should accept my paper, they should accept my grand, my husband should be that my children should do. People always want other people to do what they should do. For example my neighbour should be quiet. You cannot change that. You always have to say, okay, what I can do, I can move out in the neighbourhood.  

Smith: It’s such a powerful philosophy and I envy you the strength to keep applying it in every circumstance. But when it comes to your own research, you must have had really strong belief that you were right. Because if people are telling you, no, we’re not funding this, you might begin to listen to them and think, hang on, maybe they’re right. But that didn’t occur to you. You were sure that you were on the right track. 

Karikó: Every time when the response came back, I already could see something improvement. So, now I have a new cap and then with this one I get more protein and so I can further improve the process. Because the criticism was that the RNA that grade quickly, I was told that it could be a medicine if it has a shelf life of two years. Of course at that point we mix the transit and the RNA and two minutes we have to inject because otherwise it gets aggregates. It had to be somehow frozen and taken out a liquids so that two years later. That’s what I have to work on. People are making decision above my head but in the laboratory I was in full control and it’s like in the 21st century, I did most of this thing myself. There were no technician, I had no money to hire anybody. I was making all of the solution and culturing the bacteria, making the RNA, culturing the cells, putting, evaluating. When I was doing, I was always thinking, aha, if it’s not coming out what I expect, maybe this or this had to, it is good if you do these things. I was 58 years old, I did all of this still myself, all of these experiments. 

Smith: It’s a great gift not to be precious about sort of being in charge about being director and having people working for you and everything, but actually just accepting that it’s okay to do these things yourself. Because obviously it worked better in your case. 

Karikó: Yes. During the pandemic many group leaders realised they are just managers. They are managing, they have to bring in the money because they had to be pay all of those coworkers. The joy is really to do an experiment, expect something to happen and wonder what could that be? That’s the joy. 

Smith: I remember another great experimentalist, Nobel Prize laureate Oliver Smithies saying very proudly, I’ve never been a director.  

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Karikó: They ask me many times; tell me how you can be successful. I believe that is not the success. It is that you are happy. That’s number one thing. Whatever you are doing, you have to feel happiness. You have to have a physical and mental health. And for that one, I exercise every day today, yesterday, every day. Once I run the marathon, but you don’t have to go that far. Just like even in Germany, six kilometer every morning I went before I went to work. And for handling stress, you have to practice it and you have to enjoy. If you ask my husband, all of this frustration seems from outside, he never could see me come home and complaining about this and that. He always was convinced that I am having so much fun that he said, you are not going to work. I am going there to have fun. 

Smith: You seem to have got various of the secrets of life worked out here. Live as you want to live, don’t be pulled in directions you don’t want to go because of what’s going on around you. 

Karikó: The people I could see also, they are living up to an expectation of something. They think that that’s what they expected from them and then not their life. I met my husband, he’s five years younger and my mother, she said, that’s okay. Let’s say 17, you are 23, that’s fine. But when he’s 40, you are 45 years old. The woman is then an old woman. A 40-year-old man is a young one. So I told, okay, I will divorce when 45 and that’s it. There’s nobody who could influence me, to tell me that it is not right to do something. That’s what I tell the people because, then they don’t have regret. It was my decision. 

Smith: The move to Germany, to BioNTech, was forced upon you by the fact that you had to leave Penn. It was hard because you had to commute between the US and Germany. But it turned out to be a good thing. 

Karikó: Yes, I enjoyed it very much there. It seemed that the goal was to make a product which will help somebody otherwise we can go home and it’s over. It was more meaningful than more paperwork and more references. It was great that we all worked together. It was not a competition. I could see the people here in academia, they didn’t even start something and they were, oh, I will be the first out, door last. There we just have to do work together and everybody helped, and this doesn’t matter. I was there and I worked day and night really because my family was here and I was alone. I spent the whole weekend working. I remember Saturday, Friday, or midnight at morning and I was still reading because I read a lot during that time. I had a team finally, and they were all great scientists. 

Smith: That is quite a privilege to, despite the hardship of being away from home, be suddenly given time to yourself again, and be allowed to just use it as you wish. 

Karikó: Yes, it was great. I was assisting my team so that every morning I brought breakfast for the team and then I was the last one to leave. I was the first and I was the last, I was cheering for them. I tried to assist them with what they needed and always led them to come up with what we should do next. Because if you tell somebody this is what you should do. That is not the same as if they come to the conclusion themselves. Then they are much more enthusiastic to do it. My team, even today, nobody has left. My team is still there. 

Smith: Listening to you that’s not so surprising. You sound like an inspirational leader. 

Karikó: They should not respect somebody because they were put above them or something. When they said boss to me, I said no, I am a colleague. As a team, we work together and we discuss and internally we fight about how to do things. Externally, one thing I fought for getting everybody promoted to associate directors. I finally had to go to the union. They asked how it could be that my whole team should be promoted? But I thought that everybody’s independent, they could lead a team, but they wanted to stay in my team. 

Smith: It worked. 

Karikó: It was successful. Everybody was promoted. 

Smith: That’s a very good solution to the problem of staying put and not getting promoted. Just take everyone along with you. 

Karikó: Yes, they are doing great. I’m so proud of them. That was one prior to the pandemic, when we realised one day that changing a little thing has tremendously changed the translatability of the RNA. We get so much more protein and we have to figure out why, because we had a clinical product already, and then it was like, okay, so we can do this and this. Then when we discussed, I didn’t have to say that you should come Saturday or Sunday. Because this was very urgent, so everybody said that they will come. Everybody said so that we had just sorted out. 

Smith: What a joy to be part of an enterprise like that. Talking of the working relationships with your team, let’s think about how you worked with Drew Weissman, because you are quite opposite characters. You obviously hit it off enormously well. What was the secret of your successful relationship? 

Karikó: We were experts in a different field, so we were constantly educating each other. I learned immunology from Drew. I learned immunology in school, at the university but that was already out, the field was changing so quickly. I was not paying that much attention to immunology before that. I learned all of these things from him and I was helping him set up his lab. We never worked in the same lab actually, not even in the same building. We were in different departments, so we educated each other. When we had to perform the experiment, we decided that we would do that. He didn’t get the much money at the beginning, so he prepared the dendritic cells himself. Then I performed the experiment made RNA, and so then what the experiment meant, and then we would have different views on it. 

Karikó: I remember at the beginning when we discovered that modification. If the modification was not present in the RNA, we got so much interferon. He as a physician thought maybe the lupus patient has so much interferon because they might not modify their RNA, so he ran away and get some sample from lupus patient that we looked at the RNA. I isolated it and okay, not, but  I would not think that much about this patient. I had other things to think about, many technical problem we had to solve, like the purification. I remember New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day, I was there in the lab because I always thought about how to purify the long RNA. Nobody figured out how to, but that I get an idea. 

Karikó: I told my husband that I could park right in the door, nobody was there. You try many things and it does not work out that way. Eventually after two years, we did figure out how to purify it again. Drew and I discussed and he tried things and he came up with the HPSC, changing different columns, what we should do. He was very involved and sometimes I said ‘I give up on that’. He still did it and then I said ‘okay, maybe you are right’. So Drew in the laboratory when we looked at data and he was just like me, cut into my words and he was very talkative and what we should do. What did it mean? 

Smith: It sounds like two people really enjoying each other’s curiosity, which is exactly what science should be. You’ve received so many prizes now and a lot of public recognition. Do you think your role has changed because of all that? 

Karikó: I have to say that at the beginning when I had to give interviews, I didn’t know what to say. I was just like, sometimes I couldn’t say anything. Then I realised that that receiving prizes and these prizes is very divisive because there are so many people, I should break the prizes into pieces and give it out to the people. In the same time, the attention is on science and the scientists and it is celebration. It is important that science is celebrated and the people get more knowledge on what scientists are doing. Many people at the beginning ask me to share my story. I asked my daughter if I should tell my story, Hungarian and English, and finally she found an agency and that’s how my book was born. That kind of describing of how much fun is the scientist? I also, in these different occasion, I want to emphasise that when they said, oh, you struggle, I don’t want to describe the scientist life as a struggle, because then people run away. It was not struggle. It is fun. Getting grant and support and other things, yes, you have to work for it, but this is not like a pain or something. It is every time I learn so much, I love to write. I did not emphasise to colleagues actually at Penn because people not really like it. But I learned so much because I had to think about what will be the outcome, what it means. I had to read, read, read and learn. When I get different awards, I first try to emphasise that science is fun. To be a scientist is something you get paid for, enjoying your time there. Also encouraging the young ones that science is maybe what is good for them. That’s one thing, and I try to help and be a cheerleader for other scientists. Because many people can associate to my story because usually you are not getting promoted and immediately becoming successful. Because I went down, down, down, I expressed all of these things and I am an alien. I am a woman, a woman talking with an accent. More people could feel, and they were just happy that, okay give them hope that you just keep focusing and not complaining that much. 

Smith: Would it have been a fulfilled and happy existence if it hadn’t worked? If you just chased your curiosity, gone down and down and down and found another thing to do, but somehow at the end of it, you hadn’t seen it all come right? 

Karikó: I could see that RNA entering clinical trial because it happened already in prior to the pandemic. For me, it would be satisfactory how many times, when I was flying and I could look down and people, even cars disappear because everything is so tiny. I always thought, hundred years from now, nobody will remember we ever existed, you know? So this fight for recognition was never in me. I could see that, okay, people are using this Moderna. I was there, I was so happy. I was reading at the beginning that they discovered the modification. I said, okay, it’s not really they, but who cares? Something happened. They are using for clinical trial and something is happening. I was happy, honestly didn’t complain to anybody that, oh, they are using, no, it was good. It is good that they are using for and pushing it and who cares? 

Smith: I was here and something happened. 

Karikó: Yes, I was part of the process and when they will have cure or something, I said, oh, I did my part. For me it was enough that I would know and not the whole wide world. 

Smith: It is such a pleasure to speak to you and it is inspirational. You seem to be somebody who really knows yourself. You know what you are about. I think it’s quite rare to have such a clear vision of how to steer your way through life and remain on an even keel.

Karikó: Many times during award ceremonies I often say to the girls that they can be mothers and my daughter also turn out quite right…

Smith: It’s an understatement as an Olympic champion.

Karikó: Yes, so now the grandchildren, that’s the thing for them. Mommy got two Olympic gold medals. Grandma got a Nobel Prize. What should she do? 

Smith: Now that might be a worry actually.

Karikó: Yes, that’s what important, I told the potential parents of young scientists that don’t over assist your child, no tough love. You have to love, but you have to let them contribute to the family life. Just like when I was a child, with my sister, we did many chores, but it was like we didn’t feel that it was work. It was like we are part of the family and we were happy that we could do, and we were so proud that we could do things. My sister could cook. She was in elementary school and my parents had to work long hours. Of course I was the assistant because she’s three years older, so I just peeled a potato or made the fire because we had stove and she was cooking and so on. 

Karikó: My daughter was the same, she learned that she had to get up and dressed, you have to go to school and when a child could see me and my husband working diligently, that’s what they will remember. That’s what they want to follow. You can tell them to do your homework. You are watching tv. You are not doing enough, then they see that. Like my parents, I was so proud of them for what they said to me. Not everybody’s like that. These kind of straightforward, honest people were my parents and I thank them a lot. Not just for the genes I got. 

Smith: How nice. I think, yes. It’s just going back in conclusion to that amazing statement you make, that you thank everybody along the way. Those who contributed, those who helped, those who hindered, everybody made you what you are and made you made it all possible. 

Karikó: I think that, in the first, I don’t know, 10 years of your life, whatever influence you see your parents, how your siblings, your school, the teacher, that’s how you are shaped. Then when you are teenager in high school you are a rebel, but then eventually you will be that person. 

Smith: That’s a very nice point to stop on. I think that all of those with rebelling teenagers will hold onto that thought. It’s been an enormous pleasure speaking to you. Thank you very much indeed for giving your time. 

Karikó: Thank you. 

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Brilliant: You just heard Nobel Prize Conversations. If you’d like to learn more about Katalin Karikó, you can go to nobelprize.org where you’ll find a wealth of information about the prizes and the people behind the discoveries.

Nobel Prize Conversations is a podcast series with Adam Smith, a co-production of Filt and Nobel Prize Outreach. The producer for this episode was Karin Svensson. The editorial team also includes Andrew Hart, Olivia Lundqvist, and me, Claire Brilliant. Music by Epidemic sound. If you’d like to explore the journey of another Laureate saving lives through their research, listen to our earlier episode with chemistry laureate Carolyn Bertozzi. You can find previous seasons and conversations on Acast or wherever you listen to podcasts. Thanks for listening. 

Nobel Prize Conversations is produced in cooperation with Fundación Ramón Areces.

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MLA style: Katalin Karikó – Podcast. NobelPrize.org. Nobel Prize Outreach AB 2024. Tue. 25 Jun 2024. <https://www.nobelprize.org/prizes/medicine/2023/kariko/podcast/>

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Nobel Prizes and laureates

Eleven laureates were awarded a Nobel Prize in 2023, for achievements that have conferred the greatest benefit to humankind. Their work and discoveries range from effective mRNA vaccines and attosecond physics to fighting against the oppression of women.

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Explore prizes and laureates

Look for popular awards and laureates in different fields, and discover the history of the Nobel Prize.