Katalin Karikó and Drew Weissman contributed to an unprecedented rate of vaccine development. The discoveries by the they were critical for developing effective mRNA vaccines against COVID-19 during the pandemic that began in early 2020. Through their groundbreaking findings, which have fundamentally changed our understanding of how mRNA interacts with our immune system, the laureates contributed to the unprecedented rate of vaccine development during one of the greatest threats to human health in modern times.
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Nihal Karakaş received her bachelor’s degree in Science Education at İstanbul University in 2006 . Then, she studied on neural induction of mesenchymal stem cells and hold MSc. degree in Molecular Biology in 2009. During her graduate education, she joined “Adult Cell Therapy Group” and experienced cellular therapy approaches (especially worked on hematopoietic stem cells) at Center for Regenerative Medicine, Edinburgh University. She then started a Ph.D. program in Neuroscience at Health Sciences Institute at Istanbul University in 2009. After completing her courses, she joined Molecular Neurotherapy and Imaging Laboratory (MNIL) at Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School and worked on stem cell therapeutics for the tratment of glioblastoma brain tumor (2011-2014). Dr. Karakas’s current interests mainly focus on the discovery of new diagnostic and therapeutic markers; therefore the development of targeted therapy approaches for especially malignant brain tumors. She leads goal oriented projects with international collaborations and holds several fundings. Recently, she works as an Assistant Professor at Istanbul Medipol University, School of Medicine and Principle Investigator at Regenerative and Restorative Medicine Research Center (REMER) since 2016.
She holds a B.Sc degree in Molecular Biology and Genetics from Çanakkale 18 Mart University. During undergraduate studies she participated three years in lab worked on human microbiota- glycobiology and gained basic lab skills. She also, took part in 3 months at University of Lodz, Faculty of Biology and Environmental Protection, Cancer research laboratory as a summer ERASMUS internship and studied “Apoptotic and cytotoxic effect of Resveratrol on human breast cancer”,.