The Unlikely Pioneer Behind mRNA Vaccines

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When she was at graduate school in the 1970s, Dr. Katalin Kariko learned about something that would become a career-defining obsession: mRNA.

Messenger RNA was a newly discovered molecule, a genetic script that carried DNA instructions to each cell’s protein-making machinery.

Dr. Kariko believed in the potential of mRNA, but for decades she ran up against institutional roadblocks. Then, the coronavirus hit and her obsession would help shield millions from a once-in-a-century pandemic.

Today, a conversation with Dr. Kariko about her journey.

On today’s episode

Gina Kolata, a reporter covering science and medicine for The New York Times.

Background reading

Collaborating with devoted colleagues, Dr. Kariko laid the groundwork for the mRNA vaccines turning the tide of the pandemic.

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Gina Kolata contributed reporting.

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