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Congratulating Penn on Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine

October 2, 2023

Dear Members of the Drexel Community,

On behalf of our Drexel community, I congratulate University of Pennsylvania scientists Katalin Karikó and Drew Weissman, who received an Honorary Doctorate from Drexel in 2021, on the much-deserved honor of being awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for their pioneering research on novel messenger RNA technology, which led to the development and administration of mRNA-based COVID-19 vaccines in less than a year after the outbreak of the pandemic.

I also congratulate Penn President Liz Magill, Larry Jameson, Dean of the Raymond and Ruth Perelman School of Medicine, and Kevin Mahoney, CEO of the Penn Health System, whose leadership and support will continue to encourage innovation in biomedical research.

This year's Nobel Prize recognizes the teamwork and courage of two exceptionally determined scientists who persevered against broad skepticism to convert biology into a technology that ultimately would save millions of lives and prevent millions more hospitalizations throughout the world. This recognition of Drs. Karikó and Weissman, and the story behind their achievement, serve as powerful reminders of the indispensable role that university-based research plays in driving innovation, advancing science, strengthening the economy, enhancing well-being, and saving lives. Importantly, and in the past three years, Dr. Weissman has established strong and productive collaboration with Drexel-based researchers in order to address key areas of their research and to expand our understanding of the mRNA- based vaccine.

The attention and prestige that this Nobel Prize brings to Penn also underscores the importance of Drexel's broader collaborations with Penn, Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, Spark Therapeutics, the Wistar Institute, and other partners to drive innovation in cell and gene therapy. Together, we are extending the frontiers of knowledge, preparing the next generation of scientists and researchers, and developing treatments and cures that will benefit humanity.

Once again, I congratulate Drs. Karikó and Dr. Weissman. The Nobel Prize is a well-deserved honor for them, and their work is a triumph for humanity: By changing the paradigm of vaccines to a new mode of treating and preventing diseases, Drs. Karikó and Dr. Weissman have revolutionized medicine and all scientific research.


John Fry