Univ. Amsterdam to give honorary doctorates to Covid-19 vaccine creators
Two immunologists, whose work led to the first approved vaccine against Covid-19, will be awarded honorary doctorates from the University of Amsterdam. Dr. Uğur Şahin and Dr. Ozlem Türeci, the married founders of German pharmaceutical firm BioNTech, are being recognized for their innovations in mRNA vaccines and immunology.
Türeci is the leader of Project Lightspeed at BioNTech, which had a goal of successfully producing and distributing a Covid-19 vaccine. That led to the breakthrough mRNA vaccine she developed with Şahin. His research in the field was fundamental to the vaccine’s creation.
The unprecedented development and implementation of the vaccine has had a major impact on the containment of the coronavirus, the university said. The contributions of Şahin and Türeci have had a positive effect reaching far beyond their fields. "These honorary doctorates could potentially give an enormous boost to the existing collaboration on the development of a vaccine against HIV and cancer," says honorary doctorate supervisor Theo Geijtenbeek.
Apart from their work with BioNTech, Şahin is also a professor in Translational Oncology & Immunology and the chair of the scientific board of the Helmholtz Institute for Translational Oncology. Türeci is president of the Association for Cancer Immunotherapy and a Helmholtz Institute professor for personalized immunotherapy.
The two will receive their honorary doctorates during the 390th anniversary celebration of the university on January 10.