Mohammed Bin Rashid University of Medicine and Health Sciences hosted the three scientists who won the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Knowledge Award (MBRKA) 2022, namely, Dr. Zhang Yongzhen, Dr. Katalin Kariko, and Dr. Drew Weissman, to honor their invaluable contributions in the field of knowledge and science.
The primary objective of hosting these scientists is to share their success stories and draw from their experiences to boost research and academia in the UAE. The MBRKA 2022 recognized these winners for their remarkable global contributions towards the production and dissemination of knowledge. The MBRKA ceremony was held in December 2022 in conjunction with the Youth Knowledge Forum, which was organized by the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Knowledge Foundation (MBRF) in collaboration with the United Nations Development Program (UNDP).
The scientists shared their experiences as well as research methodologies and approaches with students, faculty, and staff of the MBRU via three presentations. This was held in the presence of several international researchers and faculty members, in addition to the academic, scientific, and medical communities. The winners also visited the Mohammed bin Rashid Medical Research Institute at the Al Jalila Foundation.
His Excellency Jamal bin Huwaireb, CEO of the MBRF, highlighted the significance of encouraging creators and innovators, who play an instrumental role in knowledge development worldwide. The UAE, particularly Dubai, has made significant strides towards achieving a knowledge-based society. This holistic approach aligns with the vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.
Bin Huwaireb said, “By hosting the three leading scientists, we believe that we will be able to create channels for sharing information and expertise in the field of science and research, thereby promoting knowledge and innovation in the region. Since its inception in 2014, the MBRKA has been committed to positioning itself as a leading global platform that highlights the major contributions of various organizations and individuals across the world in the fields of innovation, knowledge, and research. It continues to bring the innumerable achievements of organizations and individuals to light, all of which promote knowledge and have a profound impact on society. The MBRKA is currently one of the most significant venues for honoring outstanding achievements made anywhere on the globe. It aims to motivate a new generation of trailblazers to continue tackling today’s problems and influencing the future.”
Professor Stefan Du Plessis, Dean of Research and Graduate Studies at the MBRU, said: “Our university is dedicated to acknowledging leaders in knowledge-related fields, promoting innovation, and advancing the global dissemination of knowledge. This commitment is why we are hosting the recipients of the MBRKA prize. This event presents a unique opportunity for engaging in meaningful conversations and sharing knowledge. Having these accomplished individuals on our campus will undoubtedly inspire our students and faculty as they pursue excellence in healthcare education and providing care to patients.”
The three scientists were honored with the MBRKA prize in recognition of their significant role in developing mRNA vaccines and sharing information on SARS-COV-2 (COVID-19) as well as their outstanding efforts and contributions to the dissemination of knowledge globally. Dr. Zhang, a PhD holder from the Chinese Academy of Sciences, examined the variety, evolution, ecology, and transmission of viruses, which allowed for rapid research to be carried out in several locations and in a very short amount of time, resulting in the development of many vaccines. Dr. Katalin Kariko, a biochemist and researcher, invented the modified mRNA technology utilized in Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna’s vaccines to prevent COVID-19 infection. She discovered a method to modify the mRNA and later created a delivery technique to place the mRNA in lipid nanoparticles. This allowed mRNA to reach the proper part of the body and trigger an immune response to combat illness. Dr. Drew Weissman led the development of the modified mRNA technology used in vaccines to prevent COVID-19 infection. He holds an MD-PhD and runs a laboratory that specializes in the biology of the innate immune system and the study of RNA.
The MBRKA is a leading platform for recognizing achievements in knowledge, science, and research. It encourages research, development, and innovation while honoring world-class knowledge-related accomplishments. It encompasses various categories, such as science, learning, technology, innovation, knowledge, and the arts.