Moderna Founder Derrick Rossi Wins Princess of Asturia Award

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NYSCF – Robertson Stem Cell Investigator Alumnus, Board member, and Moderna founder Derrick Rossi, PhD, will receive the prestigious Princess of Asturia Award, a recognition given by the Crown of Spain to reward scientific, technical, cultural, social and humanitarian work carried out at an international level. Dr. Rossi receives the award in the category of Technical and Scientific Research in recognition of his work pioneering the mRNA technology that fuels many COVID-19 vaccines. Previous Laureates in the history of the Awards include Nelson Mandela, Jennifer Doudna & Emmanuelle Charpentier, Stephen Hawking, Annie Leibovitz, Mary Beard, Martin Scorsese, and David Attenborough.

“It’s a great honor and what makes it a really great honor for me is that I’ve looked at past recipients of this award and it’s very, very distinguished company to be amongst,” Dr. Rossi told the Canadian Press.  “It’s humbling and exciting.”

Dr. Rossi wins the Award alongside Katalin Karikó, Drew Weissman, Philip Felgner, Uğur Şahin, Özlem Türeci, and Sarah Gilbert, fellow researchers who contributed to the development of COVID-19 vaccines.

Dr. Rossi has always believed that mRNA technology held the potential to revolutionize disease prevention and treatment.

“Of course you want to see your work make an impact,” he remarked. “It’s satisfying, but did I imagine that it would happen in a global pandemic and Moderna would become a household name? No, I didn’t imagine that, but I always believed mRNA was going to make an impact.”

The Awards panel said the seven Laureates are “leading figures in one of the most outstanding feats in the history of science.”

“With their long careers in pure research, they led the way to innovative applications such as obtaining, in an extraordinarily short space of time, effective vaccines to fight against the COVID-19 pandemic,” the citation said.

“Their work constitutes a prime example of the importance of pure research for the protection of public health the world over.”

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