From the Nominator
"This feature tells the story of how BU alum Drew Weissman and his research partner Katalin Karikó developed the revolutionary mRNA technology that powers the most effective COVID-19 vaccines. The story starts with a chance meeting at the office photocopy machine and follows Weissman as they toil in obscurity for more than two decades before pioneering the technology. By 2021, the two were hailed for their work, winning the kind of breakthrough prizes that have been awarded to future Nobel Prize recipients.
Writer Ting Yu traces Weissman’s path while also deftly explaining the science behind mRNA technology, why it’s proven to be more effective and safer than traditional vaccines, and what it means for the future. Bostonia’s audience--alumni who studied in BU’s 17 schools and colleges--are keenly interested in reading about other alums and their professions. They also want to read about research, particularly as it relates to COVID. But they’re a general audience, so we presented some of the scientific information in an easy-to-understand graphic.
The article had a big impact, with 23,700 unique visits online and 22 comments. This article was in the top 10 of articles for 2021 for Bostonia (#7), and is one of the most popular Bostonia stories of all time."
From the Judges
Everyone liked this one. We appreciated how understandable the science writing was (never an easy task!) while also humanizing the scientists in a way that pulled you into the story and made them seem relatable.