ESPN: Strokes of Genius: Abington Olympic Gold-Medalist Rower and Her mRNA- Expert Mom Race to the Top of Their Careers

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For Susan Francia, a two-time Olympic gold medalist in rowing and daughter of newly-famous Abington scientist Dr. Katalin Kariko, hard work was always a part of life, she wrote for ESPN.

She was taught by her mother that if she embraced hard work, it would bring her rewards in life. This philosophy turned true for both women.

Kariko’s tireless mRNA research provided the foundation for the development of the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine. And while she is finally being recognized for her work, getting to this point was not easy.

Kariko never received a tenured position in academia and often had to work without pay due to a lack of grant funding.

Today, she serves as a senior vice president with BioNTech and is now receiving more autograph and interview requests than her Olympian daughter.

“That perseverance is pretty much my family’s life in a nutshell – defying the odds, trying to keep forging ahead, even when all sorts of challenges are being thrown your way,” wrote Francia. “I know what that’s like in sports, and my mom has lived that in science.”

Read more about the mother and daughter at ESPN.

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