I will not die an unlived life.
I will not live in fear
Of falling or catching fire.
I choose to inhabit my days,
To allow my living to open me,
To make me less afraid,
To loosen my heart,
Until it becomes a wing,
A torch, a promise.
I choose to risk my significance,
To live so that which came to me as seed,
Goes to the next as blossom,
And that which came to me as blossom,
Goes on as fruit.
Markova, Dawna. 2000
“I Will Not Die an Unlived Life: Reclaiming Purpose and Passion”
"People who end up as "First" don't actually set out to be First.
They set out to do something they love."
"If you don't like the road you are walking, start paving another one."
Be strong, be fearless, be beautiful.
And believe that anything is possible
when you have the right people there to support you.
If you are always trying to be normal,
you will never know how amazing you can be.
Try to be a rainbow in someone else's cloud.
Before messenger RNA was a multibillion-dollar idea, it was a scientific backwater. And for the Hungarian-born scientist behind a key mRNA discovery, it was a career dead-end.
Katalin Karikó spent the 1990s collecting rejections. Her work, attempting to harness the power of mRNA to fight disease, was too far-fetched for government grants, corporate funding, and even support from her own colleagues.
It all made sense on paper. In the natural world, the body relies on millions of tiny proteins to keep itself alive and healthy, and it uses mRNA to tell cells which proteins to make. If you could design your own mRNA, you could, in theory, hijack that process and create any protein you might desire — antibodies to vaccinate against infection, enzymes to reverse a rare disease, or growth agents to mend damaged heart tissue.
In 1990, researchers at the University of Wisconsin managed to make it work in mice. Karikó wanted to go further.
The problem, she knew, was that synthetic RNA was notoriously vulnerable to the body’s natural defenses, meaning it would likely be destroyed before reaching its target cells.
It was a real obstacle, but Karikó was convinced that it was one she could work around. Few shared her confidence.
“Every night I was working: grant, grant, grant,” Karikó remembered, referring to her efforts to obtain funding. “And it came back always no, no, no.”
By 1995, after six years on the faculty at the University of Pennsylvania, Karikó got demoted. She had been on the path to full professorship, but with no money coming in to support her work on mRNA, her bosses saw no point in pressing on.
She was back to the lower rungs of the scientific academy.
“Usually, at that point, people just say goodbye and leave because it’s so horrible,” Karikó said.
“I thought of going somewhere else, or doing something else,” Karikó said. “I also thought maybe I’m not good enough, not smart enough. I tried to imagine: Everything is here, and I just have to do better experiments.”
She was good enough and smart enough. The rest his history.