From challenge comes change, so let's all choose to challenge.

We’re all about strong women here at Embridge, with the CEO Emma O’Brien leading from the helm and striding out into a sea that is still heavily male dominated when it comes to the ERP community. She might have had to bang her drum louder than her male counterparts to get where she has today, but she is a shining example of this years IWD theme – never be afraid to challenge, because ultimately it was the only way to bring about change.

International Womens Day 2021 Theme:

A challenged world is an alert world. Individually, we’re all responsible for our own thoughts and actions – all day, every day.
We can all choose to challenge and call out gender bias and inequality. We can all choose to seek out and celebrate women’s achievements. Collectively, we can all help create an inclusive world.
From challenge comes change, so let’s all choose to challenge.

Wow! That’s a heavy base beat line when it comes to driving home the message for taking individual accountability – period! Challenging the status quo and celebrating achievements is a positive outlook and something we should all try to inject into our lives a little more than we did yesterday.

It took something super MASSIVE, a global pandemic, to topple the scales of humanity into uncertainty and yet within 12 short months, one incredible woman came to the rescue with her ground breaking research, a research many dismissed, developing a vaccine that will literally save the masses and set our planet back onto its rickety axis of normality.

Today we want to celebrate an extraordinary woman that faced a lifetime of challenges and ultimately brought about change. A monumental & lifesaving change…..

Lest we forget…

Katalin Kariko

In Marvel terms, basically she is a super hero and needs a cape – immediately!

Let me explain why:

The development of the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine was the first approved jab in the West, and is the crowning achievement of decades of work for Hungarian biochemist Katalin Kariko, who fled to the US from communist rule in the 1980s.

Born January 1955 into a Christian family in the town of Szolnok in central Hungary – a year before communism rule– Kariko grew up on the Great Hungarian Plain, where her father was a butcher. Fascinated by science from a young age, Kariko began her career at the age of 23 at the University of Szeged’s Biological Research Centre, where she obtained her PhD.

It was there that she first developed her interest in genetic code RNA (ribonucleic acid), but with a woefully under funded and under resourced lab she lost her job and was forced to look for work abroad in 1985. Kariko secured a job at Temple University in Philadelphia USA the same year and stuffed her savings into her 2 year old daughters teddy bear before fleeing the country to start a new life.

The scientific community at this time was focused on revolutionary DNA research, which was seen as the key to understanding how to develop treatments for diseases such as cancer. But Kariko’s main interest was RNA, the genetic code that gives cells instructions on how to make proteins.

Here comes the science bit, you might need to concentrate…

Research into RNA during the 1990s attracted much criticism when studies discovered that the body’s immune system recognises RNA as an intruder, meaning that it often provokes strong inflammatory reactions. Although Kariko was on the brink of being made a professor at the University of Pennsylvania, with RNA research being out of favour, instead she was denied this opportunity and consigned to the rank of researcher in 1995. A disappointing blow.

Kariko suffered a cancer health scare and her husband was still trapped in Hungary due to visa issues, as she raised her daughter alone, but despite the obstacles faced, Kariko was more determined than ever to push forward with her RNA research, knowing she had the resources and tenacity to make discoveries if she could improve upon her experiments.

An unexpected meeting at the photocopier in 1997 turbocharged Kariko’s career when she met immunologist Drew Weissman, who was working on an HIV vaccine. They decided to collaborate to develop a solution which allows synthetic RNA to go unrecognised by the body’s immune system – an endeavour that triumphed to widespread acclaim in 2005. The duo continued their research together and succeeded in placing RNA in lipid nanoparticles, a coating that prevents them from degrading too quickly and facilitates their entry into cells.

Both Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna jabs have used these revolutionary techniques to develop their Covid19 vaccines. The same strategy of introducing genetic instructions into the body to trigger the production of a protein identical to that of the coronavirus is also used, thereby eliciting the desired immune response.

And that my friends, in a science nutshell, is our ticket to freedom! All hail Katalin Kariko!
What a woman!

Embridge Consulting would like to dedicate International Womens Day 2021 to Katalin Kariko, for just being totally and utterly awesome and for goodness sake…….will someone PLEASE get this lady a cape!

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