Commencement 2023

Drew Weissman ’81, GSAS MA’81, P’15

Carol Fierke, Drew Weissman, and Lizbeth Hedstrom wait as Weissman is conferred an honorary degree

From left: Carol Fierke, Drew Weissman, Lizbeth Hedstrom

Doctor of Science

Drew Weissman ’81, GSAS MA’81, P’15, is a prominent physician-scientist who, together with fellow honorary degree recipient Katalin Karikó, conducted research on the modification of nucleic acids for RNA therapeutics and vaccines, which ultimately led to the development of the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines for COVID-19.

He is the Roberts Family Professor in Vaccine Research, the director of the Penn Institute for RNA Innovation, and the director of Vaccine Research in the Infectious Diseases Division at the University of Pennsylvania, and he continues to work on finding vaccines and therapies for conditions from the flu to HIV to cancer. Named one of Time magazine's Heroes of the Year in 2021, he was recently elected into the National Academy of Medicine and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Weissman is a proud alumnus of Brandeis, receiving both a BA and MA in biochemistry and enzymology in 1981. Later, he went on to receive an MD and PhD from Boston University. He has been honored previously by Brandeis as well, receiving the Lewis S. Rosenstiel Award for Distinguished Work in Basic Medical Research in 2020, and the Alumni Achievement Award in 2021.