Oct. 10, 2016
A nationally-recognized Marshfield Clinic scientist for her work with influenza, blastomycosis and West Nile Virus was awarded the 29th Gwen D. Sebold Fellowship for Outstanding Research.
Marshfield Clinic Research Institute's (MCRI) Integrated Research and Development Laboratory Director Jennifer Meece, Ph.D., was honored Tuesday, Oct. 11, in a program at Froehlke Auditorium, Melvin R. Laird Center, Marshfield Clinic, Marshfield.
The fellowship has been given by D. David "Dewey" Sebold of Medford annually since 1988 to recognize an outstanding medical researcher and support continued research in his or her field. Sebold is a former president and CEO of Tombstone Pizza, a company he helped guide to become the No. 1 brand of frozen pizza in America. He also has served on boards of many organizations and was an original member of Marshfield Clinic's National Advisory Council.
Meece's colleagues credit her expertise in flu, blastomycosis and West Nile diseases and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), as well as bringing new technology to MCRI, allowing it to be a national leader in disease research.
Recipients receive $5,000 and a memorial plaque presented by Sebold in memory of his sister, Gwen. Gwen grew up in Dorchester and joined Marshfield Clinic as a medical stenographer in 1955. She died of cancer in July 1974.
What impresses Sebold most about the annual fellowship award is the letters, emails, notes and words of thanks he's received over time from researchers who say how important the recognition is to them and their research.
"Not only are you recognized as an outstanding researcher, but by everyone here as an outstanding researcher, manager, organizer and leader and an outstanding person," Sebold said.
Memories of people Meece met during her two decades of research reinforce why research is so important for her. She recalled taking a photo 20 years ago of a young man in Kenya with his newborn son. She still has a copy of the photo and wonders if either are still alive as HIV, malaria, schistosomiasis and other infectious diseases, along with rampant poverty and little access to medical care in that area, make survival difficult at best.
"That photo reminds me that as a scientist I have pledged to make a difference," Meece said. "The ability to contribute to preventing disease lives here in Marshfield through the collective research of our teams. We reach across the oceans through our research in vaccine-preventable diseases."
Marshfield Clinic provides patient care, research and education with more than 50 locations in northern, central and western Wisconsin, making it one of the largest comprehensive medical systems in the United States.