For Hub City Times
MARSHFIELD — A nationally-recognized scientist for her work with influenza, blastomycosis, and West Nile Virus, Marshfield Clinic Research Foundation’s (MCRF) Integrated Research and Development Laboratory Director Jennifer Meece was honored Tuesday, Oct. 11, with the 29th Gwen D. Sebold Fellowship for Outstanding Research.
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. He also has served on boards of many organizations and was an original member of Marshfield Clinic’s National Advisory Council.
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 has received 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 study 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 is 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.”