The Baldwinsville Messenger recently interviewed Dr. Dace Viceps Madore, a Baker High School alum who will receive the National Medal of Technology to be presented on July 27 at The White House. Dr. Madore is part of a four-person team from Wyeth Pharmaceuticals that will receive the medals. They are being recognized for their work in the discovery, development and manufacture of Prevnar, the first-ever vaccine to prevent the deadly and disabling consequences of Streptococcus pneumoniae infections in children.
You attended Baldwinsville schools from kindergarten through 12th grade. How did the school system influence your path to success? How did the community of Baldwinsville influence you as a person?
The Baldwinsville community was very supportive of our family, as we immigrated to the US in 1950 after my parent's homeland (Latvia) fell under communism.
My parents emphasized the importance of a good education as a foundation for whatever path in life I chose. My interest in science solidified while taking ninth grade biology, where I was introduced to laboratory work. My teachers and guidance counselors supported my interest in science; with their recommendations, I was selected by the National Science Foundation to participate in a summer bacteriology course at Cornell University. They also recommended that I apply to the University of Rochester because it had a strong focus on the sciences, and I matriculated there in 1965.
Graduating with a Bachelor's degree in biology, I continued my education earning Master's and Ph.D. degrees from Temple University in Philadelphia. Looking back, these were important formative steps in the development of my scientific career.
You and the Wyeth Pharmaceuticals Team are being recognized for your work in the discovery, development and manufacture of Prevnar. What is Prevnar and what is its use? When was the vaccine ready for distribution?
Prevnar is a vaccine that protects children against infection and diseases caused by seven strains of the bacterium, Streptococcus pneumoniae. Since its approval by FDA in 2000, this vaccine is administered to children under the age of 2 years, as part of their routine immunization schedule.