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ESF Chemistry at 100

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Gateway Center College of Environmental Science and Forestry

Centennial Lecture

“From the Stepwise Synthesis of Oligosaccharides to Prevnar: The Story Behind the Life-Saving Pneumonia Vaccine”

ronald eby

Dr. Ronald Eby

B.S. ’69, M.S. ’72 and Ph.D. ’74

Millions of children across the world have had an opportunity to grow up healthy because of the contributions of Dr. Ronald Eby.

Dr. Eby devoted his career to developing vaccines that targeted illnesses in children. He was part of a team at Praxis Biologics (which later became Wyeth) in Rochester, N.Y., that developed the vaccine for Haemophilus influenza. It became the HIB-titer vaccine, required for all children before they enrolled in elementary school. The vaccine eradicated the disease and saved the health industry millions of dollars in medical costs.

Praxis then targed Streptococcus pneumonia, an illness of the young and geriatric populations. Marketed under the name Prevnar, the resulting vaccine became the most efficacious vaccine ever developed. According to the World Health Organization, more than a million children under the age of 5 died from the disease that Prevnar has all but eliminated.

This groundbreaking research by Dr. Eby and his colleagues earned them the Heroes of Chemistry award from the American Chemical Society in 2003, and the National Medal of Technology and Innovation, and the Discoverers Award from the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, both in 2005. The ESF Graduate of Distinction — Lifetime Achievement award was bestowed upon him in 2007.

Dr. Eby earned his bachelor’s degree from the College of Environmental Science and Forestry in 1969. He earned his master’s degree in 1972 and his doctorate in 1974, also from ESF. The students, faculty and staff of ESF are honored to have Dr. Eby join us as we celebrate the centennial of the ESF Department of Chemistry.

Plese join us as we celebrate a century of EsF Chemistry