Edwin D. Kilbourne, M.D. (1920-2011)
A leading authority on influenza, Edwin D. Kilbourne, M.D., was a member of the College faculty from 1992 until his retirement in 2002. He established the College laboratory that supplied the recombinant strains used in preparing the annual influenza vaccine used worldwide, and it continues today.
Dr. Kilbourne made many contributions to the understanding of influenza, the virus and the disease as well as immunity to influenza and protection by vaccines. In 1969, he first proposed the use of a donor influenza virus which was highly adapted to growth in eggs to provide the genetic information for growth to newly isolated human influenza viruses as vaccine candidates.
Over the next 35 years, another 20 high yield reassortant viruses were prepared by the Kilbourne/New York Medical College laboratories and used in the annual flu vaccines. High yield reassortant influenza viruses for use in the flu vaccine have more than withstood the test of time and have contributed greatly to the health of the world populace.
Dr. Kilbourne donated a catalog of nearly 200 influenza virus reassortants and mutants to the National Institutes of Health to enable scientists free access to the library of viral artifacts, named the Kilbourne/New York Medical College Archive.
Edwin D. Kilbourne, M.D., professor emeritus of microbiology and immunology, died February 21, 2011, at the age of 90.