Dr. Edwin Dennis Kilbourne, who passed away in 2011, was an internationally recognized research scientist who made significant contributions to the study and prevention of influenza and other human virus diseases. He developed the first genetically engineered vaccine of any kind more than 30 years ago and this method has become standard in the revision of influenza vaccines that is necessary almost every year. Dr Kilbourne was a member of The National Academy of Sciences, The Association of American Physicians and The American Philosophical Society. After completion of service in the Army of the United States Medical Corps at the end of World War II, he trained in virus research at The Rockefeller Institute, Subsequently, he taught successively on the faculties of four medical schools: Tulane, Cornell, Mount Sinai (as Chairman of the Department of Microbiology and Distinguished Service Professor), and New York Medical College. (as Research, then Emeritus, Professor). Kilbourne served on advisory committees to the National Institutes of Health, the Centers for Disease Control and the Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research of the FDA. In the late 1970’s he developed and chaired a series of published workshops on influenza for the NIH. He also worked with the pharmaceutical industry in the development and trials of a new, experimental influenza vaccine.
Kilbourne also had a life-long interest in non-scientific writing and published humorous verses and essays in magazines for the general public. These were inspired by whimsical news items gleaned from the press – most of them dealing with the often bizarre mating habits of sub-human species. They all meet together in Strategies of Sex. He lived in Madison, Connecticut on the shores of Long Island Sound where he pursued bluefish and striped bass in the summer. With variable success, he also pursued tennis balls on the court several times a week. Kilbourne’s inspiration and advisor for 59 years was his wife, Joy, a native of New Orleans. There are four Kilbourne sons and eight grandchildren.