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Biographical Memoirs: Volume 65
March 12, 1900-December 21, 1979
BY FRED RAPP
THE LIFE OF GILBERT DALLDORF spanned the beginnings of modern virology as a descriptive science through the beginnings of studies undertaking the molecular biologic properties of those microbial agents. This included the era of rapid discovery of many viruses as the causative agents of human disease and effective vaccines to prevent the worst of them.
Born and raised in the midwest, Gilbert Dalldorf went east for his medical training and spent most of his professional career in the state of New York. A likeable man, he had high standards and instilled them into his colleagues. The creativity of his mind was perhaps best exemplified by his famous discovery of the Coxsackie viruses for which he used newborn mice as the vehicle for their isolation. In carrying out these experiments, he discovered viruses that often mimic mild or nonparalytic poliomyelitis. His knowledge of pathology and virology enabled him to separate the Coxsackie viruses into types A and B and to carry out the definitive work on the pathology caused by those viruses in experimental systems. That discovery and other research yielded evidence that many viruses interfere with each other in replication. The substance induced by these viruses, now known as interferon, has become prominent in experimen-