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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service


Location: Food Safety and Intervention Technologies Research

Title: In memoriam Dean Otis Cliver 1935-2011)

item Richards, Gary

Submitted to: Food and Environmental Virology
Publication Type: Other
Publication Acceptance Date: 7/2/2011
Publication Date: 7/29/2011
Citation: Richards, G.P. 2011. In memoriam Dean Otis Cliver 1935-2011. Food and Environmental Virology. 3(3):99-108. DOI: 10.1007/s12560-011-9064-7.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Dr. Dean O. Cliver, internationally recognized food and environmental virologist, died on May 16, 2011 at his home in Davis, California, after an intense but gallant battle with cancer. He is survived by his wife of 50 years, Carolyn Elaine Cliver, children and grandchildren. Dean was born March 2, 1935 and raised in Berwyn, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago. Summertime exposure to dairy farms in Wisconsin led him to obtain a BS in 1956 and a MS in 1957 in Dairy Husbandry from Purdue University. In 1958, Dean entered the doctoral program in Dairy Science at Ohio State University, where he began his research career with enteric viruses in the School of Veterinary Medicine. His pioneering efforts to propagate viruses led to the development of tissue and cell culture systems as well as early plaque assay procedures. He received his PhD in 1960 and remained at Ohio State to further pursue his research. In 1961, Dean joined the U.S. Army Biological Laboratories at Fort Detrick, Maryland, where he learned how to handle highly pathogenic agents. His research focused on Semliki Forest virus grown in chicken embryo fibroblasts. In 1962 he became a Research Associate and instructor at the Food Research Institute (FRI) at the University of Chicago, where he continued his research on the development of primary and secondary cell cultures and the propagation of viruses including poliovirus and reovirus type 3. He also studied irradiation as a potential intervention against viruses in food and water. In 1966, Dean was offered a position at the University of Wisconsin at Madison, where he remained until 1995, moving up the ranks from Research Associate, to Assistant and Associate Professor, to Professor in 1976, and Professor Emeritus in 1995. During Dean’s tenure at the University, he continued working on the development of cell culture systems. He developed fluorescent microscopic techniques to identify reovirus type 3 in infected cells and built a solid foundation for the extraction and concentration of many types of viruses. His work covered a gamut of novel projects including the use of ultracentrifugation and dialysis with polyethylene glycol to concentrate viruses. He developed methods to filter out and elute viruses from filters of various compositions, which led to the virus adsorption-elution method, later popularized as the viradel method. He conducted research to look at irradiation as a method to inactivate viruses in shellfish and discovered the use of Cat-Floc, a polyelectrolyte sewage flocculent, as a useful reagent to extract viruses from wastewater and shellfish tissues. He also identified Freon TF as an excellent reagent to eliminate lipids from virus-containing food extracts. Some of Dean’s research on virus extraction from foods was funded by the U.S. Air Force School of Aerospace Medicine and later by NASA for application in the U.S. space program. Studies were designed to determine the possible presence of a host of viruses in potential foods for astronauts and in their drinking water. He evaluated NASA’s electrolytic silver-ion generator for water decontamination and determined that influenza type A and several enteroviruses were more resistant to the silver ions than other viruses. Environmental studies evolved to include research on wastewater treatment and the transport of contaminants through the soil, the accumulation and persistence of viruses in sewage sludge, the ability of ultraviolet light to inactivate viruses in treated effluent, mechanisms of degradation of viruses through enzymatic or biological processes, and the effectiveness of chlorine dioxide as a disinfectant. Dean acquired basic information on the effects of pH, temperature, and salts on the stability of enteroviruses. In 1995, Dean retired from the University of Wisconsin, Madison, but maintained Professor Emeritus s

Last Modified: 8/24/2016
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