Dr Geoffrey Schild died in Bergen, Norway, on 3 August 2017, at the age of 81.
Geoffrey was a good friend of IABS who served on the Board of Directors for many years. He had numerous friends and colleagues throughout the world who will miss him, his engaging personality, and his straightforward attitude in dealing with issues.
He graduated from Reading University (UK) in 1958, and went on to pursue his interest in microbiology at Sheffield University where he did a PhD on the common cold. That led him to work on influenza with colleagues at the university until 1967 when he moved to the National Institute for Medical Research (NIMR) at Mill Hill in London. Even in those early years of his career, he had established links with WHO which grew stronger as the years progressed. Geoffrey directed the first of what would become WHO’s network of influenza centres which play a critical role in identifying new viral strains from around the world that are critical for vaccine production.
Geoffrey was recruited to join the National Institute for Biological Standards and Control (NIBSC) in the late 1970s, and he brought with him a strong scientific background that set the stage for a long-term strengthening of the Institute’s role in the regulation of biological products based on sound science and credible data to support safety and efficacy. In addition to his work on influenza, Geoffrey was keen on polio vaccine issues, and he led a group at NIBSC focused on the molecular basis of viral attenuation - the most critical characteristic of live oral polio vaccine. He became the director of NIBSC in 1985, a post he held until his retirement in 2002. During those 17 years, NIBSC continued to thrive under his leadership both in terms of the breadth of the scientific programs and the quality of the staff.
Geoffrey was an enthusiastic activist who enjoyed challenging and being challenged. At the same time, he forged many strong friendships with colleagues throughout the word. He was a unique personality, and he will be remembered with affection by those who knew him well.
Geoffrey is survived by his wife Tora and three children, Oystein, Ingrid, and Peter.
Past President, IABS