Don Gilden, MD
Member Since 1977 and prior ANA Councillor and Officer (2nd Vice-President)
Date of Death: August 23, 2016
Dr. Donald Gilden, the Department of Neurology's second and longest serving Chair (1985-2009) passed away on August 23, 2016. Dr. Gilden came to Colorado to lead the School of Medicine's Department of Neurology in 1985 and remained an active member of the faculty until his death. Don was an undergraduate at Dartmouth, received his Medical degree from the University of Maryland, and then trained in Neurology at the University of Chicago. He was a Professor of Neurology at the Wistar Institute and the University of Pennsylvania when he was recruited in 1985 to become the second Chair of the University of Colorado's Department of Neurology. Don would become the Department's longest serving Chair (1985-2009) and would lead the Department to national prominence. His extraordinary career represented the epitome of the "triple threat" - he was an outstanding teacher, astute clinician, and extraordinary scientist. He was an author on over 420 papers, and remained the Principal Investigator on both an NIH Program Project Grant and an R01 until his death. The focus of much of his research career was on the biology and pathogenesis of Varicella Zoster virus (VZV). No individual made more seminal contributions in this field than Dr. Gilden. He was the first to show that VZV DNA could be detected in normal human sensory ganglia. He established that VZV infection could produce symptoms in the absence of shingles ("zoster sine herpete"). His work helped establish that VZV infection of the brain was actually a vasculopathy rather than an "encephalitis". More recently, he did groundbreaking studies that established an association between VZV infection and giant cell (temporal) arteritis, as well as other forms of inflammatory arteritis. During his long and distinguished career, he received many honors and accolades. These included the Alumni Award from the University of Chicago, the Gold Key Award from the University of Maryland and election to the Johns Hopkins Society of Fellows. He received the Pioneer Award of the International Society of Neurovirology (ISNV) and was elected to Fellowship in the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) and to membership in the Association of American Physicians (AAP). He held leadership positions in numerous professional societies during his career and remained active on many editorial boards and NIH study sections until his death. Don's passing leaves a tremendous void in Neurology, at the University Of Colorado School Of Medicine and particularly in the Department of Neurology. He will be sorely missed by his many students, trainees, friends and colleagues and by his wife Audrey, sons Daniel, Adam and Paul and their families.
Prepared by Kenneth L. Tyler, MD
Used with permission of the author.