Dr. Arthur McIntosh, Insect Cell Culturist and Virologist

Dr. Art McIntosh, a pioneer in insect cell culture, passed away peacefully at his home, after a long illness, on January 12, 2019. He was born April 2, 1934 in Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas USVI, the youngest of seven siblings.

Art earned a master’s degree at the University of Guelph (1962, Bacteriology) and at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (1965, Food Science and Technology). He then went on to earn a Sc.D. at the Harvard School of Public Health (1969, Microbiology). After a post-doctoral fellowship at Stanford Research Institute, he began a highly productive collaboration with Dr. Karl Maramorosch, first at the Boyce Thompson Institute and then the Waksman Institute at Rutgers University.  Their collaboration led him into insect cell culture and insect virology where he made many valuable contributions.  During his early years, Art developed a unique insect cell culture medium, a novel technique for cloning insect cells, and was one of the first to study insect viruses in insect and vertebrate cell lines.

In 1979, Art moved to Columbia, Missouri, where he held a number of positions at the USDA/ARS Biological Control of Insect Research Laboratory (BCIRL), including Supervisory Research Microbiologist, Research Leader, and Lab Director.  Art made some of his most valuable contributions to insect cell line and insect virology research at BCIRL.  He focused on the establishment of insect cell lines from a variety of pest insect species.  Many of these lines are still used for basic and applied insect research.  Art also made a number of significant contributions to our understanding of the interactions of baculoviruses with insect cells (especially in regards to insect resistance), virus propagation in cell lines and the optimization of baculoviruses for pest control purposes (including the development of a fusion method for incorporating specific proteins into the virus genome).  His work was especially influential in developing technologies to decrease agricultural crop loses.

While working at BCIRL, Art also served as adjunct professor in the Department of Entomology, University of Missouri, where he especially enjoyed interacting with graduate students and postdoctoral fellows. He helped develop a graduate class on the theories and practical aspects of the biological control of insects. This class was highly informative and well received. Art was an excellent mentor who inspired students and fellow researchers (from around the world) to follow their own creative instincts and explore new areas of insect biology.  Science was his passion and he loved lighting a fire in others to go beyond his accomplishments and carve out new niches for themselves in their research efforts, or otherwise.

Art was an accomplished scientist. To mention a few points, he was funded in highly competitive grant programs, earned an ARS Invention Award (for the diamondback moth cell line) and won a McMaster Fellowship (an Australian recognition as visiting scientist at the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization). Among his professional accomplishments, Art was most proud of his induction as a Fellow in the Society for In Vitro Biology (SIVB). Art was very active in the SIVB from its inception (originally known as the Tissue Culture Association).  In 1976-1978, Art served as Chair of the Invertebrate Division (now part of the In Vitro Animal Cell Sciences Section).  He also served on the Program and Education Committees, where he made special efforts to invite young scientists to attend annual meetings and join the society.

Art’s great loves were his family and the game of tennis. Never was he more happy than when he was on the court or surrounded by his family.  Art is survived by his wife of 54 years, Daniele, two sons, Scott and Craig, daughter Anya, two grandsons, and a great-grandson.

Art will be greatly missed as a colleague, a friend and as someone who touched many lives with his zeal for life and passion for discovering the unknown.


Submitted by Cynthia L. Goodman, PhD, USDA, ARS, BCIRL, Columbia, MO