Louis van der Heide
AAAP Hall of Honor

Louis van der Heide was born on August 2, 1933 in Aerdenhout, The Netherlands. After finishing high school he could not decide on a career path and his parents, both chemists, had him working on a farm for 1 yr shoveling a lot of manure. This year was important for his professional career because it led to his decision to become a veterinarian. He received his D.V.M. degree in 1958 from the University of Utrecht. The second important professional decision Louis made was to move to Curacao, in the Caribbean, where he worked from 1960 to 1965 as the Deputy Chief of Veterinary Services in The Netherlands Antilles. Afterwards he returned to his interest in avian diseases at the Diagnostic Disease Laboratory at the University of Maine in Orono. In 1970 Louis received his Ph.D. in veterinary virology from his alma mater, the University of Utrecht, for his thesis on “The Fluorescent Antibody Technique in the Diagnosis of Avian Encephalomyelitis.” Louis and his family moved to Columbia, CT in 1971, when he accepted the position of Associate Professor in the Department of Pathobiology at the University of Connecticut. He served as Chair of the Department of Pathobiology until his retirement in 1994.
Louis was well-known for his research on avian diseases, especially on reovirus-induced arthritis-tenosynovitis. He isolated the S1133 strain of reovirus and successfully developed this strain into an inactivated vaccine. Subsequently, a temperature-sensitive live vaccine was generated. His vaccine is still being used worldwide.
Teaching was an important aspect of his professional career, and he was highly respected by his students as an excellent and fair teacher. He did not like hearing professors brag about how many students they had flunked. Louis saw that as a teaching failure. In addition to teaching regular courses at the University, he also organized several continuing education courses attended by poultry veterinarians and technicians from many countries.
Louis served for a long period as secretary of the Northeastern Conference of Avian Diseases and he was heavily involved in the AAAP. He served as Vice President and President of the AAAP and on the Board of Directors representing the North-Eastern Region. After his retirement from the University he served as editor of Avian Diseases, introducing many changes which resulted in a significant shortening of the time between submission and publication. As editor he always went the extra mile, working closely with the reviewers when there were differing opinions about acceptance of a manuscript.
Louis grew up during World War II in the occupied Netherlands, which had a profound effect on him. When his family was forced to relocate to a house in Haarlem as a consequence of the occupation, he met a 5-yr-old girl named Ingrid Klaje at the primary school. After returning from her final study year abroad in the 1950s she was met by a young, towering man with a bouquet of flowers at the railroad station. Shortly afterwards Ingrid and Louis were married in 1959. Their marriage was blessed with 4 children— Marjolein, Ilje, Mike, and Pieter. In his free time Louis loved to play the piano and listen to classical music while pretending to be the conductor. His children remember him as a patient father with a good sense of humor, always willing to explain how things worked.