Dr. Harry W. Kestler, Professor, Division of Math and Sciences, Lorain County Community College
Dr. Harry Kestler, the colorful LCCC professor and molecular biologist who created the first live attenuated vaccine for AIDS, is also credited with isolating the first pathogenic AIDS virus molecular clone and creating the "suicide" vaccine for AIDS. However, his students know him for his humor, value him as "mentor extraordinaire" and don't hesitate to drag him backstage after a performance of the indie rock band, American Toxic Event or to create a caricature of LCCC's "Micro-prof." The free AIDS testing offered on campus in December by his Microbiology class is an outgrowth of Kestler’s strong belief in the service component of learning along with his drive to increase AIDS awareness.
Born in Rochester, NY, Kestler received an A. S. in Psychology from Monroe Community College and then went on to receive a B.A in Psychology from the University of Rochester, where he graduated cum laude. His academic appointments include that of Faculty at Harvard Medical School in the Department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics, Adjunct Faculty at Clark University, Assistant Staff (Professor) at the Cleveland Clinic and faculty positions at Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland Clinic and Lorain County Community College. He has focused on molecular biology and molecular virology, with an especial focus on AIDS.
His teaching experience covers every age group from preschool to continuing education programs for physicians. Of his 28 publications in peer reviewed journals, he has enjoyed either first or last authorship in such prestigious publications as Nature, Science, Cell and PNAS (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences). He also claims 58 published abstracts, 14 of which are related to projects that involved community college students -- 12 of whom were high school students. All of these students have presented their results at national science meetings. Hence, this writer's naming him "mentor extraordinaire."