Meet Melissa

a baby girl, of 16 weeks gestation (1975)

IMR-90 (Melissa)

Developed by W.W. Nichols and associates at the Institute for Medical Research (North Carolina) from the lung tissue of a baby girl, of 4 months gestation. The cell line name stands for Institute for Medical Research, cell strain 90.

IMR-90 was established from a sixteen-week-old baby girl on July 7, 1975, from a therapeutic abortion performed on a thirty-eight-year-old white mother of six.[1] Her cells were intended to replace WI-38. Her gestational age determined by fetal weight, and shoulder to rump length of 7 cm; and she was described as having “no apparent physical abnormalities.”[2]


[1] Rene Leiva, A Brief History of Human Diploid Cell Strains, in The National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly, vol. 6, issue 3, autumn 2006, p. 447

[2] W. Nichols et al., “Characterization of a New Human Diploid Cell Strain, IMR-90,” Science, Vol 196 (1976), pp. 60-63.


“Cell Collections,” Coriell Institute for Medical Research (2003/2004).