Robert M. "Bob" Chanock (1924–2010)


Robert Chanock, M.D., was a renowned virologist and chief of the NIH Laboratory of Infectious Diseases. Best known for his discoveries of disease-causing viruses, most notably human respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), the most common cause of serious lower respiratory tract disease in infants and children worldwide, and the four parainfluenza viruses, which include the most common cause of severe croup in infants. Dr. Chanock isolated new strains of rhinovirus and coronavirus (causes of the common cold) and helped to develop an FDA-approved vaccine for the respiratory pathogen adenovirus that proved 100-percent effective in preventing disease among U.S. military recruits. He also proved that the disease known as walking pneumonia was caused not by a virus, but by a bacterium that could be treated with an antibiotic. Dr. Chanock was elected to the National Academy of Sciences in 1973.

photo of Chanock

Robert Chanock The Chanock's Family Private Collection


Dr. Chanock's Own Reflections

Oral history for NIH Office of History, 1 of 3, January 11, 2001 (PDF, 176 kB)
Oral history for NIH Office of History, 2 of 3, February 1, 2001 (PDF, 5.22 mB)
Oral history for NIH Office of History, 3 of 3, February 23, 2001 (PDF, 203 kB)

NIH Publications

Obituary in NIH Record, 2010 (PDF, 368 kB)

Journal Publications

Tribute by Albert Z. Kapikian, David M. Morens, and Anthony S. Fauci in Journal of Infectious Diseases, 2010 (PDF, 205 kB)
Tribute by Betty Lee Lignon in Seminars in Pediatric Infectious Diseases, 1998 (PDF, 3.81 mB)

Non-journal Publications

Obituary in the Washington Post, 2010 (PDF, 130 kB)
Obituary in the New York Times, 2010 (PDF, 456 kB)