Chanock was an internationally renowned virologist who identified a baffling pathogen that infects the majority of infants and is the most common cause of life-threatening pneumonia in premature babies; the first to identify and characterize this pathogen, which he called human respiratory syncytial virus, or RSV. Six-decade career at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases in Bethesda, Dr. Chanock did wide-ranging and groundbreaking research on a number of stubborn and dangerous diseases, particularly those affecting children and babies. Equally admired by colleagues for his ability to foster a dynamic and creative environment in which other scientists also thrived. Members of his lab group identified the Norwalk virus, which causes intestinal flu, and did pioneering work on vaccines against hepatitis A and West Nile virus. They also developed the first vaccine for rotavirus.
From the guide to the Robert Chanock papers, 1950-2000, (History of Medicine Division. National Library of Medicine)