NIH Record - National Institutes of Health

Collins To Deliver 2022 Chanock Lecture

Dr. Peter L. Collins
Dr. Peter L. Collins will give the next Chanock Lecture on Apr. 26.

Former NIAID principal investigator and section chief Dr. Peter L. Collins returns to NIH to present the 2022 NIAID Robert M. Chanock Memorial Lecture. The talk, titled “A Memoir of Research on Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) and Related Viruses: Baby Steps,” will take place on Tuesday, Apr. 26, at 9 a.m. 

The in-person lecture will be by invitation only; other interested members of the NIH community are welcome to join remotely at:

The lecture honors the late virologist Dr. Robert M. Chanock, who worked at NIAID for more than 50 years, including more than 3 decades as chief of the Laboratory of Infectious Diseases (LID), and was a pioneer of translational research in infectious diseases. 

Among other accomplishments, Chanock identified multiple viruses that cause disease in people, including RSV, and made major contributions to their characterization and control. For example, he conceived of and led the development of a monoclonal antibody to prevent RSV disease in high-risk children. 

RSV is a leading viral cause of serious pediatric respiratory illness worldwide, causing an estimated 21.6 to 50.3 million cases of lower respiratory illness, 2.7 to 3.8 million hospitalizations, and 94,600 to 149,400 deaths globally each year in children under age 5. RSV also is an important cause of morbidity and mortality in the elderly.

Characterization of RSV and the development of a pediatric RSV vaccine were major activities of Chanock’s laboratory and have continued in LID to this day. These efforts have been impeded by the difficulty of working with this virus and the challenges of developing vaccines for respiratory viruses in infants. However, LID investigators have made considerable progress. One example is the monoclonal antibody noted above, which has had extensive and successful clinical use. Also, several promising live, attenuated RSV vaccine candidates are in clinical studies being conducted in collaboration with industrial partners. 

Collins’s contributions to these efforts include the molecular characterization of RSV and the use of cutting-edge molecular techniques and information to make the improved, well-defined vaccine candidates now in clinical trials.

Collins began working with RSV in 1981 and joined Chanock’s laboratory in 1984. He was chief of the RNA viruses section in LID from 2010 until his retirement in 2019. In his lecture, he will discuss some of the milestones in basic and translational studies of RSV and related viruses. 

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