UTMB has appointed Dr. Robert Couch, a nationally renowned, recently retired clinical virologist, as an adjunct professor in the UTMB Division of Infectious Diseases.

Couch retired in late 2013 from Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, where he had held positions as director of the Vaccine Treatment and Evaluation Center; chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases and chairman of the Department of Microbiology and Immunology. He was best known as the leader of Baylor’s Viral Respiratory Research Center, a world leader in research on influenza and other respiratory infections, which he directed for nearly 40 years.

He is a graduate of the Vanderbilt School of Medicine. Early in his career, he worked for the National Institutes of Health, serving as head of the Clinical Virology section in the National Institutes of Allergy and Infectious Diseases where he developed a research program focused on rhinovirus, common colds and airborne transmission of viral respiratory infections.

“We are thrilled to have Dr. Couch join our infectious disease team here at UTMB,” said Dr. A. Clinton White, Jr., director of UTMB’s Division of Infectious Diseases. “He is a world-renowned authority on respiratory viruses, an outstanding colleague and a true gentleman. He has played key roles in my own career development and was already working with UTMB on research collaborations for more than a decade. I look forward to having him here as a trusted advisor and inspiration for our junior faculty and fellows.”

Couch says he is delighted to relocate to Galveston, where he and his family have owned a home in the East End historic district since 1979.

“I have great esteem for UTMB, said Couch. “I feel very connected to the community here, having collaborated on infectious disease research with colleagues in the Galveston National Lab for many years. My daughter and son-in-law are graduates of UTMB, and I am just delighted to be able to continue my work in virology at such a preeminent institution.”

Couch’s current duties at UTMB include teaching and serving as a mentor and co-investigator for research. His areas of research specialization are influenza, acute viral respiratory infections and diseases and vaccine development.