James E. Crowe, Jr., MD

  • Basil O'Connor Starter Scholar grant recipient
  • RSV researcher inspired by medical missions to Africa
  • Doctor in search for new treatments for viral infection

James E. Crowe, Jr., MD, of Vanderbilt Medical Center in Nashville, Tennessee, has an urgent mission--developing treatment for a common childhood illness that can turn deadly. Almost all children develop an infection caused by respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) by their second birthday. However, about 1 in 3 develops a lower respiratory infection, such as bronchiolitis or pneumonia.

"Worldwide, RSV is the leading cause of viral deaths, killing an estimated several hundred thousand children each year," according to Dr. Crowe. 

More than 100,000 children in this country are hospitalized and about 500 die. Just about all deaths in the United States are in children who were born prematurely or with birth defects.

Dr. Crowe began studying RSV with a Basil O'Connor Starter Scholar Research Award in 1998. He is currently probing how the virus replicates and spreads. This could lead to novel drugs and ultimately a vaccine to prevent RSV infection.