A photo of Robert W. Frenck Jr.

Robert W. Frenck Jr., MD

  • Director, Vaccine Research Center
  • Executive Chair, Institutional Review Board (IRB)
  • Professor, UC Department of Pediatrics



The research that I’m most interested in is developing vaccines to prevent infections. Vaccines are the most impressive public health measure to reduce the rates of disease. I was inspired to pursue this area of pediatric patient care because infections are still the leading cause of death among children worldwide. I believe that finding methods to reduce infections among children will greatly enhance children's lives and help them grow up into healthy, happy adults.

Vaccines have saved more lives and averted more diseases than any other remedy that exists in medicine. Distributing vaccines around the globe has eliminated smallpox and has nearly eliminated polio. Furthermore, new vaccines are likely to prevent new infections, such as Ebola and COVID-19.

I am Director of the Gamble Center for Clinical Research, where my colleagues and I assess new vaccines and agents designed to prevent infections. I’m also the principal investigator of the Vaccine Treatment and Evaluation Unit (VTEU), which is funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

At the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, we are one of nine VTEU sites that exist in the United States. Our hospital was selected as a VTEU site due to our extensive history of excellence in vaccine testing.

My research has been published in various journals, including Clinical Infectious Diseases, Open Forum Infectious Diseases, Lancet Infectious Diseases, and the Journal of Clinical Rheumatology: Practical Reports on Rheumatic and Musculoskeletal Disease. I’m an acknowledged authority in infectious diseases and have authored more than 125 articles and book chapters.


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Pivotal Phase 3 Randomized Clinical Trial of the Safety, Tolerability, and Immunogenicity of 20-Valent Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccine in Adults 18 Years and Older. Essink, B; Sabharwal, C; Cannon, K; Frenck, R; Lal, H; Xu, X; Sundaraiyer, V; Peng, Y; Moyer, L; Pride, MW; et al. Clinical Infectious Diseases. 2021.

Antibody in Lymphocyte Supernatant (ALS) responses after oral vaccination with live Shigella sonnei vaccine candidates WRSs2 and WRSs3 and correlation with serum antibodies, ASCs, fecal IgA and shedding. Venkatesan, MM; Ballou, C; Barnoy, S; McNeal, M; El-Khorazaty, J; Frenck, R; Baqar, S. PLoS ONE. 2021; 16.

Safety and Efficacy of the BNT162b2 mRNA Covid-19 Vaccine through 6 Months. Zenilman, J; Belshe, R; Edwards, K; Self, S; Stanberry, L; Newell, T; Hunt, S; Jack, P; Adams, G; Ali-Abadi, N; et al. New England Journal of Medicine. 2021; 385:1761-1773.

A site assessment tool for inpatient controlled human infection models for enteric disease pathogens. Porter, CK; Detizio, KJ; Maier, N; Testa, KJ; Talaat, KR; Chen, WH; Lyon, CE; Gutierrez, RL; Frenck, R; Isidean, SD; et al. Clinical Trials. 2021.

SARS-CoV-2 Neutralization with BNT162b2 Vaccine Dose 3. Falsey, AR; Frenck, RW; Walsh, EE; Kitchin, N; Absalon, J; Gurtman, A; Lockhart, S; Bailey, R; Swanson, KA; Xu, X; et al. New England Journal of Medicine. 2021; 385:1627-1629.

Heterologous SARS-CoV-2 Booster Vaccinations - Preliminary Report. Atmar, RL; Lyke, KE; Deming, ME; Jackson, LA; Branche, AR; El Sahly, HM; Rostad, CA; Martin, JM; Johnston, C; Rupp, RE; et al. 2021.

BNT162b2 Covid-19 Vaccine in Adolescents. Reply. Frenck, RW; Dormitzer, PR; Gurtman, A. New England Journal of Medicine. 2021; 385.

Efficacy, safety, and immunogenicity of the Shigella sonnei 1790GAHB GMMA candidate vaccine: Results from a phase 2b randomized, placebo-controlled challenge study in adults. Frenck, RW; Conti, V; Ferruzzi, P; Ndiaye, AG W; Parker, S; McNeal, MM; Dickey, M; Granada, JP; Cilio, GL; De Ryck, I; et al. EClinicalMedicine. 2021; 39.

Shigella-Specific Immune Profiles Induced after Parenteral Immunization or Oral Challenge with Either Shigella flexneri 2a or Shigella sonnei. Clarkson, KA; Talaat, KR; Frenck, RW; Alaimo, C; Martin, P; Bourgeois, AL; Kaminski, RW. mSphere. 2021; 6.

Warp Speed for Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Vaccines: Why Are Children Stuck in Neutral?. Anderson, EJ; Campbell, JD; Creech, CB; Frenck, R; Kamidani, S; Munoz, FM; Nachman, S; Spearman, P. Clinical Infectious Diseases. 2021; 73:336-340.

From the Blog

Brady, Frenck Among Co-Authors of COVID Vax ‘Mix-and-Match’ Study in NEJM
Infectious Diseases and Vaccines

Brady, Frenck Among Co-Authors of COVID Vax ‘Mix-and-Match’ Study in NEJM

Robert W. Frenck Jr., MD, Rebecca C. Brady, MD1/26/2022

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9 Things for Parents to Know About the Omicron Variant

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My Child Is Fully Vaccinated – Now What?

My Child Is Fully Vaccinated – Now What?

By Dr. Robert Frenck11/18/2021

Can My Child Get The COVID-19 Vaccine And Flu Shot At The Same Time?

Can My Child Get The COVID-19 Vaccine And Flu Shot At The Same Time?

By Dr. Robert Frenck10/28/2021

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BlogHealthy Living

Halloween During COVID-19: Advice from the Expert

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