The IMV was founded in 1961 as the Biophysics Laboratory. The major focus of the Biophysics Laboratory was structural virology, stemming from the fundamental observation made by IMV faculty member Paul Kaesberg in 1956 that viruses formed icosahedral virion particles. Originally located in their home departments, in 1967 the Biophysics Laboratory faculty moved to the newly constructed Laboratories of Molecular Biology and Biophysics building on Linden Drive in central campus. The building was renamed Robert M. Bock Laboratories in 1991, and is where the IMV resides today. In 1987, the Biophysics Laboratory was renamed the Institute for Molecular Virology to more accurately describe its focus and mission. Currently, the IMV operates under the auspices of the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research and Graduate Education (OVCRGE).

The IMV has a rich history of national and international leadership in virology research administration, professional education, and community outreach. Three IMV faculty (Kaesberg, Rueckert, and Palmenberg) have served as President of the American Society for Virology (ASV). The annual ASV meeting has been held in Madison seven times (1984, 1994, 2001, 2006, 2012, 2017, and 2022), each time hosted by IMV faculty (Rueckert, Palmenberg, Friesen). The International Herpesvirus Workshop was held in Madison in 2016 and hosted by an IMV faculty member (Kalejta). The IMV administers the UW-Madison Biophysics Graduate Program, and participates in multiple community outreach and engagement events, including Grandparents University, the Wisconsin Science Festival, and the Saturday Science Program.

Faculty Members

John William Anderegg (1961–1981)

William Waldron Beeman (1961–1981)

Paul J. Kaesberg (1961–1988)

Roland R. Rueckert (1965–1996)

Ross Inman (1967–2008)

Andrew Ball (1980–1988)

Paul G. Ahlquist (1984–present)

Ann C. Palmenberg (1987–present)

Paul D. Friesen (1989–present)

Max L. Nibert (1993–2000)

Rebecca I. Montgomery (1998–2007)

Robert F. Kalejta (2003–present)

Nathan M. Sherer (2011–present)

Robert N. Kirchdoerfer (2019–present)

Kinjal Majumder (2020–present)

Marta M. Gaglia (2022–present)

Chairs (Center Directors)

William Waldron Beeman (1966–1969)

Paul J. Kaesberg (1969–1988)

Roland R. Rueckert (1988–1996)

Paul G. Ahlquist (1996–1997)

Ann C. Palmenberg (1997–2011)

Paul D. Friesen (2011–present)



Robert F. Kalejta (2013–present)


Assistant Directors

Kim Voss (2010–present)

Kelly Moran (2022–present)