The Institute of Virology was founded in 1967 by Prof. Dr. R. Wyler (1924-2013). Originally it was located within the building of the Institute of Medical Microbiology at Gloriastrasse. In 1972 the laboratories moved to a "provisional" building at the animal hospital, where they remain to this date. Under the leadership of Prof. Wyler, the Institute developed into a modern research facility with broad expertise in viruses relevant primarily, but not exclusively, in Veterinary Medicine. Professor Wyler retired in 1989, after 17 years in office.
Prof. Dr. M. Ackermann was appointed Chair of Virology and Director of the Institute of Virology in 1990. Under his leadership, the Institute diversified to reach its current structure with the three main research areas: Veterinary Virology, Experimental Virology, and Immunology. This structure was corroborated by the establishment of two new professorships, one for Experimental Virology (Prof. Dr. C. Fraefel, 2007) and one for Immunology (Prof. Dr. S. Leibundgut, 2015). In January 2017, Prof. Ackermann retired from his academic positions but continues to be an active member of the Institute, while working on several research projects.
In 2017, the University of Zurich elected Prof. Dr. C. Fraefel as the new Chair of Virology and Director of the Institute of Virology. He is committed in advancing Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Research in general by providing a stimulating learning and research environment.