Dr. Robert Love, 57, chief of the program analysis and formulation branch of the National Cancer Institute, died March 5 at Suburban Hospital in Bethesda after a heart attack.

He first served as a pathologist at the cancer institute from 1955 to 1960. He spent the next 14 years as a professor of pathology at Thomas Jefferson University Medical School in Philadelphia before rejoining the cancer institute.

Dr. Love, who had published more than 100 papers on his research work in scientific journals, specialized in the cytology of tumor cells, specifically the nucleolini.

Born in Glasgow, Scotland, he earned his medical degrees at the University of Glasgow. During World War II, he was a major in the Royal Army Medical Corps in charge of hospitals on troopships.

He studied and taught pathology at Cambridge University in England before coming to this country in 1950 to work as a pathologist in the virus research division of Lederie Laboratories in Pearl River, N.Y.

Dr. Love had been an associate editor of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute and of Cancer Research and an editor of Carcinogenesis Abstracts. Hewas a former member of the Health Research Facilities Scientific Review Committee at NIH, and in 1971 was chairman of the Gordon Research Conference on Cancer, held in New London, N.H.

He belonged to the American Association of Cancer Research, the American Society of Experimental Pathology and the International Society of Cell Biology.

He is survived by his wife, Sheila, and a son, Duncan, of the home in Bethesda; another son, Angus, and a daughter, Carol Love, both of Philadelphia.

The family suggests that expressions of sympathy may be in the form of contributions to Amnesty International in New York City or to the Bethesda-Chevy Chase Rescue Squad.