Kenneth E. Palmer, Ph.D.


B.Sc., Biological and Life Sciences, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa, 1992
B.Sc. Honours, Genetics, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa, 1993
Ph.D., Microbiology, University of Cape Town, South Africa, 1997
Postdoctoral Fellowship, Boyce Thompson Institute at Cornell University, Ithaca, NY, 1998

Curriculum Vitae

Current Positions:

Executive Director, Owensboro Cancer Research Program
Interim Co-Director, Center for Predicitive Medicine for Biodefense and Emerging Infectious Diseases
Professor, Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology, University of Louisville School of Medicine
Helmsley Chair in Plant-based Pharmaceutical Research
Member, James Graham Brown Cancer Center
Associate Faculty, Department of Family Medicine and Geriatrics, University of Louisville

Contact Information:

Owensboro Cancer Research Program
1020 Breckenridge Street, Suite 201
Owensboro, Kentucky 42303
Phone 270-691-5960


Research Description:

The Palmer Research Group is focused on developing biologic-based therapeutics and vaccines to prevent and treat cancer associated infectious diseases including human immunodeficiency viruses, human papillomaviruses, herpesviruses and hepatitis C.  Our goal is to discover and develop antiviral products that provide broad spectrum activity against multiple pathogens, and vaccines that address pathogen genetic diversity. We enjoy trans-disciplinary research collaborations with clinicians, engineers, immunologists, biochemists, structural biologists, public health researchers and regulatory affairs professionals.

We have secured funding to test two novel biologics developed in our laboratory in first-in-humans clinical trials:

  • Broad spectrum antiviral lectin (Griffithsin) as a multi-purpose topical microbicide to prevent sexual transmission of HIV-1, HCV, and herpesviruses (1 - 6)
  • Next generation HPV prophylactic vaccine that induces cross-protective immunity against all oncogenic HPV types (7 - 9)

Literature Cited:

  1. O'Keefe BR, Vojdani F, Buffa V, Shattock RJ, Montefiori DC, Bakke J, Mirsalis J, d'Andrea AL, Hume SD, Bratcher B, Saucedo CJ, McMahon JB, Pogue GP & Palmer KE (2009)  Scaleable manufacture of HIV entry inhibitor Griffithsin and validation of its safety and efficacy as a topical microbicide component.  Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA 106: 6099-104.  PMID: 19332801
  2. Férir G, Palmer KE, Shols D (2011) Synergistic activity profile of griffithsin in combination with tenofovir, maraviroc and enfuvirtide against HIV-1 clade C.  Virology417(2):253-8.  PMID: 21802104
  3. Koukam JC, Huskens D, Shols D, Johannemann A, Riedell SK, Walter W, Walker JM, Matoba N, O’Keefe BR, Palmer KE (2011) Investigation of Griffithsin’s interactions with human cells confirms its outstanding safety and efficacy profile as a microbicide candidate.  PLoS ONE6(8):e22635. PMID: 21829638
  4. Meuleman P, Albecka A, Belouzard S, Vercauteren K, Verhoye L, Wychowski C, Leroux-Rosels G, Palmer KE, Dubuisson J (2011)  Griffithsin has antiviral activity against hepatitis C virus.  Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy 55: 5159-67.  PMID 21896910
  5. Nixon B, Stefanidou M, Mesquita PM, Fakioglu E, Segarra T, Rohan L, Halford W, Palmer KE, Herold BC (2013).  Griffithsin prevents genital herpes in mice by preventing cell to cell spread.  Journal of Virology 87(11):6257-69. PMID: 23536670
  6. Barton C, Kouokam JC, Lasnik AB, Foreman O, Cambon A, Brock G, Montefiori DC, Vojdani F, McCormick AA, O’Keefe BR, Palmer KE (2014) Activity of and effect of subcutaneous treatment with the broad-spectrum antiviral lectin griffithsin in two laboratory rodent models.  Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy 58(1): 120-127.
  7. Palmer KE, Benko A, Doucette SA, Cameron TI, McCulloch M, Hanley KM, Foster T, McCormick AA, Smith ML, Christensen ND (2006)  Protection of rabbits against cutaneous and mucosal papillomavirus infection using recombinant tobacco mosaic virus containing L2 capsid epitopes.  Vaccine 24:5516-25.  PMID: 16725236
  8. Jagu S, Malandro N, Kwak K, Yuan H, Schlegel R, Palmer KE, Huh WK, Campo MS, Roden RBS (2011) A multimeric L2 vaccine for prevention of animal papillomavirus infections.  Virology420: 43-50.  PMID: 21920572
  9. Palmer KE, Jenson AB, Lasnik AB, Kouokam JC, Ghim SJ (2009) Recombinant vaccines for the prevention of human papillomavirus infection and cervical cancer.  Experimental and Molecular Pathology 86(3):224-33. PMID: 19454268

PubMed Information