Kenneth E. Palmer, Ph.D.

Professor; Helmsley Chair in Pharmaceutical Plant-based Research; Executive Director, Owensboro Cancer Research Program

Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology

CTRB 415 270–691–5960


Ph.D., Microbiology, University of Cape Town (1997)

Research Areas and Projects

Dr. Kenneth Palmer’s primary research focus is in developing vaccines and antivirals that address pathogen diversity and counteract immune evasion strategies.  His laboratory has been developing a lectin, Griffithsin, as a broad-spectrum antiviral biopharmaceutical for prevention of human immunodeficiency virus and genital herpes virus transmission. This product is advancing to a first-in-humans clinical trial. Dr. Palmer is the Director of the University of Louisville Center for Predictive Medicine, which has state-of-the-art facilities for BSL-3 biocontaiment research.  His group is developing broad-spectrum antiviral strategies for prevention and treatment of emerging and re-emerging viral infections of public health concern, including highly pathogenic influenza and coronaviruses.  Dr. Palmer is the Helmsley Charitable Trust Endowed Chair in Plant-based Pharmaceutical Research, which recognizes that the core products and technologies that drive his research program originate in plants, or use plants as recombinant protein expression systems.  The Palmer laboratory is supported by grants from the National Institutes of Health and private philanthropy from the Helmsley Charitable Trust.