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Shannon C. Kenney, M.D.

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Shannon C Kenney, MD Wattawa Bascom Professor in Cancer Research
Professor of Oncology and Medicine

, 1975, Geology, Yale University
M.D., 1979, Medicine, Yale School of Medicine
Residency: Medicine/Pediatrics, Univ. of North Carolina Hospitals
Postdoctoral research: NIH and Univ. of North Carolina Hospitals

Telephone: Office - (608) 265-0533; Lab - (608) 261-1196
Email: skenney@wisc.edu

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Research Interests: Understanding the molecular regulation and pathogenesis of the human herpesvirus, Epstein-Barr virus (EBV)

Research Description: Dr. Kenney’s research effort has been focused upon understanding the molecular regulation and pathogenesis of the human herpesvirus, Epstein-Barr virus (EBV).  Her work in EBV spans a broad range of topics, including viral gene regulation, the effects of the virus on the host immune response, and the development of novel, EBV-targeted therapies for EBV-positive tumors.  She has extensively studied the mechanisms by which both EBV immediate-early proteins, BZLF1 and BRLF1, activate the lytic form of viral infection.  Her group discovered that BZLF1 preferentially binds to, and transcriptionally activates, the methylated form of its downstream target promoter, suggesting a unique and unexpected mechanism by which EBV overcomes the inhibitory effect of viral genome methylation.   Her group has also shown how the two EBV immediate-early proteins alter the host cell environment in multiple different ways, including usurping control of the host cell cycle, activating a variety of signal transduction pathways, inhibiting p53 function, dispersing PML nuclear bodies, and attenuating the host innate immune response.  Dr. Kenney is now translating the results of these basic molecular studies into the development of new, EBV-targeted therapies for EBV-positive tumors. Her group is also developing a new small animal model to study EBV pathogenesis in vivo.

Selected recent publications


Ma SD, Tsai MH, Romero-Masters JC, Ranheim EA, Huebner SM, Bristol JA, Delecluse HJ, Kenney SC. Latent Membrane Protein 1 (LMP1) and LMP2A Collaborate To Promote Epstein-Barr Virus-Induced B Cell Lymphomas in a Cord Blood-Humanized Mouse Model but Are Not Essential. J Virol. 2017 Mar 13;91(7). pii: e01928-16. doi: 10.1128/JVI.01928-16. Print 2017 Apr 1. PubMed PMID: 28077657; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC5355617.

Nawandar DM, Ohashi M, Djavadian R, Barlow E, Makielski K, Ali A, Lee D, Lambert PF, Johannsen E, Kenney SC. Differentiation-Dependent LMP1 Expression Is Required for Efficient Lytic Epstein-Barr Virus Reactivation in Epithelial Cells. J Virol. 2017 Mar 29;91(8). pii: e02438-16. doi: 10.1128/JVI.02438-16. Print 2017 Apr 15. PubMed PMID: 28179525; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC5375685.

Wille CK, Li Y, Rui L, Johannsen EC, Kenney SC. Restricted TET2 Expression in Germinal Center Type B Cells Promotes Stringent Epstein-Barr Virus Latency. J Virol. 2017 Feb 14;91(5). pii: e01987-16. doi: 10.1128/JVI.01987-16. PubMed PMID: 28003489. PubMed Central PMCID: PMC5309966.


Jones RJ, Iempridee T, Wang X, Lee HC, Mertz JE, Kenney SC, Lin HC, Baladandayuthapani V, Dawson CW, Shah JJ, Weber DM, Orlowski RZ. Lenalidomide, Thalidomide, and Pomalidomide Reactivate the Epstein-Barr Virus Lytic Cycle through Phosphoinositide 3-Kinase Signaling and Ikaros Expression. Clin Cancer Res. 2016 Oct 1;22(19):4901-4912. PubMed PMID: 27297582; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC5050094.

Ma SD, Xu X, Jones R, Delecluse HJ, Zumwalde NA, Sharma A, Gumperz JE, Kenney SC. PD-1/CTLA-4 Blockade Inhibits Epstein-Barr Virus-Induced Lymphoma Growth in a Cord Blood Humanized-Mouse Model. PLoS Pathog. 2016 May 17;12(5):e1005642. doi: 10.1371/journal.ppat.1005642. eCollection 2016 May. PubMed PMID: 27186886; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4871349.

Makielski KR, Lee D, Lorenz LD, Nawandar DM, Chiu YF, Kenney SC, Lambert PF. Human papillomavirus promotes Epstein-Barr virus maintenance and lytic reactivation in immortalized oral keratinocytes. Virology. 2016 Aug;495:52-62. doi: 10.1016/j.virol.2016.05.005. Epub 2016 May 11. PubMed PMID: 27179345; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4912861.


Ma SD, Xu X, Plowshay J, Ranheim EA, Burlingham WJ, Jensen JL, Asimakopoulos F, Tang W, Gulley ML, Cesarman E, Gumperz JE, Kenney SC. LMP1-deficient Epstein-Barr virus mutant requires T cells for lymphomagenesis. J Clin Invest. 2015 Jan;125(1):304-15. doi: 10.1172/JCI76357. Epub 2014 Dec 8. PubMed PMID: 25485679; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4382240.

Nawandar DM, Wang A, Makielski K, Lee D, Ma S, Barlow E, Reusch J, Jiang R, Wille CK, Greenspan D, Greenspan JS, Mertz JE, Hutt-Fletcher L, Johannsen EC, Lambert PF, Kenney SC. Differentiation-Dependent KLF4 Expression Promotes Lytic Epstein-Barr Virus Infection in Epithelial Cells. PLoS Pathog. 2015 Oct 2;11(10):e1005195. doi: 10.1371/journal.ppat.1005195. eCollection 2015 Oct. PubMed PMID: 26431332; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4592227.

Reusch JA, Nawandar DM, Wright KL, Kenney SC, Mertz JE. Cellular differentiation regulator BLIMP1 induces Epstein-Barr virus lytic reactivation in epithelial and B cells by activating transcription from both the R and Z promoters. J Virol. 2015 Feb;89(3):1731-43. doi: 10.1128/JVI.02781-14. Epub 2014 Nov 19. PubMed PMID: 25410866; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4300755.

Wille CK, Nawandar DM, Henning AN, Ma S, Oetting KM, Lee D, Lambert P, Johannsen EC, Kenney SC. 5-hydroxymethylation of the EBV genome regulates the latent to lytic switch. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2015 Dec 29;112(52):E7257-65. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1513432112. Epub 2015 Dec 9. PubMed PMID: 26663912; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4703011.


Iempridee, T., Reusch, J. A., Riching, A., Johannsen, E. C., Dovat, S., Kenney, S. C., and Mertz, J. E.  Epstein-Barr Virus Utilizes Ikaros in Regulating Its Latent-Lytic Switch in B Cells.  J. Virol., 88(9): 4811-4827, 2014.

Kenney, S. C., and Mertz, J. E.  Regulation of the Latent-Lytic Switch in Epstein-Barr Virus.  Semin. Cancer Biol., 26(C): 60-68, 2014.


Bhatia, N., Xiao, T. Z., Rosenthal, K. A., Siddiqui, I. A., Thiyagarajan, S., Smart, B., Meng, Q., Zuleger, C. L., Mukhtar, H., Kenney, S. C., Albertini, M. R., and Longley, B. J.  MAGE-C2 Promotes Growth and Tumorigenicity of Melanoma Cells, Phosphorylation of KAP1, and DNA Damage Repair.  J. Invest. Dermatol., 133(3): 759-767, 2013.

Lockridge, J. L., Zhou, Y., Becker, Y. A., Ma, S., Kenney, S. C., Hematti, P., Capitini, C. M., Burlingham, W. J., Gendron-Fitzpatrick, A., and Gumperz, J. E.  Mice Engrafted with Human Fetal Thymic Tissue and Hematopoietic Stem Cells Develop Pathology Resembling Chronic Graft-versus-Host Disease.  Biol. Blood Marrow Transplant., 19(9): 1310-1322, 2013.

Raver, R. M., Panfil, A. R., Hagemeier, S. R., and Kenney, S. C.  The B-Cell-Specific Transcription Factor and Master Regulator Pax5 Promotes Epstein-Barr Virus Latency by Negatively Regulating the Viral Immediate Early Protein BZLF1.  J. Virol., 87(14): 8053-8063, 2013.

Sun, X.,  Bristol, J. A., Iwahori, S., Hagemeier, S. R., Meng, Q., Barlow, E. A., Fingeroth, J. D., Tarakanova, V. L., Kalejta, R. F., and Kenney, S. C.  Hsp90 Inhibitor 17-DMAG Decreases Expression of Conserved Herpesvirus Protein Kinases and Reduces Virus Production in Epstein-Barr Virus-Infected Cells.  J. Virol., 87(18): 10126-10138, 2013.

Wille, C. K., Nawandar, D. M., Panfil, A. R., Ko, M. M., Hagemeier, S. R., and Kenney, S. C.  Viral Genome Methylation Differentially Affects the Ability of BZLF1 versus BRLF1 To Activate Epstein-Barr Virus Lytic Gene Expression and Viral Replication.  J. Virol., 87(2): 935-950, 2013.


Hagemeier, S. R., Barlow, E. A., Meng, Q., and Kenney, S. C.  The Cellular Ataxia Telangiectasia-Mutated Kinase Promotes Epstein-Barr Virus Lytic Reactivation in Response to Multiple Different Types of Lytic Reactivation-Inducing Stimuli.  J. Virol., 86: 13360-13370, 2012.

Hoebe, E. K., Wille, C., Hopmans, E. S., Robinson, A. R., Middeldorp, J. M., Kenney, S. C., and Greijer, A. E.  Epstein-Barr Virus Transcription Activator R Upregulates BARF1 Expression by Direct Binding to Its Promoter, Independent of Methylation.  J. Virol., 86:  11322-11332, 2012.

Ma, S.-D., Yu, X., Mertz, J. E., Gumperz, J. E., Reinheim, E., Zhou, Y., Tang, W., Burlingham, W. J., Gulley, M. L., and Kenney, S. C.  An Epstein-Barr Virus (EBV) Mutant with Enhanced BZLF1 Expression Causes Lymphomas with Abortive Lytic EBV Infection in a Humanized Mouse Model.  J. Virol., 86: 7976-7987, 2012.

Robinson, A. R., Kwek, S. S., and Kenney, S. C.  The B-Cell Specific Transcription Factor, Oct-2, Promotes Epstein-Barr Virus Latency by Inhibiting the Viral Immediate-Early Protein, BZLF1.  PLoS Pathog., 8(2):e1002516, 2012.

Ryan, J. L., Shen, Y.-J., Morgan, D. R., Thorne, L. B., Kenney, S. C., Dominguez, R. L., and Gulley, M. L.  Epstein-Barr Virus Infection Is Common in Inflamed Gastrointestinal Mucosa.  Dig. Dis. Sci., 57: 1887-1898, 2012.

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