Shannon C. Kenney. MD

Position title: PROFESSOR


Phone: (608) 265-0533, (608) 261-1196

1111 Highland Ave
Madison, WI 53705

Shannon Kenney, MD

Professor of Oncology and Medicine, Wattawa Professor in Cancer Research

Dr. Kenney’s research is focused on understanding the molecular regulation and pathogenesis of Epstein-Barr virus (EBV), and developing humanized mouse models to dissect how EBV causes B-cell lymphomas in vivo.  Her work in EBV spans a broad range of topics, including viral gene regulation, transforming functions of EBV proteins in humanized mouse models, and the development of novel, EBV-targeted therapies for EBV-positive tumors.   A recent graduate student and VTG trainee, Coral Wille, revealed that the EBV immediate-early (IE) protein, BZLF1, specifically activates the lytic form of viral infection from viral genomes that are methylated (as occurs in infected B cells), whereas the BRLF1 IE protein only activates lytic infection from viral genomes that are unmethylated, or 5-hydroxymethylated (as occurs in epithelial cells).  Thus the pathways that lead to viral reactivation are different in each cell type (Wille et al, J. Virology 2013, PMID: 23135711 and Willie et al., PNAS 2015, PMID: 26663912). Coral also showed that TET2 (which places the 5-hydroxymethylation mark on methylated CpG motifs) regulates the type of EBV latency in B cells (Wille et al., J. Virology 2017). Coral is now pursuing postdoctoral training in the lab of Dr. Rupa Sridharan (Wisconsin Institute of Discovery) studying epigenetic barriers of reprogramming somatic cells to induced pluripotent stem cells. Dr. Kenney has a new predoc VTG trainee, Nick Van Sciver, who is pursuing studies of the EBV life cycle in oral keratinocytes. He already is a co-author on a collaborative study with the Kalejta lab looking at CMV replication in oral keratinocytes (Weng et al., J. Virology 2018, PMID: 29848590). Dr. Kenney is co-leader of the Carbone Cancer Center Human Cancer Virology Program. Dr. Kenney collaborates with Drs. Johannsen, Kalejta, and Mertz with whom she has joint lab meetings. She also collaborates with Drs. Lambert and Sugden. Her lab is funded by an R01 (PI), and the Tumor Virology P01 (leader of Project 5, co-leader Project 4).