Dr. Shannon Kenney receives the Henle Award for major contributions to Epstein-Barr virus research

Shannon C. Kenney, MD, the Wattawa Bascom Professor in Cancer Research and professor of medicine (Infectious Disease) and oncology, received the prestigious Henle Award from the Board of the International Association for Research on Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) and Associated Diseases.

This award recognizes internationally renowned scientists that have made major contributions to the understanding and/or treatment of EBV and associated diseases.

“It is a great honor to receive this award,” says Dr. Kenney. “I want to thank my collaborators, graduate students, fellows, and staff for their incredible contributions to this exciting work.”

Spread through bodily fluids, EBV is one of the eight known human herpesviruses, best known for causing infectious mononucleosis. It is also the first human virus discovered to have oncogenic properties and is associated with Burkitt’s lymphoma, nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC), gastric carcinoma, Hodgkin’s disease and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

Continuously funded by the NIH since 1987, Dr. Kenney’s work has been foundational in identifying the molecular regulation of EBV. Her expansive research includes potential new therapies against EBV-induced tumors that selectively kill EBV-positive tumor cells by reactivating cell-destroying viral replication.

More specifically, her group studies the proteins BZLF1 and BRLF1, and the role they play in EBV infection. Dr. Kenney is now translating the results of her basic molecular studies into the development of new, EBV-targeted therapies for EBV-positive tumors.

As the Henle award winner, she is invited to deliver a prize lecture at the International Symposium for EBV and associated diseases and is presented with a commemorative plaque. The Henle award lecture in 2022 will be delivered at the 20th International Symposium on EBV and Associated Diseases to be held in Siena, Italy July 3-6th 2022.

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