UW madison
UW School of Medicine and Public Health
Carbone Cancer Center

Shannon C. Kenney, M.D.

Shannon Kenney
Professor of Oncology and Medicine
Wattawa Bascom Professor in Cancer Research
Virology Program Leader - UW Carbone Cancer Center

B.A., 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

Office - (608) 265-0533; Lab - (608) 261-1196
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: 


Eichelberg MR, Welch R, Guidry JT, Ali A, Ohashi M, Makielski KR, McChesney K, Van Sciver N, Lambert PF, Keles S, Kenney SC, Scott RS, Johannsen E. Epstein-Barr Virus Infection Promotes Epithelial Cell Growth by Attenuating Differentiation-Dependent Exit from the Cell Cycle. MBio. 2019 Aug 20;10(4). pii: e01332-19. doi: 10.1128/mBio.01332-19. PubMed PMID: 31431547; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC6703421.

Tikhmyanova N, Paparoidamis N, Romero-Masters J, Feng X, Mohammed FS, Reddy PAN, Kenney SC, Lieberman PM, Salvino JM. Development of a novel inducer for EBV lytic therapy. Bioorg Med Chem Lett. 2019 Aug 15;29(16):2259-2264. doi: 10.1016/j.bmcl.2019.06.034. Epub 2019 Jun 22. PubMed PMID: 31255485; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC6690763.


Bristol JA, Djavadian R, Albright ER, Coleman CB, Ohashi M, Hayes M, Romero-Masters JC, Barlow EA, Farrell PJ, Rochford R, Kalejta RF, Johannsen EC, Kenney SC. A cancer-associated Epstein-Barr virus BZLF1 promoter variant enhances lytic infection. PLoS Pathog. 2018 Jul 27;14(7):e1007179. doi: 10.1371/journal.ppat.1007179. eCollection 2018 Jul. PubMed PMID: 30052684; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC6082571.

Dugan JP, Haverkos BM, Villagomez L, Martin LK, Lustberg M, Patton J, Martin M, Huang Y, Nuovo G, Yan F, Cavaliere R, Fingeroth J, Kenney SC, Ambinder RF, Lozanski G, Porcu P, Caligiuri MA, Baiocchi RA. Complete and Durable Responses in Primary Central Nervous System Posttransplant Lymphoproliferative Disorder with Zidovudine, Ganciclovir, Rituximab, and Dexamethasone. Clin Cancer Res. 2018 Jul 15;24(14):3273-3281. doi: 10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-17-2685. Epub 2018 Apr 9. PubMed PMID: 29632007; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC6050103.

Hoebe E, Wille C, Hagemeier S, Kenney S, Greijer A, Middeldorp J. Epstein-Barr Virus Gene BARF1 Expression is Regulated by the Epithelial Differentiation Factor ΔNp63α in Undifferentiated Nasopharyngeal Carcinoma. Cancers (Basel). 2018 Mar 17;10(3). pii: E76. doi: 10.3390/cancers10030076. PubMed PMID: 29562599; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC5876651.

Romero-Masters JC, Ohashi M, Djavadian R, Eichelberg MR, Hayes M, Bristol JA, Ma S, Ranheim EA, Gumperz J, Johannsen EC, Kenney SC. An EBNA3C-deleted Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) mutant causes B-cell lymphomas with delayed onset in a cord blood-humanized mouse model. PLoS Pathog. 2018 Aug 20;14(8):e1007221. doi: 10.1371/journal.ppat.1007221. eCollection 2018 Aug. PubMed PMID: 30125329; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC6117096.

Weng C, Lee D, Gelbmann CB, Van Sciver N, Nawandar DM, Kenney SC, Kalejta RF.  Human Cytomegalovirus Productively Replicates In Vitro in Undifferentiated Oral Epithelial Cells. J Virol. 2018 Jul 31;92(16). pii: e00903-18. doi: 10.1128/JVI.00903-18. Print 2018 Aug 15. PubMed PMID: 29848590; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC6069213.


Bilger A, Plowshay J, Ma S, Nawandar D, Barlow EA, Romero-Masters JC, Bristol JA, Li Z, Tsai MH, Delecluse HJ, Kenney SC. Leflunomide/teriflunomide inhibit Epstein-barr virus (EBV)-induced lymphoproliferative disease and lytic viral replication. Oncotarget. 2017 Jul 4;8(27):44266-44280.  doi: 10.18632/oncotarget.17863. PubMed PMID: 28574826.; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC5546479.

Kraus RJ, Yu X, Cordes BA, Sathiamoorthi S, Iempridee T, Nawandar DM, Ma S, Romero-Masters JC, McChesney KG, Lin Z, Makielski KR, Lee DL, Lambert PF, Johannsen EC, Kenney SC, Mertz JE. Hypoxia-inducible factor-1α plays roles in Epstein-Barr virus's natural life cycle and tumorigenesis by inducing lytic infection through direct binding to the immediate-early BZLF1 gene promoter. PLoS Pathog. 2017 Jun 15;13(6):e1006404. doi: 10.1371/journal.ppat.1006404. eCollection 2017 Jun. PubMed PMID: 28617871; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC5487075.

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.

Tikhmyanova N, Tutton S, Martin KA, Lu F, Kossenkov AV, Paparoidamis N, Kenney S, Salvino JM, Lieberman PM. Small molecule perturbation of the CAND1-Cullin1-ubiquitin cycle stabilizes p53 and triggers Epstein-Barr virus reactivation. PLoS Pathog. 2017 Jul 17;13(7):e1006517. doi: 10.1371/journal.ppat.1006517. eCollection 2017 Jul. PubMed PMID: 28715492; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC5531659.

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.

Zumwalde NA, Sharma A, Xu X, Ma S, Schneider CL, Romero-Masters JC, Hudson AW, Gendron-Fitzpatrick A, Kenney SC, Gumperz JE. Adoptively transferred Vγ9Vδ2 T cells show potent antitumor effects in a preclinical B cell lymphomagenesis model. JCI Insight. 2017 Jul 6;2(13). pii: 93179. doi: 10.1172/jci.insight.93179. eCollection 2017 Jul 6.  PubMed PMID: 28679955; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC5499361.


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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