Rochester, Minnesota


Richard B. Kennedy, Ph.D., studies the development of immune responses after vaccination. His research focuses primarily on vaccines against viral pathogens, such as poxviruses, influenza, measles and rubella. The goal of these efforts is to understand why some individuals develop robust immunity while others experience adverse events or fail to respond to a vaccine.

Focus areas

  • Studying the role of host genetic variation in viral vaccine response
  • Identifying human leukocyte antigen class I and II epitopes for viral pathogens
  • Optimizing and testing epitope-based vaccines that incorporate a variety of immunostimulatory adjuvants
  • Investigating the effects of age and immunosenescence on influenza and vaccine-induced immunity
  • Elucidating the role of microRNAs on natural killer (NK) cells and T cell responses to viral vaccines
  • Utilizing systems biology and vaccinomics approaches to better understand the complex interactions that occur during the development of vaccine response with the goal of predicting and controlling vaccine-induced immune responses and adverse events

Significance to patient care

Dr. Kennedy's research goal is to better understand how immune responses develop after vaccination. This knowledge can be applied toward improving current vaccines, understanding the causes of and thereby avoiding vaccine adverse events, and informing the development of novel vaccines that protect against existing and newly emerging pathogens.

Professional highlights

  • Robert and Arlene Kogod Center on Aging Award: The Impact of Age on Vaccine-Induced Activation of Human Inflammasome Complexes and Adaptive Immunity Against Influenza Virus, Mayo Clinic, 2014-2016
  • Discovery Translation Program Award: Translating the Discovery of Immunogenic Measles Peptides into a Candidate Measles Vaccine, Mayo Clinic, 2014-2016
  • Editorial board, American Journal of Bioterrorism, Biosecurity and Biodefense, 2014-present
  • Member, American Association of Immunologists, 2013-present
  • Principal investigator, Systems biology assessment of influenza A/pH1N1 vaccination in an Indian cohort, U.S.-India Bilateral Collaborative Research Grants on Human Immune Phenotyping and Infectious Disease, Human Immunology Project Consortium, 2013-present
  • Principal investigator, IOF Grant: CD8+ and NK cell miRNA expression patterns in older adults following influenza A vaccination, Human Immunology Project Consortium, 2014-2015


Administrative Appointment

  1. Associate Consultant II-Research, Division of General Internal Medicine, Department of Internal Medicine
  2. Associate Consultant II-Research, Department of Immunology

Academic Rank

  1. Professor of Medicine


  1. PhD Immunology, Programs, Mayo Graduate School, Mayo Clinic College of Medicine
  2. Predoctoral Student Immunology, Programs, Mayo Graduate School, Mayo Clinic College of Medicine
  3. BS - Microbiology Minors in Chemistry and Italian Brigham Young University

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