Richard Kennedy, PhD

Richard Kennedy, PhD

phone: 507-284-0708


Co-Director, Vaccine Research Group, Professor of Medicine, Department of Internal Medicine, Mayo Clinic


200 First Street SW
Rochester, MN 55905



B.S. Brigham Young University
Ph.D. Mayo Clinic College of Medicine

Research interest: 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.