Sahlin Award for Research
 
While in veterinary school, Guy Palmer, Regents professor of veterinary microbiology and pathology and 2007-08 Sahlin Faculty Excellence Award for Research recipient, would regularly drive all night from Kansas to Colorado for a weekend of skiing — and that is just a hobby.
 
So his enthusiastic dedication to his work at WSU is no surprise. He is known worldwide for his research examining how microbial pathogens persist and evade the immune response.
 
He is researching the antigenic variation of vector-borne pathogens similar to those that cause sleeping sickness and malaria at the in-host and population levels.
 
His research is supported by the National Institutes of Health and the UK’s Wellcome Trust, and it has appeared in more than 180 publications. In 2006, the National Academy of Sciences elected Palmer a member.
 
He is glad his research, highlighted during advertisements for WSU on National Public Radio, brings recognition to the university, but is quick to share the credit with others.
 
“The tendency of people is to think I did all this research on my own — which is definitely not true,” he said.
 
Palmer comes by his humility honestly. As a teen he harbored fantasies of a football career that ultimately did not work out.
 
“The switch from athletics to science was made with the advice of various coaches,” he said. “I had great enthusiasm, I just lacked the talent.”
 
But not in science.
 
“He is an excellent teacher, mentors graduate students through their Ph.D. programs in an outstanding manner, designs experiments, completes them and publishes them in top-tier refereed journals, and secures very significant extramural research funding,” said David Prieur, professor and chair of veterinary microbiology and pathology. “Dr. Palmer ‘makes it look easy,’ although all of us who know him understand how much effort and commitment he applies to his work.”
 
Palmer, however, sees all of this as recognition for his colleagues and students.
 
“They make research more fun and they push me to the edge of my knowledge,” he said. “This is what makes you ask new questions and pushes you to innovation.”
 
About the awards
 
Sahlin awards recognize faculty who epitomize the highest levels of performance and excellence in the pursuit of WSU’s goals, including developing or revitalizing public service programs and enhancing the public’s appreciation of WSU.