Asking the good, focused question
Once a Coug, always a Coug. Guy Palmer, professor of veterinary microbiology and pathology, completed his Ph.D. at WSU and left to work for the University of Florida. But when a job opened in 1988, Palmer returned to WSU.
“I wanted to live in the Northwest for recreational purposes and I knew there was strong research infrastructure at WSU,” he said. “When the position came open it was a pretty easy decision; my personal and professional (goals) came together pretty nicely.”
Palmer’s research focuses on patterns of infectious disease transmission and pathogen emergence along with strategies for vaccine development.
“I am motivated by a desire to find out the unknown. You can ask a small question and it will lead to a piece of the puzzle,” said Palmer. “You slowly understand what a good question to ask is, and your answers then become more meaningful.”
Palmer’s research garners the attention of some pretty big fans. He is recipient of the SmithKline Beecham Award for Research Excellence and the Merck Award for Creativity. He serves as a science adviser for both the National Institutes of Health and the UK’s Wellcome Trust. He was elected to National Academy of Sciences membership in the Institute of Medicine, one of the highest honors for those in the biomedical research and public health fields.
“I think WSU is unique,” Palmer said. “We have the faculty drive to do outstanding research but in a collegial manner — everyone is always rooting for you. You want to be better by having everyone do well, not just you.”
As a result of his dedication to the field and the university, Palmer is receiving another award — Regents professor.
“This is such an honor because there are so many great faculty at WSU,” he said. “There are people all across the university just as deserving of this recognition as I am.”