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Ken Cornell, Ph.D.


Professor  |  Biochemistry
Phone: (208) 426-5429
Office: SCNC 320

Selected Publications and Presentations

Cornell Curriculum Vitae

Director of the Bioinformatics Core, INBRE program

Research focus: Vaccine development; Infectious diseases; Antibiotic development

Educational Background

  • Post-doctoral (Biochemistry/Immunology) | Portland VA Medical Center, 1997-1998
  • Ph.D. (Biochemistry) | Oregon Health & Sciences University, 1997
  • M.S. (Microbiology) | Wichita State University, 1985
  • B.S. (Microbiology) | Oregon State University, 1983


  • CHEM 350 Fundamentals of Biochemistry
  • CHEM 431 Biochemistry I
  • CHEM 432 Biochemistry Laboratory
  • CHEM 593 Thesis Research
  • BMOL 602 Biomolecules II
  • BMOL 693 Dissertation


An array of research projects are available for students to work on in my lab, including:


1. Antibiotic development targeting bacterial and parasite methionine salvage.

2. Farnesol metabolism in eukaryotic cells

3. Development of forensic reagents. One of the primary investigations in my lab is the identification of new targets for antimicrobial drug development. One area of focus is “quorum sensing”, a process in which bacteria secrete small molecules that accumulate and signal population wide changes in gene expression. Quorum sensing has been shown to govern coordinated production of such things as biofilms and virulence factors by bacterial populations. We have cloned and expressed the genes for several steps in a microbial methionine salvage pathway that leads to the synthesis of a quorum sensing molecule termed autoinducer II (AI-2). Students are currently working on projects to characterize the substrate specificity, kinetic parameters, and expression profiles for these enzymes. In addition, a number of compounds are being tested as specific enzyme inhibitors and for the ability to block quorum sensing dependent events like biofilm production and colonization in bacterial cultures.

Fellowships / Grants / Awards

Recent grant support includes:

1. “DNA Safeguard” (Co-investigator) Dept. of Defense Appropriations grant 11/01/06 – 10/31/07
2.“Development of Non-polar Electrical Field Flow Fractionation for Membrane Protein Purification” (Principle investigator) Boise State University Faculty Research Grant 07/15/06 – 07/14/07
3. “A Preparative Scale Ultracentrifuge for the College of Arts and Sciences” (Principle Investigator). NSF EPSCoR Research Infrastructure Grant/ Boise State University 09/01/06
4.“Development of Novel Antimicrobial Catheters” (Principle Investigator) NIH R43AI061894. 11/01/05 – 4/30/06
5.“Methylthioribose kinase inhibitors as herbicides and anti-senescence agents in plants” (Principle Investigator). USDA (02-0047) 12/02-6/03

Recent student support for work in my lab:

1. Mountain States Tumor Institute (Jacob Jones, 2005)
2. Merck Foundation (Comfort Hines, 2004-2005; Lee Rooney, 2005; Jeremiah Hull, 2006; Maria Martinez, 2006)
3. INBRE Summer fellowships (Chelsea Isom, 2005, 2006; Andre Rudyi, 2006; Christy Mackenzie, 2005; Brad Hansen, 2006).