Palmer was born and raised in London by parents who emigrated from Jamaica. He is Associate Professor of Immunology at Royal Veterinary College where he researches aging of the immune system. He studies cellular and molecular interactions in T cell development using technologies such as antibody phage display which he also uses to identify cell surface structures on tumours. Palmer has over 45 scientific publications and has made novel discoveries of senescent cells in the thymus of older animals and observed age-related differences in phenotype and function of thymocytes.
Before joining RVC, Palmer completed his PhD at King's College London and two postdoctoral fellowships at Cancer Research UK and Imperial College. He is also passionate about outreach work and has developed and teaches a Biology Masterclass for Year 12 and 13 students that includes lectures, practicals, as well as guidance on university applications. Palmer is a member of the British Society for Immunology (BSI), and has previously served as a board member of the BSI council. He is on the Editorial Advisory Board for Immunology News and is also a member of the British Society for Research on Ageing.