UW Medicine

Scott Kennedy

Scott Kennedy


Assistant Professor of Lab Medicine and Pathology

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Mitochondrial mutagenesis in aging and neurodegeneration

Dr. Kennedy is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Lab Medicine and Pathology. Dr. Kennedy has a long standing interest in elucidating how somatic mutations, primarily focused on the mitochondrial genome, influence aging and age associated diseases, such as neurodegeneration.

During his post-doctoral training with Dr. Lawrence A. Loeb he developed an ultra-high accuracy sequencing methodology, termed Duplex Sequencing [1]. Subsequently, he has been using this method to study mitochondrial mutagenesis in the context of aging and neurodegeneration. He showed that point mutations in the mitochondrial genome increase with age and early stages of dementia, but the mutational spectrum is inconsistent with them being caused by oxidative DNA damage [2]. Most recently, Dr. Kennedy has also received research support from the Department of Defense to study how mitochondrial DNA mutations are transmitted through the female germline and how they affect organismal health and aging. During his post-doctoral fellowship, Dr. Kennedy was a trainee on the Genetic Approaches to Aging Training Program for a period of 3 years, giving him a personal insight to the importance of strong predoctoral mentorship.

1. Kennedy SR et al. (2014) Detecting ultralow-frequency mutations by Duplex Sequencing Nat Protoc 9:2586-2606 doi:10.1038/nprot.2014.170

2. Kennedy SR, Salk JJ, Schmitt MW, Loeb LA (2013) Ultra-sensitive sequencing reveals an age-related increase in somatic mitochondrial mutations that are inconsistent with oxidative damage PLoS Genet 9:e1003794 doi:10.1371/journal.pgen.1003794