- Associate Professor of Lab Medicine and Pathology
Dr. Kennedy is an Associate Professor in the Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology. He has a strong interest in the role of the fidelity mechanisms that cells employ to maintain genetic information and the ways these mechanisms are involved in diseases of aging. Research in the Kennedy lab focuses on developing and using Next-Generation Sequencing (NGS) methods and techniques to detect the occurrence of rare mutagenic events. One method, termed Duplex Sequencing, is an extremely accurate method for DNA sequencing that has revolutionized the ability to detect extremely low frequency somatic mutations in a large wild-type background. A major focus of using Duplex Sequencing has focused on somatic mtDNA mutations in a variety of diseases and animal models. The long-term goal is to understand the molecular mechanisms that govern the generation of and response to de novo mutations in the mitochondrial genome.
Dr. Kennedy also continues to develop new approaches to Duplex Sequencing that allows for lower amounts of DNA, thus opening research avenues not previously possible with the original protocols. This has recently extended to taking advantage of recent advances in high throughput single-cell technologies and how they can be extended and applied to directly studying mtDNA heteroplasmy, which, to date, has not been well explored.
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 pre- and post-doctoral mentorship.