Andrew J. Kennedy

Organic Chemistry

Andrew J. Kennedy

Assistant Professor of Chemistry


Chemistry and Biochemistry

Dana Chemistry Hall, Room 322




  • BA, Chemistry, Providence College (2005)
  • PhD, Medicinal Chemistry, University of Virginia (2011)
  • Postdoctoral Fellowship, Neurobiology, McKnight Brain Institute, University of Alabama at Birmingham (2016)


Courses Taught

  • CH/NS 320 Mechanisms of Memory
  • CHEM 217 Organic Chemistry I / Lab
  • CHEM 218 Organic Chemistry II / Lab
  • CHEM 325 Advanced Organic Chemistry
  • CHEM s42 Chemical Synthesis & Reactivity / Lab


Research Interests

My research interest is to understand the chemical mechanisms that encode and maintain long-term memory. Currently, we investigate how learning imprints information onto the epigenome of participating neurons, and how these experientially-driven changes to the structure of the genome affect the expression of genes that facilitate plasticity. Using gene knockout models, antisense oligonucleotides, novel small molecules, and site-directed EpiTALEs, we probe the function of epigenetic modifying enzymes in and specific epigenetic markers of memory function. A major goal of our laboratory is to develop therapies that manipulate the epigenome to enhance cognition in cases of intellectual disability and memory in Alzheimer’s disease.

Selected Publications

  1. Mikael C. Guzman-Karlsson, Leland L. Fleming, Jordan A. Brown, Fatamata Sesay, John W. Lewis, Cristin F. Gavin, Rebekah L. Lifer, Kim E. Hawkins, Cassie Holleman, Jessica L. Posey, Holly B. Kordasiewicz, S. Timothy B. Motley, Eric E. Swayze, David J. Ecker, Todd P. Michael, Andrew J. Kennedy, Jeremy J. Day, Erik D. Roberson, & J. David Sweatt. “Genome-Wide Transcription and DNA Methylation Profiling in an APP Mouse Model of Alzheimer’s Disease.” Submitted
  2. BaDoi N. Phan, Stephanie Cerceo Page, Morganne N. Campbell, Joseph F. Bohlen, Courtney L. Thaxton, Jeremy M. Simon, Emily E. Burke, Joo Heon Shin, Andrew J. Kennedy, David Sweatt, Benjamin D. Philpot, Andrew E. Jaffe, & Brady J. Maher. “Defects of myelination are common pathophysiology in syndromic and idiopathic autism spectrum disorders.” Submitted.
  3. Corey G. Duke, Andrew J. Kennedy, Cristin F. Gavin, Jeremy J. Day, & J. David Sweatt. “Experience-dependent epigenomic reorganization in the hippocampus.” Learning and Memory2017In press.
  4. Alex R. Gogliettino & Andrew J. Kennedy. “Transcription Factor 4.” Encyclopedia of Signaling Molecules, Second Edition. 2016. doi: 10.1007/978-1-4614-6438-9_101934-1
  5. Andrew J. Kennedy, Elizabeth J. Rahn, Brynna S. Paulukaitis, Holly B. Kordasiewicz, Jing Wang, John W. Lewis, Jessica P. Watson, Sarah K. Strange, Mikael C. Guzman-Karlsson, Scott E. Phillips, S. Timothy Motley, Eric E. Swayze, David J. Ecker, Jeremy J. Day, Todd P. Michael, &J. David Sweatt. “Tcf4 regulates synaptic plasticity, DNA methylation, and memory function.” Cell Reports2016, 16 (10), 2666-2685. doi: 1016/j.celrep.2016.08.004
  6. Andrew J. Kennedy, Alexandra Bruce, Catherine Gineste, Thomas E. Ballard, Igor Olekhnovich, Timothy L. Macdonald, & Paul Hoffman. “Synthesis and Antimicrobial Evaluation of Amixicile-Based Inhibitors of the Pyruvate: Ferredoxin Oxidoreductases of Anaerobic Bacteria and Epsilon Proteobacteria.” Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy2016, AAC. 00670-16. doi: 10.1128/AAC.00670-16
  7. Andrew J. Kennedy & J. David Sweatt. “Drugging the methylome: DNA methylation and memory.” Crit Rev Biochem Mol Biol. 2016Feb 25:1-10. doi: 10.3109/10409238.2016.1150958
  8. Joseph D. Houck, Thomas K. Dawson, Andrew J. Kennedy, Yugesh Kharel, Niels D. Naimon, Saundra D. Field, Kevin R. Lynch, & Timothy L. Macdonald. “Structural requirements and docking analysis of amidine-based sphingosine kinase 1 inhibitors containing oxadiazoles.” Chem. Let. 2016, 7(5), pp 487–492. doi:10.1021/acsmedchemlett.6b00002
  9. Jeremy J. Day, Andrew J. Kennedy, & J. David Sweatt. “DNA methylation and its implication and accessibility for neuropsychiatric therapeutics.” Annual Review of Pharmacology and Toxicology2015, 55:591-611. doi: 10.1146/annurev-pharmtox-010814-124527
  10. Vladimir Grubišić, Andrew J. Kennedy, J. David Sweatt, & Vladimir Parpura. “Pitt-Hopkins mouse model has altered particular gastrointestinal transits in vivo.” Autism Research2015, Feb 26. doi: 10.1002/aur.1467
  11. Dinesh Kumar, Milan Aggarwal, Garrett A. Kaas, John Lewis, Jing Wang, Daniel L. Ross, Chun Zhong, Andrew J. Kennedy, Hongjun Song, & J. David Sweatt. “Tet1 Oxidase Regulates Neuronal Gene Transcription, Active DNA Hydroxy-methylation, Object Location Memory, and Threat Recognition Memory.” 2015, Oct 1;4:12-27doi: 10.1016/j.nepig.2015.10.002
  12. James E. East, Andrew J. Kennedy, & Tonya J. Webb. “Raising the roof:  The preferential pharmacological stimulation of Th1 and Th2 responses mediated by NKT cells.” Medical Research Reviews2014, Jan;34(1):45-76.doi: 10.1002/med.21276.
  13. Cirle A. Warren, Edward van Opstal, T. Eric Ballard, Andrew J. Kennedy, Xia Wang, Mary Riggins, Igor Olekhnovich, Michelle Warthan, Glynis L. Kolling, Richard L. Guerrant, Timothy L. Macdonald, & Paul S. Hoffman. “Amixicile: A Novel Inhibitor of Pyruvate: Ferredoxin Oxidoreductase with Improved Bioavailability and Efficacy against Clostridium difficilein a Mouse Infection Model” Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy. 201256(8), 4103-11. doi: 10.1128/AAC.00360-12.
  14. Andrew J. Kennedy, Thomas P. Mathews, Yugesh Kharel, Saundra D. Field, Morgan L. Moyer, James E. East, Joseph D. Houck, Kevin R. Lynch, & Timothy L. Macdonald. “Development of Amidine-Based Sphingosine Kinase 1 Nanomolar Inhibitors and Reduction of Sphingosine 1-Phosphate in Human Leukemia Cells”  Chem2011, 54, 3524-3548. doi: 10.1021/jm2001053.
  15. Yugesh, Kharel, Thomas P. Mathews, Andrew J. Kennedy, Joseph D. Houck, Timothy L. Macdonald, & Kevin R. Lynch. “A rapid assay for the assessment of sphingosine kinase inhibitors and substrates” Biochem2011, 411, 230-235. doi: 10.1016/j.ab.2011.01.003
  16. Thomas P. Mathews, Andrew J. Kennedy, Yugesh Kharel, Perry C. Kennedy, Oana Nicoara, Manjula Sunkara, Andrew J. Morris, Brain Wamhoff, Kevin Lynch, & Timothy L. MacDonald. “Discovery, Biological Evaluation and Structure-Activity Relationship of Amidine-Based Sphingosine Kinase Inhibitors.”  Chem. 2010, 53, 2766-2778. doi: 10.1021/jm901860h.
  17. James E. East, Andrew J. Kennedy, Jose L. Tomsig, Alexandra R. De Leon, Kevin R. Lynch, & Timothy L. MacDonald. “Synthesis and structure-activity relationships of tyrosine-based inhibitors of autotaxin (ATX)”  Chem. Let. 2010, 20, 7132-7136. doi: 10.1016/j.bmcl.2010.09.030