Andrew J. Kennedy

Andrew J. Kennedy

Assistant Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry


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

Google Scholar:

1. Celeste B. Greer, Shane G. Poplawski, Krassimira A. Garbett, Rebekah L. McMahan, Holly B. Kordasiewicz, Hien Zhao, Andrew J. Kennedy, Slavina B. Goleva, Teresa H. Sanders, S. Timothy Motley, Eric E. Swayze, David J. Ecker, Todd P. Michael, J. David Sweatt. An antisense oligonucleotide leads to suppressed transcriptional elongation of Hdac2 and long-term memory enhancement. 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, and Brady J. Maher. Defects of myelination are common pathophysiology in syndromic and idiopathic autism spectrum disorders. Submitted.

3. Gabriella N. L. Chua, Kelly L. Wassarman, Haoyu Sun, Joseph A. Alp, Emma I. Jarczyk, Nathanael J. Kuzio, Michael J. Bennett, Beth G. Malachowsky, Martin Kruse, Andrew J. Kennedy. Cytosine-based TET Enzyme Inhibitors. ACS Medicinal Chemistry Letters. 2019, 10(2), pp. 180-185. doi: 10.1021/acsmedchemlett.8b00474

4. Gilda Stefanelli, Amber B. Azam, Brandon J. Walters, Mark A. Brimble, Caroline P. Gettens, Pascale Bouchard-Cannon, Hai-Ying M. Cheng, Andrew M. Davidoff, Klotilda Narkaj, Jeremy J. Day, Andrew J. Kennedy, and Iva B. Zovkic. Learning and age-related changes in genome-wide H2A.Z binding in the mouse hippocampus. Cell Reports. 2018. Jan 30;22(5):1124-1131. doi: 10.1016/j.celrep.2018.01.020.

5. Katie L Bales, Lara Ianov, Andrew J Kennedy, J David Sweatt, Alecia K Gross. Autosomal dominant retinitis pigmentosa rhodopsin mutant Q344X drives specific alterations in chromatin complex gene transcription. Molecular Vision. 2018. Feb 15;24:153-164.

6. Alex R. Gogliettino and Andrew J. Kennedy. “Transcription Factor 4.” Encyclopedia of Signaling Molecules, Second Edition. 2018. doi: 10.1007/978-1-4614-6438-9_101934-1

7. Lara Ianov, Matt De Both, Monica Chawla, Asha Rani, Andrew J. Kennedy, Ignazio Piraz, Jeremy J Day, Ashley Siniard, Ashok Kumar, J. David Sweatt, Carol A Barnes, Matthew J Huentelman, Thomas C Foster. “Hippocampal transcriptomic profiles: Subfield vulnerability to age and cognitive impairment.” Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience. 2017. Dec 8;9:383. doi: 10.3389/fnagi.2017.00383.

8. Corey G. Duke, Andrew J. Kennedy, Cristin F. Gavin, Jeremy J. Day, & J. David Sweatt. “Experience-dependent epigenomic reorganization in the hippocampus.” Learning and Memory. 2017. Jun 15;24(7):278-288. doi: 10.1101/lm.045112.117.

9. 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, and J. David Sweatt. “Tcf4 regulates synaptic plasticity, DNA methylation, and memory function.” Cell Reports. 2016, 16 (10), 2666-2685. doi: 10.1016/j.celrep.2016.08.004

10. Andrew J. Kennedy, Alexandra Bruce, Catherine Gineste, Thomas E. Ballard, Igor Olekhnovich, Timothy L. Macdonald, and Paul Hoffman. “Synthesis and Antimicrobial Evaluation of Amixicile-Based Inhibitors of the Pyruvate: Ferredoxin Oxidoreductases of Anaerobic Bacteria and Epsilon Proteobacteria.” Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy. 2016, AAC. 00670-16. doi: 10.1128/AAC.00670-16

11. Andrew J. Kennedy and J. David Sweatt. “Drugging the methylome: DNA methylation and memory.” Crit Rev Biochem Mol Biol. 2016, Feb 25:1-10. doi: 10.3109/10409238.2016.1150958

12. 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.” J. Med. Chem. Let. 2016, 7 (5), pp 487–492. doi:10.1021/acsmedchemlett.6b00002

13. Jeremy J. Day*, Andrew J. Kennedy*, J. David Sweatt. “DNA methylation and its implication and accessibility for neuropsychiatric therapeutics.” Annual Review of Pharmacology and Toxicology. 2015, 55:591-611. doi: 10.1146/annurev-pharmtox-010814-124527

14. Vladimir Grubišić, Andrew J. Kennedy, J. David Sweatt and Vladimir Parpura. “Pitt-Hopkins mouse model has altered particular gastrointestinal transits in vivo.” Autism Research. 2015, Feb 26. doi: 10.1002/aur.1467

15. Dinesh Kumar, Milan Aggarwal, Garrett A. Kaas, John Lewis, Jing Wang, Daniel L. Ross, Chun Zhong, Andrew J. Kennedy, Hongjun Song and J. David Sweatt. “Tet1 Oxidase Regulates Neuronal Gene Transcription, Active DNA Hydroxy-methylation, Object Location Memory, and Threat Recognition Memory.” Neuroepigenetics. 2015, Oct 1;4:12-27. doi: 10.1016/j.nepig.2015. 10.002

16. 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 Reviews. 2014, Jan;34(1):45-76. doi: 10.1002/med.21276.

17. 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. Guerrant1, Timothy L. Macdonald, and Paul S. Hoffman. “Amixicile: A Novel Inhibitor of Pyruvate: Ferredoxin Oxidoreductase with Improved Bioavailability and Efficacy against Clostridium difficile in a Mouse Infection Model” Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy. 2012, 56(8), 4103-11. doi: 10.1128/AAC.00360-12.

18. Andrew J. Kennedy, Thomas P. Mathews, Yugesh Kharel, Saundra D. Field, Morgan L. Moyer, James E. East, Joseph D. Houck, Kevin R. Lynch, and Timothy L. Macdonald. “Development of Amidine-Based Sphingosine Kinase 1 Nanomolar Inhibitors and Reduction of Sphingosine 1-Phosphate in Human Leukemia Cells” J. Med. Chem. 2011, 54, 3524-3548. doi: 10.1021/jm2001053.

19. 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” Anal. Biochem. 2011, 411, 230-235. doi: 10.1016/j.ab.2011.01.003

20. 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.” J. Med. Chem.  2010, 53, 2766-2778. doi: 10.1021/jm901860h.

21. 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)” Bioorg. Med. Chem. Let. 2010, 20, 7132-7136. doi: 10.1016/j.bmcl.2010.09.030