Andrew J. Kennedy (on sabbatical Fall 2019)

Assistant Professor of Chemistry & 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. 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, and 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 Reports2018. 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, and Alecia K Gross. Autosomal dominant retinitis pigmentosa rhodopsin mutant Q344X drives specific alterations in chromatin complex gene transcription. Molecular Vision2018. 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, and Thomas C Foster. “Hippocampal transcriptomic profiles: Subfield vulnerability to age and cognitive impairment.” Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience2017. Dec 8;9:383. doi: 10.3389/fnagi.2017.00383.
  8. Corey G. Duke, Andrew J. Kennedy, Cristin F. Gavin, Jeremy J. Day, and J. David Sweatt. “Experience-dependent epigenomic reorganization in the hippocampus.” Learning and Memory2017. 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 Reports2016, 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 Chemotherapy2016, AAC. 00670-16. doi: 10.1128/AAC.00670-16
  1. 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
  2. Joseph D. Houck, Thomas K. DawsonAndrew J. Kennedy, Yugesh Kharel, Niels D. Naimon, Saundra D. Field, Kevin R. Lynch, and 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
  3. Jeremy J. Day, Andrew J. Kennedy, and 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
  4. Vladimir Grubišić, Andrew J. Kennedy, J. David Sweatt, and Vladimir Parpura. “Pitt-Hopkins mouse model has altered particular gastrointestinal transits in vivo.” Autism Research2015, Feb 26. doi: 10.1002/aur.1467
  5. 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;4:12-27doi: 10.1016/j.nepig.2015. 10.002
  6. James E. East, Andrew J. Kennedy, and 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.
  7. 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, and 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.
  8. 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.
  9. Yugesh, Kharel, Thomas P. Mathews, Andrew J. Kennedy, Joseph D. Houck, Timothy L. Macdonald, and 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
  10. Thomas P. Mathews, Andrew J. Kennedy, Yugesh Kharel, Perry C. Kennedy, Oana Nicoara, Manjula Sunkara, Andrew J. Morris, Brain Wamhoff, Kevin Lynch, and 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.
  1. James E. East, Andrew J. Kennedy, Jose L. Tomsig, Alexandra R. De Leon, Kevin R. Lynch, and 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