Dr. Peter Kennedy is the Burton Professor of
Neurology and Head of the University Department
of Neurology at the Institute of Neurological Sciences in
Glasgow, Scotland. Dr. Kennedy received his M.D.,
Ph.D. and D.Sc. degrees from the University of London.
In the fullest sense of the word, Dr. Kennedy is truly an
outstanding clinician-scientist and academic leader. He
was the first to show that all the major human neural cell
types could be unambiguously identified in vitro using
cell-type specific antigenic markers. In this context, Dr.
Kennedy's studies in the 1980's established methods by
which nervous system cells could be distinguished from
one another thus providing powerful tools that have
been used to increase our understanding of cell-specific
response to infection, immune-mediated challenge and
other CNS disorders.
In addition, Dr. Kennedy provided the first
demonstration of the existence of the human equivalent
of the rodent bipotential 0-2A progenitor cell. He has
made major discoveries regarding the pathogeneses of
visna infection of sheep, settled a longstanding
controversy in varicella zoster virus (VZV) latency
regarding viral location, and has conducted pioneering
studies of VZV gene expression during latency, including
microarray analysis of viral gene expression during productive infection and more recently, the
pathogenesis of post-herpetic neuralgia.
Dr. Kennedy has also studied numerous aspects
of human African trypanosomiasis (sleeping
sickness). In the critically acclaimed book, The Fatal
Sleep, which reflects upon over 30 years of a
historical medical quest, Dr. Kennedy describes the
effects of the insect vector, the tsetse fly, on the CNS
and draws the reader into the struggle to treat victims
in remote and often dangerous regions of the world.
He also takes the reader on a dramatic journey seen
through the eyes of a physician-scientist by describing
his experiences with strikingly vivid accounts. Dr.
Kennedy conveys a sense of urgency to defeat
sleeping sickness as he weaves a true story of battles
fought both clinically and economically, as
trypanosomiasis impacts greatly on cattle farming,
which is the livelihood of the majority of people
He discovered the critical role of early astrocyte
activation in generating the inflammatory response,
explained the significance of subcurative
chemotherapy, and discovered the key function of the
neuropeptide Substance P in generating the
inflammatory response in trypanosomiasis. His group
reported the first use of cranial MRI to visualize bloodbrain
barrier breakdown in experimental
trypanosomiasis. These efforts have led to the development of a new form of melarsoprol to treat
sleeping sickness that should enter clinical trials soon.
Based upon a highly reproducible mouse model of
human African trypanosomiasis (HAT), his group is
currently investigating the post-reactive treatment
encephalopathy that occurs in about 10% of HAT
patients receiving melarsoprol. The goals of this line
of research include understanding the potential
contributions of pro- and anti-inflammatory
components of disease and host response, developing
better imaging techniques to assess blood-brain
barrier dynamics, and devising improved therapies to
treat late stage HAT. Dr. Kennedy has received
considerable support over the years from the
Wellcome Trust, the Medical Research Council, the
MS Society and recently, the Bill and Melinda Gates
Foundation. He is a fellow of both the Royal Society
of Edinburgh and the Academy of Medical Sciences.
Dr. Kennedy has received numerous research awards
and was most recently appointed a Commander of the
Order of the British Empire for 'services to clinical
science', a truly exceptional honor for a UK scientist.
He is also a well known past President of the
International Society for NeuroVirology, serving from
2004 to 2009. The ISNV is pleased to host Dr.
Kennedy for the inaugural Audrey Steinman Gilden