Peter Kennedy M.D., Ph.D.
University of Glasgow

2018 recipient of the
ISNV Pioneer in NeuroVirology Award

Peter Kennedy is a world leader in neurovirology. He originally showed that all the major human neural cell types could be unambiguously identified using cell-type specific markers, and demonstrated the existence of the human equivalent of the rodent bipotential 0-2A progenitor cell, findings which proved vital in determining the CNS cellular and immune responses to viral infections. He discovered the significance of a unique lentivirus-induced interferon in visna-maedi infection, and reported the first use of combined cellular and viral markers to determine neural cell susceptibility to HSV and JCV infection. He has contributed powerfully to Varicella Zoster virus (VZV) research, settling a longstanding controversy when he demonstrated unequivocally latent VZV in human neurons. He also carried out seminal studies of latent VZV gene expression in humans and animals, including the development of long oligonucleotide VZV microarrays, and discovered a novel sodium channel modulating effect of VZV associated with post-herpetic neuralgia. He first demonstrated that CMV plays a primary role in the severe retinitis in HIV patients, and carried out important studies of HHV-6, 7, 8 and EBV in multiple sclerosis brains.

Dr. Kennedy has published over 200 peer-reviewed articles, and has received numerous research awards, most recently the Sir James Black Medal of the Royal Society of Edinburgh (RSE). He was also appointed a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) by The Queen in 2010 for “services to clinical science,” which was an outstanding honor and recognition of his scientific accomplishments. He was appointed in 1987 to the position of Burton Chair and Head of the Glasgow University Department of Neurology (a position that he held for 29 years) and is currently Professor and Senior Research Fellow at Glasgow. He is a fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences and the RSE. He was a founding member of the ISNV and served as its president for two terms (2004-2010). He was personally responsible for setting up the infrastructure of the original sub-committees that are now integral to the ISNV. Dr. Kennedy also provided oversight and considerable support of both the Women in NeuroVirology initiative and the lecturing and travel awards offered to trainees. He started the UK’s first joint neurological infections clinic to manage patients with neuroinfectious diseases, especially those with HIV infection, and has played a key leadership role in establishing the discipline of neurovirology in the UK.