Dr Gwen Kennedy

Manager of the Immunoassay Biomarker Core Laboratory

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Gwen Kennedy obtained her BSc Honours degree in Pharmacology from University of Dundee (1992) and then went on to undertake a PhD sponsored by Pfizer Central Ltd. The title of her thesis was “Cell Adhesion Molecules: Levels, Roles and Interactions”. 

Gwen has had various Postdoctoral research assistant and Principal Investigator posts within the University Department of Medicine, University of Dundee funded mainly by various charities and pharmaceutical companies. 

For a couple of years Gwen was also the Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Studies Trial Manager for the Inflammatory and Diseases Research Unit, Ninewells Hospital, Dundee.  

In 2005 Gwen became the Director of Thrombosis Laboratory, The Institute of Cardiovascular Research, Ninewells Hospital, Dundee and was awarded a 5 year Sir John Fisher Fellowship in 2010.  

In addition to the above post in July 2012 Gwen became the manager for the Immunoassay Biomarker Core Laboratory.  

As manager of the Immunoassay Biomarker Core Laboratory Gwen’s key role is to offer and provide research which supports and promotes both the School of Medicine’s mission “to understand the underlying causes of common diseases and healthcare problems – and develop interventions and therapies that will impact both patient care and quality of life”, as well as the research areas “our world class research strengths in cancer, cardiovascular disease & diabetes, informatics & public health, neuroscience and imaging”. 

The Immunoassay Biomarker Core Laboratory provides immunoassay determinations in biological fluids, specimen processing, sample re-formatting and sample logistics for both internal and external collaborators and clients.  

Gwen has over 50 published papers with an average of 100 citations of these papers per year for the past decade. In addition another 50 publications from presenting research at international and national conferences.

A few of Dr Gwen Kennedy’s Publications: 

  1. Innes AJ, Kennedy G, McLaren M, Bancroft A, Belch JJF. Dark chocolate inhibits platelet aggregation in healthy volunteers.  Platelets 2003: 14(5); 325-327
    • Cardiovascular disease is a leading cause of death in the UK. The flavonoids found in cocoa may produce a cardio-protective role for chocolate with a high cocoa content. The study found that in the future dark chocolate may have a role in prevention of cardiovascular and thromboembolic diseases
  2. Kennedy G, Abbot NC, Spence VA, Underwood C, Belch JJF. The specificity of the CDC-1994 criteria for chronic fatigue syndrome: comparison of health status of health in three groups of patients who fulfil the criteria. Annals of Epidemiology 2004: 14(2); 95-100
    • This paper highlighted the lack of specificity of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC)-1994 definition of chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) by comparing three groups of patients, all of whom fulfil the criteria but self-report different aetiologies. Significant differences in simple clinical measures and outcome measures were observed between groups.  Since 2007 CFS in the UK has been defined by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE)
  3. Kennedy G, Underwood C, Belch JJF. The physical and functional impairment of chronic fatigue syndrome/ myalgic encephalomyelitis in childhood. Pediatrics 2010; 125 (6); e1324-e1330
    • Children with CFS/ME scored significantly lower for 10 of 14 Child Health Questionnaire concepts compared with the control group. In addition to the quality of life of children with CFS/ME being profoundly reduced, compared with that of their healthy counterparts it also compared unfavourably with previously published results for paediatric patients with type 1 diabetes mellitus or asthma.
  4. Rao A, Wilson M, Kennedy G, Mittapalli D, Tait I, Alijani A. Spot urinary 5-hydroxyindoleacetic acid is not an ideal diagnostic test for acute appendicitis. American Journal of Emergency Medicine 2016; 34(9): 1750-1753
    • Acute appendicitis is one of the most common surgical emergencies, especially in children and young adults. The diagnosis of appendicitis is difficult, and only half of the cases are correctly identified. The aim of the study was to establish whether urinary 5-HIAA could be used as an effective diagnostic test for appendicitis. As well as determining if there was an association between urinary 5-HIAA and the degree of inflammation of the appendicitis. Although urinary 5-HIAA was higher in the groups who had acute appendicitis there was no significant differences in the levels of 5-HIAA between different grades of severity of appendicitis.
  5. Siddiqui MK, Kennedy G,  Carr F, Doney ASF , Pearson EZ , Morris AD, Johnson T, McLaughlin MM, Williams R, Palmer CAN. Lp-PLA2 activity is associated with increased risk of diabetic retinopathy: a longitudinal disease progression study. Diabetologia (2018). ttps://doi.org/10.1007/s00125-018-4601-7
    • Diabetic retinopathy is a leading cause of vision loss and blindness in the working age population (20–74 years of age) of most developed countries. Studies have shown that high levels of blood lipids (fats), glucose (sugar) and blood pressure contribute to the pathogenesis of diabetic retinopathy. Lipoprotein-associated phospholipase A2 (Lp-PLA2) is a vascular-specific, pro-inflammatory enzyme that binds to plasma lipids. We found that higher Lp-PLA2 levels are associated with increased risk of death and the development of diabetic retinopathy, as well as changes of progression into more severe grades of diabetic retinopathy.