|Contact Information |
William R. Kennedy, M.S., M.D.
Head of the Kennedy Research Laboratory
Primary Hospital Affiliations: University of Minnesota Medical Center, Fairview
Year of Appointment: 1964
Medical School: Marquette University, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Residency: Internal Medicine, Neurology, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota
Fellowship: Clinical Neurophysiology, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota
- Neuromuscular disease, Peripheral neuropathy,Cutaneous nerves (Skin Biopsy)
- Neurogenic disease of the GI tract
- Novel Medical Devices to quantify the Neurological Examination
- Bumps device for tactile (touch) sensation
- Dynamic Sweat Test (DST) quantify sweat gland number, distribution, rate and volume of every sweat gland
- Balance, rapid alternating motion others.
Research Interests: The main focus of the Kennedy Laboratory is to understand the reactivity of unmyelinated nerves of several organs to human disease. We are recognized for our pioneering work on imaging and diagnosis of unmyelinated nerves in the epidermis of the skin, particularly as applied to patients with painful small fiber sensory neuropathy and diabetic neuropathy. Specimens are obtained by 3 mm skin biopsies, stained using immunofluorescent staining and imaged in three dimensions by confocal microscopy. Quantification of nerves in the skin, mainly the epidermis and sweat glands, is computer assisted using customized software. Experimental work with humans and animals is often done to answer specific questions, for example, the effect of capsaicin on these nerves, disposition of nerves in baroreceptors.
Research on unmyelinated nerves in the gastrointestinal tract of patients is a more recent challenge. We have quantified the intrinsic nerves of the stomach in diabetic gastroparesis; and in constipated, non Hirschsprung disease, children. Diabetic patients who are candidates for a pancreas transplantation are of special interest.
We studied the mucosal nerves in infants with Hirschsprung’s disease and idiopathic chronic constipation. We believe that we were first to quantify nerves in the GI tract by use of stereology and validate with a nerve tracing program (AutoNeuron). We have also described and can endoscopically harvest Neuron stem cells in the submucosal plexus of the intestine.
We are the Beta site for development by MicroBrightField Biosciences Inc. We spent over a year helping with software that controls the confocal microscope to perform automated design based stereology. Other neuroscientists use the new instrument for stereology for their research.
Collaborations: Our research collaborators include several surgeons, adult and child gastroenterologists, a gastrointestinal pathologist, diabetologists, Gerontologists, dermatologists and neurologists at the University of Minnesota and in several high profile institutions. Usually one or two post doctoral fellows work in the laboratory with occasional Neurology residents who have individual projects.
Images and references are on our web site: http://kennedylab.med.umn.edu/