Paul J. Kenny, Ph.D.
Associate Professor with Tenure
B.A., Biochemistry, Trinity College Dublin, Ireland, 1996
Ph.D., Neuropsychopharmacology, University of London, 2000
Department of Molecular Therapeutics
Department of Neuroscience
The Scripps Research Institute
130 Scripps Way 2A2
Jupiter, Florida 33458
Our research is focused on understanding the neurobiological mechanisms of drug addiction, obesity and schizophrenia, with an emphasis on the role of nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (nAChRs) in these processes. We employ a multidisciplinary approach that includes complex behavioral paradigms, physiological analyses and molecular biological techniques. Current projects include the utilization of vector-based delivery systems to modify gene expression in the brains of rodents to identify novel signaling cascades that may play a role in addiction-like behaviors.
Fowler CD, Lu Q, Johnson PM Marks MJ & Kenny PJ (2011) Habenular α5* nicotinic receptor signaling controls nicotine intake. Nature 471(7340):597-601.
Kenny PJ (2011) Reward mechanisms in obesity: New insights and future directions. Neuron 69:664-79.
Im H-I, Hollander JA, Bali P & Kenny PJ (2010) MeCP2 controls BDNF expression and cocaine intake through homeostatic interactions with microRNA-212. Nature Neuroscience 13(9):1120-7.
Schaefer A, Im H-I, Venø MT, Fowler CD, Min A, Intrator A, Kjems J, Kenny PJ, O’Carroll D & Greengard P (2010) Argonaute 2 in dopamine 2 receptor expressing neurons regulates cocaine addiction. Journal of Experimental Medicine 207(9):1843-51.
Hollander JA, Im H-I, Amelio A, Kocerha J, Bali P, Lu Q, Willoughby D, Wahlestedt C, Conkright M & Kenny PJ (2010) Striatal microRNA controls cocaine intake through regulation of CREB signaling. Nature 466, 197–202.
Johnson P & Kenny PJ (2010) Dopamine D2 receptors in addiction-like reward dysfunction and compulsive eating in obese rats. Nature Neuroscience 13(5):635-41.
Kocerha J, Huang J, Faghihi MA, Willoughby D, Orum H, Elmen J, Kauppinen S, Kenny PJ & Wahlestedt C (2009) MicroRNA-219 modulates NMDA receptor mediated neurobehavioral dysfunction. Proc Natl Acad Sci, USA 106(9):3507-12.
Hollander JA, Lu Q, Cameron MD, Kamenecha T & Kenny PJ (2008) Insular hypocretin transmission regulates nicotine reward. Proc Natl Acad Sci, USA 105(49):19480-5.
Faghihi MA, Khalid A, Huang J, Modarresi F, Wood DE, Sahagan BG, Morgan TE, Finch CE, Kenny PJ & Wahlestedt C (2008) A noncoding RNA is elevated in Alzheimer’s disease and drives rapid feed-forward regulation of β-secretase expression. Nature Medicine 14:723-730.
Kenny PJ (2007) Brain reward systems and compulsive drug use. Trends in Pharmacological Sciences 28:135-141.
Awards, Recognition, Appointments, and Honors
2001-2003 Post-Doctoral Fellowship, The Peter F. McManus Charitable Trust.
2001 Young Scientist Travel Award, from the International Society for Neurochemistry, to attend the Neurochemistry Winter Conference, Sölden, Austria.
2004 Young Investigator Travel Award, American College of Neuropsychopharmacology (ACNP) meeting.
2004-2006 Young Investigator Travel Award,National Alliance for Research on Schizophrenia and Depression (NARSAD).
2007 Travel Award, Winter College on Brain Research (WCBR), Snowmass, Colorado.
2007-2010 New Investigator Research (NIR) Award, James and Esther King Biomedical Research Program, Florida Department of Health.
2009 Elected Full Member, American College of Neuropsychopharmacology (ACNP).
2010 Jarvik-Russell Young Investigator Award (2010), Society for Research on Nicotine and Tobacco (SRNT).
2010 Jacob P. Waletzky Memorial Award , Society for Neuroscience (SfN).
Member of the Board of Scientific Counselors (BSC) for the NIDA Intramural Research Program.
Member of the Molecular Neurogenetics Study Section [MNG]
Editorial Board member of Neuropsychopharmacology, Neuropharmacology, Frontiers in Behavioural Neuroscience.