FRAME has appointed a new Director to oversee its research programme at the Nottingham office. Dr Gerry Kenna is a drug safety scientist with extensive industrial safety assessment experience, including 11 years in the pharmaceutical industry. Prior to that he had a highly successful academic career. He is recognised nationally and internationally in the field of human adverse drug reactions.
He said: “I am very excited about the prospect of working with FRAME. It is a successful and respected organisation with a long history of excellent work in the field of alternatives to animal-based research, and I am pleased that I am going to be part of it.”
He studied for a BSc in Biochemistry at the University of Leeds and followed that with a PhD in Biochemistry from the National Institute for Medical Research/Imperial College, University of London.
Following that he undertook a research position at the Liver Unit at King’s College Hospital, London, where he investigated the role played by immune reactions in human liver disease. A key focus of his work was drug induced liver injury, particularly the severe damage caused by the volatile anaesthetic halothane.
He also spent time as Visiting Scientist in the Laboratory of Chemical Pharmacology of the National Institutes of Health in Maryland, USA, where he was able to demonstrate the mechanism behind halothane hepatitis. Subsequently he received a Wellcome Trust Advanced Training Fellowship in Toxicology, which enabled him to return to the UK and to join the Department of Pharmacology at St Mary’s Hospital Medical School in London, where he established a research group investigating the role played by metabolic bioactivation and adaptive immune responses in human adverse drug reactions and was appointed Lecturer and then Senior Lecturer in Pharmacology.
Dr Kenna’s industry career began as a Team Leader in Investigative Toxicology at Zeneca/Syngenta Central Toxicology Laboratory, Macclesfield UK and then as a Principal Scientist in Molecular Toxicology and Hepatic Target Organ Strategy Leader at AstraZeneca, Macclesfield. His work focussed on the development and implementation of improved and mechanistically based drug safety screening and risk assessment strategies. This provided him with insight into the value that can be obtained from appropriate use of scientifically valid in silico and in vitro approaches, which are more predictive of human adverse reactions than animal-based methods.
Dr Kenna has authored or co-authored more than 90 peer reviewed scientific publications and book chapters, is a Fellow of the British Toxicology Society and a Committee member of the International Society for the Study of Xenobiotics.