Perry Kennedy '06
Randolph-Macon College alumnus Perry Kennedy ’06 is a post-doctoral
research fellow in the Department of Cancer Biology at the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville,
Florida. Kennedy, who majored in chemistry
and minored in biology at R-MC, earned his M.S.
and Ph.D. at University of Virginia.
“As a post-doctoral research fellow, I conduct research to better understand the
contribution of certain enzymes and cell-signaling components to the initiation
and progression of cancer,” explains Kennedy. “The drive of this research is to
create new and better anti-cancer therapeutic agents.” R-MC’s curriculum helped
Kennedy prepare for the rigors of graduate school and beyond.
“My R-MC education challenged me to stretch my thinking, and to become more independent
in conducting scientific research,” he says. “I
gained early experience in drafting project proposals, evaluating literature, analyzing
and interpreting results, and presenting and defending my findings in both oral
and written format. I later utilized these same skills in graduate school for my
dissertation and find that they are now ever-necessary as a career scientist.” A
project that he conducted during his senior year at R-MC taught Kennedy skills that
are vital to his success as a researcher.
“The aim of the project, which I conducted under the guidance of
Chemistry Professor Nora Green, was to screen plant extract constituents
for their ability to inhibit a critical enzyme responsible for Dengue Virus activity
and replication,” he explains. “The experience allowed me at an early stage in my
career to develop skills I would need later. In a broader sense, an R-MC education
is highly valuable because it teaches you how to learn. This is exactly what future
employers and graduate schools are looking for.”
Kennedy was a Phi Beta Kappa
scholar and Honors student and graduated magna
cum laude from R-MC. His career highlights are numerous: He was a Visiting
Scientist, Biological Sciences R&D, at Allergan, Inc., in Irvine, California;
a National Institute of Health (NIH) Pharmacological Sciences Training Grant Recipient,
and a NIH Biotechnology Training Grant Recipient. In addition to co-authoring publications
in peer-reviewed journals, he presented his first-author work in the Journal of
Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics and at the 2010 WorldPharma
international conference in Copenhagen, Denmark.
The R-MC Community
For Kennedy, it’s the people at R-MC who make the college a community.
“I remember being struck by how personable everyone was when I was a prospective
student,” he says. “I am happy to say this continued throughout my time on campus,
and it persists as R-MC’s legacy. You don't find this level of caring and quality
of education anywhere else.”