Dr. Kennedy received his medical degree from UAMS in 2006 and completed an Internal Medicine and Pediatrics residency from 2006 to 2010. He went on to complete a fellowship in Allergy and Immunology at the University of Virginia. Dr. Kennedy joined the faculty of UAMS in July 2013 where he is a member of the Division of Pediatric Allergy and Immunology and the ACRI Lung Cell Biology Lab. Dr. Kennedy’s primary research focuses upon mechanisms whereby infection with the common cold virus, rhinovirus (RV), leads to exacerbations of asthma. 60% to 80% of children seen in the emergency room with an exacerbation of asthma will be infected with RV. In his previous research, it became clear that while RV infection alone increases the risk of wheezing in children with asthma; the combination of RV infection and high titer sensitization to allergen significantly increases the odds to wheeze in children seen in the emergency department. It is this synergy between allergy and RV infection that drives his current research hypotheses. To that end, he is studying epithelial cell-derived cytokines that bias a Th2 (i.e., allergic) response (IL-33, IL-25, and TSLP) associated with RV infection in subjects with asthma both in vitro and in vivo. Also, Dr. Kennedy enthusiastically contributes to the education of fellows, residents, and students at UAMS by participating in the educational mission of the Department of Pediatrics in many capacities.
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Seasonal allergies can affect kids of all ages. With spring’s yellow pollen coating everything in sight, sneezes, runny noses, and itchy eyes are likely affecting a lot of Arkansas children. We sat down with pediatric immunologist, D. Matthew Bell, to talk allergies.