Useful Links

Research Interest:

My research consists of applying physical techniques, e.g., circular dichorism (CD) spectroscopy, to biomolecular systems, primarily amyloid-like structures; e.g., spider silk, alpha-synuclein (associated with Parkinson’s disease), and PAI-1 serpins. Spider silk is of particular interest and my “Amyloidogenic nature of spider silk” (European J Biochem 269, 4159-4163 2002) demonstrating that the molecular mechanism of fibril formation of spider silk is similar to that of amyloids has generated a wide research interest (it has been cited 22 times as of July 2006). Various students have worked in my lab of spider silk related projects. These studies require the development and use a broad application of different imaging and spectroscopic techniques, principally transmission electron microscopy (TEM) and more recently synchrotron radiation circular dichroism (SR-CD).

Dr. John M. Kenney

Dr. Kenney
  • Assistant Chair Undergraduate Studies, Associate Professor
  • PhD., University of New York at Stony Brook, 1985
  • Office Location: Science and Technology 554
  • Office Hours: Monday, 2:30pm-3:30pm; Tuesday and Thursday 2:00pm-3:00pm
  • Telephone: (252) 328-2028
  • Email:


Sacco, C., Skowronsky, R. A., Gade, S., Kenney, J. M. , & Spuches, A. M. (2012).  Calorimetric investigation of copper(II) binding to A² peptides: thermodynamics of coordination plasticity.  Journal of Biological Inorganic Chemistry, 17 (4), 531-541.  

DiNitto, J. M. & Kenney, J. M. (2012). Noise Characterization in Circular Dichroism Spectroscopy. Applied Spectroscopy, 66, 180-187.  

O'Cain, F., Watkins-Kenney, S., Kennedy, A., & Kenney, J. M. (2010). Analysis of Sugars Used for Conservation of pre-Columbian Dugout Log Canoes Recovered from Lake Phelps, North Carolina.  International Conference on Wet Organic Archaeological Materials ICOM-WOAM 2010.  

Lim, K. H., Le, Y. T., Collver, H. H. , Putnam-Evans, C., & Kenney, J. M. (2010).  Characterization of amyloidogenic intermediate states through a combined use of CD and NMR spectroscopy.  Biophysical Chemistry, 151 (3), 155-159.  

Liu, P., Kenney, J. M., Stiller, J. W. , & Greenleaf, A. L. (2010).  Genetic Organization, Length Conservation, and Evolution of RNA Polymerase II Carboxyl-Terminal Domain.  Molecular Biology and Evolution, 27 (11), 2628-2641.  

Pollock, J. B., Cutler, P. J., Kenney, J. M. , Gemperline, P. J. , & Burns, C. S. (in press, 2008).  Characterization of Cu2+-binding modes in the prion protein by visible circular dichroism and multivariate curve resolution.  ANALYTICAL BIOCHEMISTRY.  

Dicko, D. Porter, J. Bond, J. M. Kenney, F. Vollrath, Structural disorder in silk proteins reveals the emergence of elastomericity, Biomacromolecules 9: 216-221 (2008).

Zalar, A., Tepfer, D., Hoffmann, S. V. , Kenney, J. M. , & Leach, S. (2007).  Directed exospermia: I. Biological modes of resistance to UV light are implied through absorption spectroscopy of DNA and potential UV screens.  International Journal of Astrobiology, 6, 229-240.  

Khaymina, S. S., Kenney, J. M., Schroeter, M. M. , & Chalovich, J. M. (2007). Fesselin is a natively unfolded protein. Journal of Proteome Research, 6, 3648-3654.  

A. Zalar, D. Tepfer, S.V. Hoffmann, J.M. Kenney & S. Leach, Directed exospermia: I. Biological modes of resistance to UV light are implied through absorption spectroscopy of DNA and potential UV screens, International Journal of Astrobiology, 6: 229-240 (2007).

S.S. Khaymina, J.M. Kenney, M.M. Schroeter, J.M. Chalovich, Fesselin is a natively unfolded protein, Journal of Proteome Research 6: 3648-3654 (2007).

Lim, Kwang Hun, Collver, Hilary H., Le, Yen T. H., Nagchowdhuri, Partha, Kenney, John M., Characterizations of Distinct Amyloidogenic Conformations of the A Beta (1-40) and (1-42) Peptides, Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications 353 (2): 443-449, 2007.

Dicko, Cedric, Kenney, John M., Vollrath and Fritz, Beta-Silks: Enhancing and Controlling Aggregation, Fibrous Proteins: Amyloids, Prions and Beta Proteins, Advances In Protein Chemistry 73: 17 2006.

C. Dicko, D. Knight, J.M. Kenney and F Vollrath, Conformational polymorphism, stability and aggregation in spider dragline silks proteins, International Journal of Biological Macromolecules 36(4), 215-224 (2005).

C. Dicko, D. Knight, J.M. Kenney & F.Vollrath, Conformational polymorphism, stability and aggregation in spider dragline silks proteins, International Journal of Biological Macromolecules 36(4), 215-224 (2005).

S.V. Petersen, D.A. Olsen, J.M. Kenney, T.D. Oury, Z. Valnickova , I.B. Thogersen, J.D. Crapo & J.J. Enghild, The high concentration of Arg(213)-> Gly extracellular Superoxide dismutase (EC-SOD) in plasma is caused by a reduction of both heparin and collagen affinities, Biochemical Journal 385, 427-432 (2005).

C. Dicko, D. Knight, J.M. Kenney & F. Vollrath, Secondary structures and conformational changes in flagelliform, cylindrical, major, and minor ampullate silk proteins. Temperature and concentration effects, Biomacromolecules 5(6), 2105-15 (2004).

L. O'Reilly, P. Bross, J.M. Kenney, T.J. Cryodon, V. Winter, N. Gregersen, P. Engel & B.S. Andersen, The y42h mutation in medium-chain acyl-coa dehydrogenase, which is prevalent in babies identified by ms/ms-based newborn screening, is temperature sensitive, European Journal of Biochemistry 271(20), 4053-4063 (2004).

C. Dicko, D. Knight, J.M. Kenney & F. Vollrath, Transition to a beta-sheet-rich structure in spidroin in vitro: the effects of pH and cations, Biochemistry 43(44), 14080-14087 (2004).

C. Dicko, F. Vollrath & J.M. Kenney, Spider silk protein refolding is controlled by changing pH, Biomacromolecules 5(3), 704-710 (2004).

C. Dicko, D. Knight, J.M. Kenney & F. Vollrath, Structural conformation of spidroin in solution: a synchrotron radiation circular dichroism study, Biomacromolecules 5(3), 758-767 (2004).

K.E. Pedersen, A.P. Einholm, A. Christensen, L. Schack, T. Wind, J.M. Kenney & P. Andreasen, Plasminogen activator inhibitor-1 polymers induced by inactivating amphipathic organochemical ligands, Biochemical Journal 372(pt 3), 747-755 (2003).

B.S. Llaursen, I. Siwanowicz, G. Larigauderie, J. Hedegaard, K. Ito, Y. Nakamura, J.M. Kenney, K.K. Mortensen & H.U. Sperling-Petersen, Characterization of mutations in the GTP-binging domain of IF2 resulting in cold-sensitive growth of Escherichia coli, Journal of Molecular Biology 326, 543-551 (2003).

J.M. Kenney, D. Knight, M. Wise & F. Vollrath, Amyloidogenic nature of spider silk, European Journal of Biochemistry-FEBS 269, 4159-4163 (2002).

J.M. Kenney, D. Knight, C. Dicko & F. Vollrath, Linear and circular dichroism can help us to understand the molecular nature of spider silk, 19th European Colloquium of Arachnology, (S.Toft & N.Scharff eds), European Arachnology 2000, 123-126 (2002).

S. Hourdez, R.E. Weber, B.N. Green, J.M. Kenney & C.R. Fisher, Respiratory Adaptations in a deep-sea Orbiniid Polychaete from Gulf of Mexico brine pool nr-1: metabolic rates and hemoglobin structure-function, J. Exp. Biol. 205, 1669-1681 (2002).

Collaborators:Colin Burns, Department of Chemistry, East Carolina University, USA; Jason Bond, Department of Biology, East Carolina University, USA; Hun Lim, Department of Chemistry, East Carolina University, USA; William Allen, Department of Chemistry, East Carolina University, USA; Brage Storstein Andersen, Department of Human Genetics, University of Aarhus, Denmark; Peter Andreasen, Inst. of Molecular and Structural Biology, University of Aarhus, Denmark; Cedric Dicko, Dept. of Zoology, Oxford, UK; Poul Henning Jensen, Dept. of Medical Biochemistry, University of Aarhus, Denmark; David Knight, Dept. of Zoology, Oxford, UK; Linda O'Reilly, Dept of Biochemistry, University College, Ireland; Fritz Vollrath, Dept. of Zoology, Oxford, UK; Michael Wise, School of Biomedical and Chemical Science, University of Western Australia, Australia.