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Jack Kennell, Ph.D.

Associate Professor; Department Chair

Courses Taught

General Microbiology (464) and Microbiology Lab (465) Spring semester; Molecular Biology (470, 506): Fall semester


Ph.D., University of Florida 

Practice Areas

  • Molecular Fossils: contemporary genetic elements that are ancient in origin and can tell researchers about their evolutionary past. Specifically, plasmids thatt replicate by reverse transcription in the mitochondria of filamentous fungi.
  • Mitochondrial-Nuclear Interactions: Interested in understanding how mitochondria communicate with the nucleus in eukaryotic cells, using fungi as a model system.

Research Interests

In the past, Kennell has incorporated Service-Learning projects in his classes and found that these projects are very effective in stimulating student interest in Biology, leading to favorable learning outcomes. Service-Learning projects allow students to experience biology in real-world settings and offer insight into concepts that underlie biological phenomena faced by our society in ways that cannot be adequately provided in the classroom. 

Labs and Facilities

Several opportunities exist for graduate and undergraduate students. The project that involves the study of telomere-like retroplasmids is currently funded by NSF, and Kennell hopes to attract one or two graduate students to help characterize the novel reverse transcriptase associated with these plasmids. There are also many opportunities for undergraduate researchers, ranging from small projects that demand only a few hours a week to larger commitments that would include working during the summer months. In the past, Kennell has had 4 to 5 undergrads in his lab at any given time, and several of these students have been included as authors on one or more research publications. Students interested in learning some basic skills in Micro and Molecular biology are encouraged to write to or speak with Kennell.

Publications and Media Placements

Walther, T.C. and J.C. Kennell. (1999) Linear mitochondrial plasmids of F. oxysporum are novel, telomere-like retroelements. Molecular Cell, 4:229-238.

Stevenson, C.B., A.N. Fox and J.C. Kennell. (2000) Senescence associated with the over-replication of a mitochondrial retroplasmid of Neurospora crassa. Mol. Gen. Genet. 263: 433-444.

Fox, A.N. and J.C. Kennell. (2001) Association between variant plasmid formation and senescence in retroplasmid-containing strains of Neurospora spp. Current Genetics, 39:92-100.