Dr Jonathan Kerr
Jonathan Kerr qualified in
medicine from Queen’s University of Belfast (1987), and
completed training as a medical microbiologist (1995).
He has worked as a
microbiologist in Belfast, Manchester and London, taking up
post as a Consultant Senior Lecturer in Microbiology at
Royal Brompton Hospital / Imperial College in June 2001, and
then Sir Joseph Hotung Clinical Senior Lecturer in
Inflammation at St George’s University of London in 2005.
interest in Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) began during a study
of the consequences of parvovirus B19 infection, when he showed
that a percentage of infected cases developed CFS which
persisted for several years.
He is now
the principal investigator in a programme of research in CFS.
This involves development of a diagnostic test using mass
spectrometry, analysis of human and viral gene expression in the
white blood cells, and clinical trials of immunomodulatory
Dr. Jonathan Kerr and
London reported in the July 27, 2005
issue of the
Journal of Clinical Pathology that a preliminary study
of 25 CFS patients and 25 matched healthy controls revealed
abnormalities in 35 of 9,522 genes analyzed using microarray
technology. Polymerase chain reaction studies showed the same
results for 16 of these genes.
The study, and its results,
raises some important questions. The first of which pertains to
the need for funding of microbiological CFS research.
He is funded
(>£1million) by the CFS Research Foundation
a charitable organization
based in the U.K., and
leads a group of 5 scientists at St George's.
His research on gene expression has resulted in several
published papers – including evidence of 7 distinct sub types of
ME/CFS. Dr. Kerr also runs a ME/CFS research program. He studied
the consequences of parvovirus B19 infection in ME/CFS and
showed that a percentage of infected cases developed ME/CFS
which persisted for several years. He has reported 88 human
genes whose dysregulation is associated with CFS, and which can
be used to derive genomic CFS subtypes which have marked
differences in clinical phenotype and severity.
The Foundation needs
private support to continue their research efforts. They also
openly post the results of their efforts on their website