Dr Karen Kerr

Dr Karen Kerr

Senior Lecturer

School of Biomedical Sciences and Pharmacy (Pharmacy and Experimental Pharmacology)

Career Summary

Biography

Background - PhD in Pharmacology and Diploma in Pharmacy.

Research Expertise

Inappropriate prescribing in the elderly.

Our research focuses on inappropriate prescribing in the elderly in general and more specifically looks at two areas.

  1. The first area looks at the summative effects of anticholinergic drugs such as atropine and amitriptyline on cognitive function in the elderly. The effects  of sedatives and opiates on cognition is also of interest.  We are investigating the effects of changes in anticholinergic load on cognition over time, as well as on other clinical outcomes such as depression and physical quality of life. This area is especially relevant given the increasing aging population, incidence of Alzheimer’s Disease and polypharmacy.  We have found that the summative adverse effects of lower level anticholinergic drugs is having a significant impact on patient health.
  2. The second area looks at the co-prescription of drugs that are either inhibitors or inducers of the cytochrome P450 (CYP) metabolic enzymes with other drugs that are substrates for these enzymes.  This situation may result in drugs being prescribed at doses that will either not be therapeutically effective or will result in high blood concentrations of a particular drug with potentially fatal or severe adverse effects.  As CYP drug-drug interactions are more common in patients on higher numbers of medications, particular vigilance is required at the time of prescribing and dispensing medications for elderly patients with multiple conditions.

Factors affecting smooth muscle contractility

Premature birth remains a major unsolved problem that affects some 15% of births internationally and is increasing in incidence. A range of methods including organ bath studies, live cell imaging, immunohistochemistry and electrophysiology are used to elucidate the various cell signaling pathways that contribute to the contractility of the mouse myometrium in response to various autacoids, neurotransmitters and hormones.

Collaborations

Professor Dimity Pond, Conjoint Professor Parker Magin,
Associate Professor David Newby, School of Medicine and Public Health
Faculty of Health and Medicine



Qualifications

  • PhD, Monash University
  • Bachelor of Science, Rhodes University
  • Diploma in Pharmacy, Technikon Witwatersrand - South Africa
  • Bachelor of Science (Honours), University of Witwatersrand

Keywords

  • Pharmaceutical Sciences
  • Pharmacology

Fields of Research

Code Description Percentage
110399 Clinical Sciences not elsewhere classified 20
111699 Medical Physiology not elsewhere classified 20
111599 Pharmacology and Pharmaceutical Sciences not elsewhere classified 60

Professional Experience

UON Appointment

Title Organisation / Department
Senior Lecturer University of Newcastle
School of Biomedical Sciences and Pharmacy
Australia

Invitations

Speaker

Year Title / Rationale
2010 Dr Karen Kerr
Organisation: Bond University, Gold Coast, QLD, Description: Invited to give a talk on 'Interstitial cells of Cajal in the mouse reproductive tract' at the 2nd National Symposium on Advances in Gastrointestinal & Urogenital Research, Bond University, Gold Coast, QLD, Sept 3rd (2010).
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Publications

For publications that are currently unpublished or in-press, details are shown in italics.


Chapter (1 outputs)

Year Citation Altmetrics Link
2007 Candenas ML, Pennefather JN, Kerr KP, Perez-Hernandez N, Pinto FM, 'Tachykinins and smooth muscle function', New Frontiers in Smooth Muscle Biology and Physiology, Transworld Research Network, Kerala, India 383-411 (2007) [B1]

Journal article (10 outputs)

Year Citation Altmetrics Link
2015 Mate KE, Kerr KP, Pond D, Williams EJ, Marley J, Disler P, et al., 'Impact of Multiple Low-Level Anticholinergic Medications on Anticholinergic Load of Community-Dwelling Elderly With and Without Dementia', Drugs and Aging, 32 159-167 (2015) [C1]
DOI 10.1007/s40266-014-0230-0
Co-authors Karen Mate, Dimity Pond, Parker Magin
2014 Gravina FS, Van Helden DF, Kerr KP, De Oliveira RB, Jobling P, 'Phasic contractions of the mouse vagina and cervix at different phases of the estrus cycle and during late pregnancy', PLoS ONE, 9 (2014) [C1]

© 2014 Gravina et al. Conclusions/Significance: Cervical smooth muscle strips taken from mice in estrus, metestrus or late pregnancy were generally spontaneously active. Vaginal ... [more]

© 2014 Gravina et al. Conclusions/Significance: Cervical smooth muscle strips taken from mice in estrus, metestrus or late pregnancy were generally spontaneously active. Vaginal smooth muscle strips were normally quiescent but could be induced to exhibit phasic contractions independent on phase of the estrus cycle or late pregnancy. Spontaneous cervical or TEA-induced vaginal phasic contractions were not mediated by ICs or intracellular Ca2+ stores. Given that vaginal smooth muscle is normally quiescent then it is likely that increases in hormones such as oxytocin, as might occur through sexual stimulation, enhance the effectiveness of such pacemaking until phasic contractile activity emerges. Methodology/Principal Findings: Vaginal and cervical contractions were measured in vitro, as was the distribution of c-Kit and vimentin positive interstitial cells (ICs). Cervical smooth muscle was spontaneously active in estrus and metestrus but quiescent during proestrus and diestrus. Vaginal smooth muscle was normally quiescent but exhibited phasic contractions in the presence of oxytocin or the K+ channel blocker tetraethylammonium (TEA) chloride. Spontaneous contractions in the cervix and TEA-induced phasic contractions in the vagina persisted in the presence of cyclopiazonic acid (CPA), a blocker of the SERCA that refills intracellular SR Ca2+ stores, but were inhibited in low Ca2+ solution or in the presence of nifedipine, an inhibitor of L-type Ca2+ channels. ICs were found in small numbers in the mouse cervix but not in the vagina. Background/Aims: The pacemaker mechanisms activating phasic contractions of vaginal and cervical smooth muscle remain poorly understood. Here, we investigate properties of pacemaking in vaginal and cervical tissues by determining whether: 1) functional pacemaking is dependent on the phase of the estrus cycle or pregnancy; 2) pacemaking involves Ca2+ release from sarcoplasmic/endoplasmic reticulum Ca2+-ATPase (SERCA)-dependent intracellular Ca2+ stores; and 3) c-Kit and/or vimentin immunoreactive ICs have a role in pacemaking.

DOI 10.1371/journal.pone.0111307
Citations Scopus - 2Web of Science - 3
Co-authors Dirk Vanhelden, Phillip Jobling
2014 Kerr KP, Mate KE, Magin PJ, Marley J, Stocks NP, Disler P, Pond CD, 'The prevalence of co-prescription of clinically relevant CYP enzyme inhibitor and substrate drugs in community-dwelling elderly Australians', JOURNAL OF CLINICAL PHARMACY AND THERAPEUTICS, 39 383-389 (2014) [C1]
DOI 10.1111/jcpt.12163
Citations Scopus - 2Web of Science - 2
Co-authors Karen Mate, Parker Magin, Dimity Pond
2013 Lam M, Kerr KP, Exintaris B, 'Involvement of Rho-Kinase Signaling Pathways in Nerve Evoked and Spontaneous Contractions of the Guinea Pig Prostate', JOURNAL OF UROLOGY, 189 1147-1154 (2013) [C1]
DOI 10.1016/j.juro.2012.08.220
Citations Scopus - 3Web of Science - 3
2011 Lam M, Kerr KP, Ventura S, Exintaris B, 'Extracellular Ca2+ entry and mobilization of inositol trisphosphate-dependent Ca2+ stores modulate histamine and electrical field stimulation induced contractions of the guinea-pig prostate', Pharmacological Research, 64 235-241 (2011) [C1]
DOI 10.1016/j.phrs.2011.04.009
2011 Gravina FS, Jobling P, Kerr KP, De Oliveira R, Parkington HC, Van Helden DF, 'Oxytocin depolarizes mitochondria in isolated myometrial cells', Experimental Physiology, 96 949-956 (2011) [C1]
DOI 10.1113/expphysiol.2011.058388
Citations Scopus - 1Web of Science - 1
Co-authors Phillip Jobling, Dirk Vanhelden
2010 Gravina FS, Parkington HC, Kerr KP, De Oliveira R, Jobling P, Coleman HA, et al., 'Role of mitochondria in contraction and pacemaking in the mouse uterus', British Journal of Pharmacology, 161 1375-1390 (2010) [C1]
DOI 10.1111/j.1476-5381.2010.00949.x
Citations Scopus - 7Web of Science - 7
Co-authors Dirk Vanhelden, Phillip Jobling
2008 Patak E, Pennefather JN, Gozali M, Candenas L, Kerr K, Exintaris B, et al., 'Functional characterisation of hemokinin-1 in mouse uterus', European Journal of Pharmacology, 601 148-153 (2008) [C1]
DOI 10.1016/j.ejphar.2008.10.036
Citations Scopus - 8Web of Science - 7
2007 Chetty N, Coupar IM, Chess-Williams R, Kerr KP, 'Demonstration of 5-HT3 receptor function and expression in the mouse bladder', Naunyn-Schmiedebergs Archives of Pharmacology, 375 359-368 (2007) [C1]
DOI 10.1007/s00210-007-0173-7
2006 Kerr KP, 'The effect of histamine on field-stimulated contractions of the guinea-pig prostate', Naunyn-Schmiedebergs Archives of Pharmacology, 373 237-244 (2006) [C1]
DOI 10.1007/s00210-006-0061-6
Show 7 more journal articles

Conference (15 outputs)

Year Citation Altmetrics Link
2014 Kerr KP, Mate KE, Williams E, Pond D, Magin PJ, 'Factors associated with a high anticholinergic burden in elderly Australians with and without dementia', ASCEPT-MPGPCR Joint Scientific Meeting (2014) [E3]
Co-authors Parker Magin, Dimity Pond, Karen Mate
2013 Kerr KP, Mate KE, Williams E, Pond D, Magin PJ, 'Anticholinergic load in community dwelling elderly Australians with dementia', ASCEPT Annual Scientific Meeting (2013) [E3]
Co-authors Dimity Pond, Karen Mate, Parker Magin
2012 Mate KE, Kerr KP, Pond CD, Magin PJ, 'Potentially inappropriate medications in the elderly - A case study', Symposium Program. Interprofessional Education for Quality Use of Medicines (2012) [E3]
Co-authors Parker Magin, Dimity Pond, Karen Mate
2012 Kerr KP, Mate KE, Pond CD, Magin PJ, 'An ACE inhibitor and a Sartan - Is there a place for this combination? A real-life case study for students in the health professions', Symposium Program. Interprofessional Education for Quality Use of Medicines (2012) [E3]
Co-authors Parker Magin, Dimity Pond, Karen Mate
2012 Kerr KP, Mate KE, Pond CD, Magin PJ, Stocks N, Marley JE, Disler P, 'Prescribing in the elderly - cytochrome P450 (CYP) enzyme inhibitors and substrates', ASCEPT-APSA 2012 Oral Abstracts (2012) [E3]
Co-authors Karen Mate, Dimity Pond, Parker Magin
2010 Gravina FS, Van Helden DF, De Oliveira R, Kerr KP, Jobling P, 'Relaxant effects of methanandamide unmasked by indomethacin in the mouse uterus', Australasian Society of Clinical and Experimental Pharmacology and Toxicology (ASCEPT) Annual Scientific Meeting, Melbourne, 2010 (2010) [E3]
Co-authors Phillip Jobling, Dirk Vanhelden
2009 Gravina FS, Kerr KP, Sandow S, De Oliveira R, Parkington H, Imtiaz MS, Van Helden DF, 'Intracellular calcium stores in mouse uterus: SR and Mitochondria', Journal of Physiological Sciences (2009) [E3]
Co-authors Dirk Vanhelden
2009 Lam MH-S, Kerr KP, Exintaris B, 'Investigation of internal Ca2+ release in spontaneous electrical activity and histamine-induced contractions in the guinea-pig prostate', Proceedings of the XXXVI International Congress of Physiological Sciences (IUPS2009) Function of Life: Elements and Integration (2009) [E3]
2009 Gravina FS, Jobling P, Kerr KP, De Oliveira R, Van Helden DF, 'Identification of cannabinoid receptor 1 and the effect of methanandamide on uterine contractions of the mouse uterus', 1st National Symposium on Advances in Urogenital and Gut Research (2009) [E3]
Co-authors Phillip Jobling, Dirk Vanhelden
2009 Hollins SL, Johnstone DM, Graham R, Van Helden DF, Kerr KP, Laver DR, et al., 'Cardiac gene expression in mouse models of iron loading disorders', 2009 International Biolron Society Meeting: Program Book (2009) [E3]
Co-authors Dirk Vanhelden, Derek Laver, Liz Milward, Rodney Scott
2009 Kerr KP, Jobling P, Gravina FS, Van Helden DF, 'Contractility of the lower uterus and upper vagina in the mouse', 43rd ASCEPT Annual Scientific Meeting: Proceedings (2009) [E3]
Co-authors Dirk Vanhelden, Phillip Jobling
2009 Hollins SL, Johnstone DM, Van Helden DF, Kerr KP, Laver DR, Metelerkamp KM, et al., 'Cardiac gene expression in mouse models of iron loading', ASMR XVII NSW Scientific Meeting: Programme and Abstracts (2009) [E3]
Co-authors Dirk Vanhelden, Liz Milward, Derek Laver, Rodney Scott
2008 Lam MH, Kerr KP, Exintaris B, 'Investigation of internal Ca2+ store release through histamine and phenylephrine-induced contractions in the guinea-pig prostate', Proceedings of the Australian Health and Medical Research Congress 2008 (2008) [E3]
2008 Gravina FS, Kerr KP, De Oliveira R, Parkington H, Imtiaz MS, Van Helden DF, 'Effects of the mitochondrial inhibitors CCCP, rotenone and CGP37157 on spontaneous contractions in the mouse uterus', Proceedings of the Australian Health and Medical Research Congress 2008 (2008) [E3]
Co-authors Dirk Vanhelden
2008 Gravina FS, Kerr KP, Sandow S, De Oliveira R, Parkington HC, Imtiaz MS, Van Helden DF, 'Uterine spontaneous contractions in the estrous cycle and the effect of mitochondrial inhibitors', Proceedings of the Australian Physiological Society (2008) [E3]
Co-authors Dirk Vanhelden
Show 12 more conferences
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Grants and Funding

Summary

Number of grants 4
Total funding $30,033

Click on a grant title below to expand the full details for that specific grant.


20152 grants / $28,194

The impact of changes in the anticholinergic load of medication regimens on the cognitive status and quality of life of people with dementia.$26,694

Funding body: The Mason Foundation

Funding body The Mason Foundation
Project Team Doctor Karen Mate, Doctor Karen Kerr, Professor Dimity Pond, Conjoint Professor Parker Magin
Scheme Medical and Scientific Research Grant
Role Investigator
Funding Start 2015
Funding Finish 2015
GNo G1400836
Type Of Funding Aust Competitive - Non Commonwealth
Category 1NS
UON Y

ACSEPT and BPS Joint Scientific Meeting, Hong Kong China, 19-21 May 2015$1,500

Funding body: University of Newcastle - Faculty of Health and Medicine

Funding body University of Newcastle - Faculty of Health and Medicine
Project Team Doctor Karen Kerr
Scheme Travel Grant
Role Lead
Funding Start 2015
Funding Finish 2016
GNo G1500286
Type Of Funding Internal
Category INTE
UON Y

20131 grants / $999

ASCEPT Annual Scientific Meeting (Australasian Society of Clinical and Experimental Pharmacologist and Toxicologists), Melbourne Australia, 1-4 December 2013$999

Funding body: University of Newcastle - Faculty of Health and Medicine

Funding body University of Newcastle - Faculty of Health and Medicine
Project Team Doctor Karen Kerr
Scheme Travel Grant
Role Lead
Funding Start 2013
Funding Finish 2013
GNo G1301095
Type Of Funding Internal
Category INTE
UON Y

20121 grants / $840

Joint ASCEPT - APSA Conference - Medication and Safety, Sydney Convention and Exhibition Centre, 2 - 5 December 2012$840

Funding body: University of Newcastle - Faculty of Health and Medicine

Funding body University of Newcastle - Faculty of Health and Medicine
Project Team Doctor Karen Kerr
Scheme Travel Grant
Role Lead
Funding Start 2012
Funding Finish 2012
GNo G1201070
Type Of Funding Internal
Category INTE
UON Y
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Research Supervision

Number of supervisions

Completed1
Current3

Total current UON EFTSL

Masters0.1
PhD0.25

Current Supervision

Commenced Level of Study Research Title / Program / Supervisor Type
2014 Masters The Effects of Iron Dysregulation on the Heart, Lungs and Reproductive System
M Philosophy (Medical Genetic), Faculty of Health and Medicine, The University of Newcastle
Co-Supervisor
2014 PhD Strategies for Introducing Personalised Healthcare and Pharmacogenomics into Community Pharmacies.
PhD (Pharmacy), Faculty of Health and Medicine, The University of Newcastle
Co-Supervisor
2013 PhD The Feasibility and Value of Holistic Systems-Based Approaches to Personalised, Patient-Centred Healthcare in Modern Pharmacy
PhD (Medical Genetics), Faculty of Health and Medicine, The University of Newcastle
Co-Supervisor

Past Supervision

Year Level of Study Research Title / Program / Supervisor Type
2011 PhD Contractile Properties of the Female Reproductive Tract
PhD (Human Physiology), Faculty of Health and Medicine, The University of Newcastle
Co-Supervisor
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Dr Karen Kerr

Position

Senior Lecturer
School of Biomedical Sciences and Pharmacy
Faculty of Health and Medicine

Focus area

Pharmacy and Experimental Pharmacology

Contact Details

Email karen.kerr@newcastle.edu.au
Phone (02) 4921 6572
Mobile 0423788656
Fax (02) 4921 7903

Office

Room MS125
Building Medical Sciences
Location Callaghan
University Drive
Callaghan, NSW 2308
Australia
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