Senior Fellow

Sean Hennessy, PharmD, PhD

  • Professor, Biostatistics, Epidemiology, and Informatics, Perelman School of Medicine
  • Professor, Systems Pharmacology and Translational Therapeutics, Perelman School of Medicine

Sean Hennessy, PharmD, PhD is a Professor of Epidemiology and of Systems Pharmacology and Translational Therapeutics at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Hennessy conducts research in the field of pharmacoepidemiology, which is the study of the health effects of drugs and other medical products in populations. He and his colleagues identified a survival benefit of potassium supplementation in users of loop diuretics, and found that this survival benefit increases with hotter outdoor temperature. He and his colleagues study serious health consequences of drug interactions involving high-risk drugs including anticoagulants, anti-diabetes drugs, and anti-platelet agents. Their research has produced actionable knowledge about the cardiovascular safety of many widely-used drugs for mental health conditions including ADHD, depression, and schizophrenia. They also evaluated an early approach to using health insurance data to improve prescribing, finding it ineffective despite its federal mandate. This contributed to the omission of a requirement for drug utilization review programs in Medicare Part D.

Dr. Hennessy co-led a pair of studies that demonstrated the effectiveness and safety of the SA14-14-2 vaccine for Japanese encephalitis (JE), which subsequently led to the immunization of millions of children per year in populous countries including Cambodia, India, Malaysia, Nepal, Sri Lanka, and Thailand. Use of that vaccine has been credited with reducing the worldwide incidence of JE. He and his colleagues developed the trend-in-trend research design for studying the effects of rapidly increasing or declining exposures. He was the senior author of one of two citizen petitions to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration that led to re-labeling of metformin, the best-proven therapy for Type 2 diabetes, to permit its use in people with mild to moderate renal insufficiency.

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