Box 800759 Charlottesville, Virginia 22908
MR6 B-Level
Google Scholar Cardiovascular Research Center Kelly Laboratory


Kimberly Kelly uses computational methods and bioinformatics to develop more effective and less toxic cancer drugs through the identification of disease-relevant druggable targets, with a special emphasis on translation to the clinic and commercialization. Dr. Kelly received her Bachelor’s degree in Chemistry from Hamilton College in upstate NY, and her PhD from the University of Utah under the guidance of Dr. David Jones, PhD. Her thesis was using genomics and proteomics-based approaches to develop diagnostic reagents for colon cancer. After obtaining her PhD, Dr. Kelly took a postdoctoral fellowship position at the Center for Molecular Imaging Research at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), directed by Ralph Weissleder, under the guidance of Jennifer Allport Anderson. Under Dr. Allport Anderson’s guidance, Kim developed a VCAM-1 targeted imaging agent and was able to monitor VCAM-1 expression in mouse models of atherosclerosis. Further, she described a new interaction between VCAM-1 and SPARC that facilitates efficient leukocyte trafficking. In 2004, she was promoted to instructor of Radiology, and in 2008 to Assistant Professor of Radiology at MGH. In September of 2008, Dr. Kelly joined the Biomedical Engineering faculty at the University of Virginia as an Assistant Professor and has been promoted to Professor with tenure. Dr. Kelly is a member of SNM, the American Pancreatic Association, the AACR and AIMBE. She was named a William Guy Forbeck Scholar in 2005 and awarded an AACR-Pancreatic Cancer Action Network Career Development award in 2007.

Dr. Kelly's research uses a multidisciplinary approach consisting of chemical biology, screening technologies, proteomics, cell biology and drug development. The major focus of the laboratory today is centered around the currently intractable problem of pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) and other cancers. Specifically:

  1. Indentifying clinically-relevant disease biomarkers and druggable targets using functional screening and AI and interrogating the relationship of the tumor in its native context: the tumor microenvironment.
  2. Using sophisticated technologies and bioinformatics to understand the molecular mechanisms of disease.
  3. Developing drug delivery systems to attack those targets and translate those into the clinic and ultimately for community dissemination.


B.A. Chemistry, Hamilton College, Clinton NY

Ph.D. Oncological Sciences, University of Utah, 2002

"Our vision is to impact patient lives through the development of more effective and less toxic medicines. We accomplish this through functional screening, AI to identify disease relevant targets and then develop drugs to change disease prognosis."


Research Interests

Cancer Biology
Drug Development

Selected Publications

Challenges of Pancreatic Cancer., 2015; Cancer journal (Sudbury, Mass.). 21(3) 188-93. PMID: 26049698 | PMCID: PMC4517183 DIMASTROMATTEO J, HOUGHTON JL, LEWIS JS, KELLY KA
Formation and role of exosomes in cancer., 2014; Cellular and molecular life sciences : CMLS. 72(4) 659-71. PMID: 25336151 BRINTON LT, SLOANE HS, KESTER M, KELLY KA
Unexpected gain of function for the scaffolding protein plectin due to mislocalization in pancreatic cancer., 2013; Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 110(48) 19414-9. PMID: 24218614 | PMCID: PMC3845200 SHIN SJ, SMITH JA, REZNICZEK GA, PAN S, CHEN R, BRENTNALL TA, WICHE G, KELLY KA
Mechanisms for targeted delivery of nanoparticles in cancer., 2013; Current pharmaceutical design. 19(37) 6560-74. PMID: 23621529 BEECH JR, SHIN SJ, SMITH JA, KELLY KA
Plectin-1 Targeted AAV Vector for the Molecular Imaging of Pancreatic Cancer., 2013; Frontiers in oncology. 3() 84. PMID: 23616947 | PMCID: PMC3629297 KONKALMATT PR, DENG D, THOMAS S, WU MT, LOGSDON CD, FRENCH BA, KELLY KA

Courses Taught

BME 4890 Nanomedicine
BME 6056 Going Pro


American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering College of Fellows 2016

Featured Grants & Projects

Kelly Laboratory Projects We utilize a multidisciplinary approach with expertise in chemical biology, physiology, proteomics, molecular imaging, and nanotechnology to make fundamental discoveries that are linked to the diagnosis and treatment of disease. In this way, we have used phage display derived proteomics to identify peptides that will target heart cells post myocardial infarction (MI). These peptides can be used as imaging agents as well as molecules for targeted drug delivery. In addition, identification of the peptide binding partner on the heart cells will enable us to examine biology and signaling of cells post MI.