Thomas J. Kelly, MD, PhD, is Director Emeritus of the Sloan Kettering Institute (SKI) and an Emeritus Member of the Molecular Biology Program of the Sloan Kettering Institute at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSK). He is internationally recognized for his pioneering work on the mechanisms of genome duplication and for his scientific leadership.
As Director of the SKI from 2002 to 2013, Dr. Kelly led a major expansion of laboratory research that added more than 50 new faculty investigators and greatly broadened the scope of cancer-relevant research within SKI. He added new research programs, such as Developmental Biology and Cancer Biology and Genetics, and supported increased emphasis on chemical biology, computational biology, and structural biology. He also strongly encouraged collaborative interactions among basic, translational, and clinical scientists at MSK.
In an important new educational initiative, Dr. Kelly fostered the establishment of the Gerstner Sloan Kettering Graduate School in Biomedical Sciences, a highly innovative PhD training program to develop the next generation of cancer researchers. During Dr. Kelly’s 11-year tenure as Director, the SKI, grew in size and stature. It continues to be one of the premier cancer-focused research institutes in the world.
Dr. Kelly’s research focused on how the DNA in cellular chromosomes is duplicated in dividing cells. His laboratory initially used viruses as experimental tools to develop the first biochemical systems for studying the mechanisms of DNA replication in human cells and used these systems to identify and characterize proteins that mediate the replication process. He also contributed to our current understanding of how DNA replication is regulated during the cell division cycle and how cells respond to DNA damage. In recognition of his scientific accomplishments, Dr. Kelly was the recipient of the Alfred P. Sloan Prize of the General Motors Cancer research foundation in 2004, and the Louisa Gross Horwitz Prize of Columbia University in 2010.
Dr. Kelly is an elected member of the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Medicine. He is also a fellow of both the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the Academy of the American Association for Cancer Research, as well as an elected member of the American Philosophical Society. In 2014, he was awarded the degree Doctor of Science, honoris causa, by the Louis V. Gerstner, Jr. Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences.
Dr. Kelly received his BA, MD, and PhD degrees from the Johns Hopkins University. After two years in the United States Public Health Service at the National Institutes of Health, he joined the faculty of the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. During his 30-year career at Johns Hopkins, he became the Director of the Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics and was the founding Director of the Johns Hopkins Institute of Basic Biomedical Sciences. In 2002, he was recruited to MSK.