Dr. Kelly earned his PhD in Biochemistry from the University of Washington in the laboratory of Dr. Richard Palmiter, developing transgenic and knockout mouse models to study the function of the metal-binding protein metallothionein. Following a postdoctoral fellowship in molecular toxicology at the UW Department of Environmental Health with Dave Eaton, he ventured into Biotech, managing the Preclinical Bioanalytics group at Targeted Genetics Corporation, evaluating the safety and efficacy of gene therapies for diseases such as cystic fibrosis, rheumatoid arthritis and hemophilias.
Upon his return to academia, his research interests have stayed within the realm of preclinical biology. His lab works on developing novel models to study normal human physiology and disease states, with a particular focus on cytochrome P450 enzymes and their role in endobiotic/xenobiotic metabolism.
Active areas of research in the Kelly lab include studies on the function of the “orphan” P450 CYP4V2 in the heritable eye disease Bietti’s Crystalline Dystrophy and ex vivo modeling of human organ physiology and toxicological responses to drug/xenobiotic challenge. This latter project makes use of “organs on chips” or microphysiological systems (MPS) populated with primary and stem-cell derived cell types to recapitulate two key ADME organs, the liver and kidney. Recent work is extending MPS technologies to model select human diseases as well as how organs respond to the extreme environment of microgravity on the International Space Station. Dr. Kelly holds the position of Associate Professor in the Department of Pharmaceutics, Adjunct Associate Professor in the Department of Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences and also serves as Co-Director of the Pharmaceutical Bioengineering Extension Program.