Kelly Lab at UVA

Pancreatic Cancer
Cardiac Regeneration
Phage Engineering

  • Cell picture taken by Dr. Siva Dasa
  • Plectin Peptide
  • Microcentrifuge Tubes
  • Labwork
  • Bacteria Plates
  • Model of a T4 phage made by Alex Zorychta
  • Pipettes
Connect with us on Facebook!


The Kelly Lab.

For more information on all of our members, just click on the left!

Kimberly Kelly, Ph.D.

Associate Professor

Kimberly A. Kelly, PhD is an Assistant Professor of Biomedical Engineering (BME) at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, VA. 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 was promoted to Associate Professor with tenure. Dr. Kelly is a member of SNM, the American Pancreatic Association, and the AACR. 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 interests include the identification of biomarkers and development of molecularly targeted probes, both as imaging agents for the detection of various cancer disease processes and as vehicles for targeted drug delivery. For example, through phage display screening, Dr. Kelly identified and validated plectin-1 as a novel biomarker for pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma, a disease with less than a five percent 5-year survival rate. Further, she has developed a clinically-relevant SPECT based imaging agent that will hopefully allow the detection of both primary and metastatic pancreatic cancer. She has over 30 peer-reviewed and invited publications and has served as a reviewer for numerous journals.

Siva Sai Krishna Dasa, Ph.D.

Postdoctoral Fellow

Siva Sai Krishna Dasa joined the lab in the summer of 2011 as a postdoctoral research associate. Siva's research efforts centrally focus on identifying peptides that can deliver drugs selectively to the border zone of infarct post-MI. He recently received a two-year postdoc fellowship from American Heart Association (AHA) for carrying out targeted delivery of Adenosine A2A receptor agonist (ATL-146e) to the infarct border zone. His other interests include molecular imaging and understanding the role of myofibroblasts in infarct healing. He is also involved in the project on cardiac regeneration using small molecules in collaboration with Astra Zeneca (UVA/AZ Alliance). This involves targeting CPCs with small molecules either to proliferate (increase in number and differentiate eventually) or to differentiate CPCs into both myocyte and vascular lineages.

Siva received his BSc Hons Biosciences (2002) and MSc Biotechnology (2004) from India before coming to US for pursuing his MS and PhD. Siva received his MS Biology (2006) and PhD Biology (2011) from Illinois Institute of Technology, Chicago, and carried out his graduate work at Argonne National Laboratory. During the course of his PhD, he worked on various projects including characterization of CA 125 using fluorescence correlation spectroscopy, development of single cell multiplex RT PCR, T7 phage based imaging probes for cancer, and also studying the nature of floating cells in human embryonic stem cell culture.

Illinois Institute of Technology, Chicago
Ph.D., Biology, 2011
M.S., Biology, 2006

Sri Krishnadevaraya University
MSc, Biotechnology, 2004

Michael Gutknecht, Ph.D.

Postdoctoral Fellow

Michael joined the Kelly lab in April 2014, soon after completing his graduate studies in the Department of Microbiology, Immunology, and Cancer Biology at UVA. His thesis research focused on the regulation of monocyte differentiation and function by the focal adhesion kinase family members FAK and Pyk2, and how expression of FAK in myeloid lineage cells controls tumor development. His initial plans for post-doctoral work are to investigate factors identified by the lab as being key regulators of pancreatic tumor growth. In his free time, he prefers to be outside enjoying the recreational opportunities around central Virginia, including trail running and hiking. These times are often spent with his dog Pono. Prior to UVA, Michael was an undergraduate student at Duke University and worked for several years in the Department of Invertebrate Zoology at the National Museum of Natural History.

University of Virginia
PhD, Microbiology, Immunology, and Cancer Biology, 2014

Julien Dimastromatteo, Ph.D.

Postdoctoral Fellow

Julien joined the Kelly lab in July 2014, after working in the Experimental Nuclear Cardiology and Molecular Imaging Lab at UVA. His research centers around developing small peptide-based nuclear imaging agents in oncology and developing antibody-drug conjugates as immunotherapies against pancreatic cancer.

Université Joseph Fourier (Grenoble I)
PhD, Physiology - Nuclear Imaging, 2010

Lindsey Brinton

Ph.D. Candidate

Lindsey’s current research centers on targeting the stromal compartment for early diagnosis and therapy of pancreatic cancer. She graduated from the University of Virginia with distinction, earning a B.S. in Biomedical Engineering and a B.A. in French. As an undergraduate, she researched the gene regulation of P. aeruginosa in the systems biology laboratory of Jason Papin. She interned in the Biomechanics Injury Laboratory of Joel Stitzel at Wake Forest. She spent a summer semester studying at L’Université Lumière Lyon 2 in France and returned to live there for a year and a half as a volunteer teacher between her undergraduate and graduate studies. In her first two years as a graduate student, she was supported by an NIH Pharmacology Training Grant. She is avidly interested in teaching and plans to pursue a career in academia. In 2013, she won the People’s Choice Award for the international Universitas21 Three Minute Thesis Competition. When not in the lab, she loves to be with family, run, read, and cook.

University of Virginia
B.S., Biomedical Engineering, 2009
B.A., French Language and Literature, 2009

Dustin Bauknight

Ph.D. Candidate

Dustin is a 3rd year Ph.D. student whose research focuses on developing imaging agents to track T Cells and viral-mediated gene delivery to tumor endothelium. Before coming to UVA, Dustin earned his B.S. with Honors in Engineering Science from the Pennsylvania State University in 2009. While there, he completed his senior thesis on the design and optimization of asymmetric electrochemical capacitors. After graduating, Dustin worked for two years as a Materials Engineer at Mainstream Engineering Corporation, where he researched advanced nanomaterials for energy storage and energy conversion. Outside of lab, he enjoys soccer, volleyball, hiking and going to the beach.

Pennsylvania State University
B.S., Engineering Science, 2009

Hillary Sloane

Ph.D. Candidate

Hillary began her graduate research in the Department of Chemistry at UVA, immediately after recieving her B.S. in Chemistry/Biochemistry from UVA in 2011. She is a member of the Landers laboratory, a bioanalytical microchip lab, where she works on the development of novel microfluidic-based technology for point-of-care genetic testing. Hillary's interests in the applications of her work to clinical oncology led her to join the Kelly lab in the Spring of 2014, becoming a joint graduate student in both Chemistry and Biomedical Engineering. In the Kelly lab, Hillary focuses on understanding the genetic basis of cancer, so as to use tumor-specific genetic signatures to guide treatment decisions. Her work toward the development of an appropriate genetic testing technology is designed to translate these findings into clinical practice, where they have the potential to effectively improve patient care.

University of Virginia
B.S., Chemistry/Biochemistry, 2011

Alex Zorychta

Lab Technician

Alex Zorychta is currently developing a rapid diagnostic for bacterial infection in the lab under a grant from the UVA-Coulter Translational Research partnership, after having been developed on the research side as Alex's Fourth Year Capstone project and also having been validated on the entrepreneurial side by winning the $20,000 grand prize in the 2012 UVA Entrepreneurship Cup. Alex was a part of the 2012 Virginia team for the annual iGEM competition, the international competition in student-led synthetic biology research.

Alex graduated in May 2013 with a B.S. in Biomedical Engineering from the University of Virginia. Fascinated with the potential of biomedical research, his career goals lie at the interface between research and business in order to make promising technologies available to those in need.

University of Virginia
B.S., Biomedical Engineering, 2013

Daniel Monaco

Undergraduate Research Assistant

Daniel is a fourth year Biomedical Engineering student working on developing a simple to use test for Listeria for his Capstone Design. He holds a patent for an intramedullary reamer device and has interned at MITRE for the last two summers.