Jessica Keilson accepted into Georgia CTSA training program

June 2020

Jessica Keilson, MD, a surgery resident working under the co-mentorship of Shishir K. Maithel, MD, scientific director of Emory's Liver and Pancreas Center, and Gregory B. Lesinski, PhD, co-director of the Translational GI Malignancy Program at Winship Cancer Institute, has been accepted into the Georgia Clinical & Translational Science Alliance (CTSA) TL1/MSCR Program.

TL1 grants support research training experiences for trainees who are pursuing careers in multi-disciplinary clinical and translational science, and will provide tuition support for Dr. Keilson to obtain a Master of Science in Clinical Research Degree from Emory.

Dr. Keilson's research project will focus on evaluating molecular targets that are responsible for immune-mediated recognition and evasion of cholangiocarcinoma tumor cells in order to identify potential novel therapeutic targets. As a rare malignancy of the biliary tree, cholangiocarcinoma is most often identified in late stages due to the lack of early clinical features.

Specifically, Dr. Keilson will concentrate on analysis of galectin-9, a glycoprotein that has been identified in a variety of cancer cell types and shown to play a critical role in tumorigenesis and immune system evasion. Defining the mechanics of the involvement of galectin-9 in the disease progression of the cholangiocarcinoma tumor microenvironment could help in developing targeting methods to disrupt that involvement.

Dr. Keilson is the third resident associated with Dr. Maithel's lab to win this prestigious award. Michael Turgeon, MD, received it in 2019, and Adriana Gamboa, MD, in 2018.