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1995 …2022

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Personal profile

Research interests

Dr. Deb Kelly's research focuses on innovative approaches to study biological systems, ranging from human viruses to cancer. Central to her work is high-resolution imaging, primarily cryo-Electron Microscopy (EM). Invasive breast cancer threatens the lives of women everywhere and there is no precise treatment for the disease. Her team has developed a tunable microchip toolkit to study mutations in the breast cancer susceptibility protein, BRCA1. Using this new tools, the Kelly lab expects to determine strategic insights for the molecular detection and prevention of BRCA1-related cancers. Her team is on the cutting edge of the burgeoning new field they call structural oncology.

Teaching and educational interests

As part of her academic appointment and throughout her career, Dr. Deb Kelly has had the privilege of teaching and training the next generation of physician-scientists. Prior to joining Penn State, she mentored four medical students, four graduate students and numerous undergraduates. Her medical students have published their findings in peer-reviewed journals, contributing to 10 original research articles.

Education/Academic qualification

Cell Biology, Post-doctoral Training, Harvard Medical School

… → 2010

Molecular Biophysics, PhD, Florida State University

… → 2003

External positions

Vice Chair, Gordon Research Conference in Liquid Phase EM


Director of Biological Sciences, Microscopy Society of America

Jan 1 2017 → …

Session Chair, Gordon Research Conference in 3D-EM


Director of Biological Sciences, Microscopy Society of America

2017 → …


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