Mark R. Kelley, Ph.D.

Associate Director of Basic Science Research

Mark Kelley

Dr. Kelley was appointed associate director of basic science research in 2005. Dr. Kelley, the Earl and Betty Herr Chair in Pediatric Oncology Research, also serves as associate director of the Wells Center for Pediatric Research and director of the Program of Molecular Oncology. As associate director of basic science research, Dr. Kelley oversees all basic science activities of the IU Simon Cancer Center, including stimulating interdisciplinary research collaboration, evaluating new research opportunities, and overseeing cancer center shared facilities as well as directing the pilot program initiative (ITRAC) of the IUSCC. He recommends basic research space assignments and also has a major role in mentoring young investigators. 

Dr. Kelley’s laboratory currently studies DNA repair genes involved in repairing base damage that occurs from oxidative and alkylation events in normal and tumor cells and following cancer treatments. Ongoing projects include:

  1. Studying the multifunctional APE1/Ref-1 protein structure/function in order to determine its redox and repair functions in normal and cancer cells
  2. Molecular targeted therapeutic approaches of the DNA base excision repair (BER) pathway with a focus on pediatric cancers as well as pancreatic cancer
  3. Altering Ape1’s redox function and role in angiogenesis as a therapeutic approach for cancer and other indications
  4. Role of DNA repair genes in cognitive dysfunction (“chemobrain”) and chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy (CIPN)

Dr. Kelley has numerous patents relating to the targeting the enzyme apurinic/apyrimidinic endonuclease 1/ Redox effector factor-1 (APE1/Ref-1) in cancer, ophthalmology dieseases as well as other indications such as inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and chemotherapy induced peripheral neuropathy (CIPN). He discovered and has been developing redox-specific inhibitors of APE1/Ref-1. This work was the impetus for becoming chief scientific officer and founder of Apexian Pharmaceutical, an integrated drug development company that’s leveraging the APE1/Ref-1 target platform to produce new therapeutics for the diseases and indications listed above. Apexian recently completed a phase I clinical trial (NCT03375086) using its lead agent, APX3330, for oncology indications. Phase II trials are being developed for multiple indications.

Dr. Kelley received his doctoral degree in genetics from Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, La. He completed a postdoctoral fellowship in molecular biology at Rockefeller University in New York, and was an assistant professor at Loyola University Medical School in Chicago prior to joining the Indiana University School of Medicine faculty in 1993. Dr. Kelley currently serves on the editorial boards of the Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics, Mutation Research: Molecular and Fundamental Mechanisms, and Current Molecular Pharmacology and sits on numerous National Cancer Institute (NCI) review panels and NCI cancer center site visit review teams. He is also the director of the Molecular Medicine in Action (MMIA) program for Indiana high school science teachers. He has been continuously funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH)/NCI for more than two decades.