Thomas Kelley, PhD

Contact Information

10900 Euclid Ave, BRB 833

Phone: 216-368-0831

Fax: 216-368-4223



Thomas Kelley, PhD

Associate Professor

  • Division: Pulmonology, Allergy and Immunology


Tom Kelley received his B.A. from the College of Wooster in 1988. He attended the University of Notre Dame where he was awarded his Ph.D. in Biochemistry in 1993. Dr. Kelley came to CWRU in 1993 where he worked as a Postdoc.

Research Interests
• Identifying a mechanistic link between the loss of CFTR function and altered cell-signaling control in CF airway epithelial cells – We have identified a number of cell regulatory changes in CF that impact processes such as inflammation and proliferation including increased RhoA-mediated signaling, reduced IFN-γ/STAT1 activation, and reduced NOS2 expression. We have also identified that intracellular processing of cholesterol is impaired resulting in increased de novo cholesterol synthesis that is related to pro-inflammatory signaling. We currently examine the role of microtubule function and stability in regulating intracellular transport. The signaling mechanisms linking CFTR function to microtubule regulation is also examined.

• Identifying targets of pharmaceutical intervention to treat cystic fibrosis - The signaling studies above identify potential sites of therapeutic intervention to restore normal regulatory processes in CF cells. We are currently exploring statins and HDAC6 inhibitors as potential therapeutic options in CF models. We also are interested in examining the mechanisms of existing therapies such as ibuprofen to identify alternative approaches to anti-inflammatory therapies with fewer side effects.

• Using membrane cholesterol as a biomarker of CFTR function – We have identified that membrane cholesterol levels are elevated in CF cells and tissues. In collaboration with Jim Burgess, PhD, in the Department of Chemistry, we are developing methods to measure membrane cholesterol in human subjects as a means of testing how CFTR correctors are impacting intracellular regulatory pathways.