Jason Chesney

Brinkley Chair in Lung Cancer Research

School of Medicine

Jason Chesney, M.D., Ph.D., is the deputy director of the James Graham Brown Cancer Center and a professor of medicine, pharmacology and toxicology, biochemistry and molecular biology at the University of Louisville School of Medicine. He also is the medical director of the Clinical Research Program and Biorepository at JGBCC and is co-leader of the Molecular Targets Program.

Dr. Chesney is an inventor on nine U.S. patents for new cancer therapies and his laboratory research has resulted in two on-going phase 1 clinical trials of novel cancer drugs that are currently available to advanced cancer patients, including PFK-158 and the Anti-Macrophage Migration Inhibitory Factor Antibody. In 2014, Dr. Chesney’s clinical research team and a second team from Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center were the top two clinical groups worldwide to find that the combination of ipilimumab with another immune checkpoint inhibitor, nivolumab, was the most effective immunotherapy regimen ever developed for cancer patients.

Over the last ten years, Dr. Chesney’s research group has discovered the roles of several metabolic enzymes in the development and progression of lung cancer including 6-phosphofructo-2-kinase 3, choline kinase and cytochrome c oxidase. These new metabolic targets are being interrogated for their utility in the development of new drugs to treat not only lung cancer but also other types of cancer. Dr. Chesney also has been at the forefront of understanding the metabolic effects of cancer-driving genes including Ras, the estrogen receptor and the epidermal growth factor receptor.

Dr. Chesney’s research is funded by the National Cancer Institute, the Congressionally-Directed Medical Research Program and the National Center for Research Resources to develop novel experimental therapeutics for the treatment of cancer. Since 2010, Dr. Chesney has been a Reviewer on the National Cancer Institute’s (NCI) Specialized Programs in Research Excellence (SPORE) Study Section and recently has served as a discussion leader and co-chair. He also is a standing member on the NCI’s Tumor Cell Biology Study Section and thus functions to not only review large SPORE Clinical and Translational Program Project grants but also basic laboratory science R21 and R01 grants focused on cancer. In 2015, he was selected to serve as an on-site reviewer of P30 NCI-Designated Cancer Centers throughout the United States.

Dr. Chesney attended the University of Minnesota Graduate School and Medical School, completed his internship and residency at Cornell University Medical College and Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, and received further training as a clinical immunology fellow at New York Hospital. He has received multiple awards including the Kentucky Derby’s Julep Ball Scientist of the Year and been named a U.S. News World and Report Top Doctor in Solid Tumors and Clinical Trials.