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Neil L. Kelleher, PhD

Walter and Mary E. Glass Professor of Molecular Biosciences; Professor of Chemistry, Weinberg College of Arts Sciences Professor of Medicine (Hematology & Oncology), Feinberg School of Medicine; Director, Northwestern Proteomics; Director, Chemistry of Life Processes Institute

Neil L. Kelleher, PhD, is the Walter and Mary E. Glass Professor of Molecular Biosciences, Professor of Chemistry in the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences, and Professor of Medicine (Hematology & Oncology) in the Feinberg School of Medicine. His primary research interests include top-down proteomics, natural products discovery, and cancer biology. Kelleher is the Director of the  Chemistry of Life Processes Institute and Director of  Northwestern Proteomics. He is a member of the  Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center.

Neil Kelleher’s research group is focused on top-down proteomics, chromatin biology, and natural product biosynthesis and discovery. Contributing to both technology development and application of mass spectrometry in chemistry and biology,  The Kelleher Research Group is interested in the biosynthesis and discovery of novel natural products with potential pharmacological activities. The lab leverages top-down proteomics—the analysis of intact proteins for precise localization of post-translational modifications — to advance and contribute to the understanding of chromatin and cancer biology.

Kelleher is both a pioneer and champion of the top-down approach and the Human Proteoform Project (HPfP), a global research initiative to weigh every protein in the human body—250,000 proteoforms in 4,000 different cell types. HPfP will enable dramatic increases in the speed and efficiency by which investigators can identify higher-value protein-based markers of disease and spur game-changing advances in biomedical research, drug development and human health. 

Kelleher received a B.S. and B.A. from Pacific Lutheran University in 1992, a Fulbright Fellowship the following year, and a Ph.D. from Cornell University in 1997 completing his joint graduate work with Tadhg Begley and Fred McLafferty. In 1999, after a NIH Postdoctoral Fellowship at Harvard Medical School with Chris Walsh, Kelleher joined the faculty at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign where he established his research program in proteomics. In 2010, he joined the faculty at Northwestern University.

Throughout his career, Kelleher has received many honors, including the Arthur P. Sloan Foundation Fellowship, Packard Fellowship, Dreyfus Award for New Investigators, Camille Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar Award, Lilly Analytical Chemistry Award and National Institutes of Health Career Transition Award. He also was a Burroughs Wellcome Fund Young Investigator and a Searle Scholar. In 2004, he received the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers, the nation’s highest honor for professionals at the outset of their independent research careers. Kelleher also co-founded several successful startups, including  Nativetdms.org,   IntegratedProteinTechnologies.com ,  Proteinaceous.net, and  MicroMGX.com.

Kelleher has written more than 300 publications. The ProSight software suite developed by Kelleher is used by more than 1,000 labs around the world. An international leader in his field, Kelleher is the founder and president of the  Consortium for Top-Down Proteomics, a 350-member organization with global reach.