Skip Navigation

James Eshleman

JAMES R. ESHLEMAN, M.D., Ph.D. is the inaugural Ralph H. Hruban, M.D. Professor in Pancreatic Cancer Research. He received his medical degree and doctoral degree in anatomy and structural biology (cell biology) at the University of Pennsylvania in 1988. Dr. Eshleman completed an internship in internal medicine at Temple University Hospital and a post-doctoral fellowship with Donna L. George, Ph.D.; residency training in clinical pathology, serving as chief resident; and a fellowship in blood banking and transfusion medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. In 1993, he joined the faculty at Case Western University as a post-doctoral fellow in the laboratory of Sanford D. Markowitz, M.D., Ph.D. in the Department of Oncology, where he identified that cancers with microsatellite instability have elevated mutation rates and characterized the types of mutations produced. In 1997, Dr. Eshleman joined the faculty at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine as an assistant professor in the Departments of Pathology and Oncology. He was promoted to associate professor in 2002 and elevated to the rank of professor in 2010. Since his arrival at Johns Hopkins, Dr. Eshleman has led an independently funded research laboratory focused on identifying familial pancreatic cancer predisposition genes, developing and validating tests for pancreatic cancer and, most recently, directly targeting genetic changes in pancreatic cancer. Included among Dr. Eshleman’s many accomplishments are the exome sequencing for 24 pancreatic cancers, for which he and his research team were recognized by the American Association for Cancer Research with the prestigious Team Science Award.  In 2013, he was part of the team that demonstrated that the mutations associated with microsatellite unstable cancers, including pancreatic cancer, could be targeted with immunotherapy.  In 2019, he validated a clinical test for circulating tumor DNA in pancreatic cancer patients and demonstrated its prognostic significance. During his career at Johns Hopkins, he has trained and mentored more than 35 fellows and doctoral candidates, along with dozens of medical students, residents and graduate students. He has received the Johns Hopkins Pathobiology Graduate Program Teaching Award three times. Dr. Eshleman has received numerous grant awards from the National Institutes of Health and other funding sources; served as a reviewer for multiple medical publications; co-authored more than 190 peer-reviewed publications; and authored five book chapters on molecular medicine and the detection of pancreatic cancer.