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James Richard Eshleman, Jr, M.D., Ph.D.

Photo of Dr. James Richard Eshleman, Jr, M.D., Ph.D.

Associate Director, Molecular Diagnostics Laboratory

Professor of Pathology


Expertise: Pathology

Research Interests: Molecular diagnosis of cancer; Genetic instability; Pancreatic cancer genetics and chemosensitivity

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The Johns Hopkins Hospital
Appointment Phone: 410-955-3511

600 N. Wolfe Street
David H. Koch Cancer Research Building, Suite 344
Baltimore, MD 21287 map
Phone: 410-955-5000
Fax: 410-614-0671


Dr. James Eshleman is a professor of pathology and oncology at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. His areas of clinical expertise include molecular diagnosis, transfusion medicine and residency training. Dr. Eshleman serves as the associate director of the Molecular Diagnostics Laboratory at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine.

Dr. Eshleman earned his M.D. and Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. He completed a residency in clinical pathology and a fellowship in blood banking and transfusion medicine at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania.

His research interests include colon cancer genetics, genetic instability and mutation analysis, and molecular diagnosis of cancer. His laboratory is involved in translational research in molecular diagnostics and basic science research on novel therapeutics.

Among his many accomplishments, Dr. Eshleman and his colleagues recently reported a novel method for point mutations detection and are using this method to help detect pancreatic cancer earlier. They also sequenced all genes for 24 pancreatic cancer samples and reported a new familial predisposition gene. more


  • Associate Director, Molecular Diagnostics Laboratory
  • Professor of Pathology
  • Professor of Oncology

Centers & Institutes



  • MD; Pathology, Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania (1988)


  • Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania / Clinical Pathology (1992)


  • Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania / Blood Banking/Transfusion Medicine (1993)

Board Certifications

  • American Board of Pathology / Clinical Pathology (1992)

Research & Publications

Research Summary

Dr. Eshleman's research program involves two major areas. The first is basic science of colon cancer, specifically the involvement of mutator phenotypes in colon carcinogenesis. Mutator phenotypes are increased mutation rates which commonly arise due to defects in DNA replication or repair. He and his lab are investigating the hypothesis that during carcinogenesis, cells acquire defects in DNA repair systems (e.g., mismatch repair) that profoundly increases their spontaneous mutation rate and their ability to deal with mutagens/carcinogens. These mutations then drive carcinogenesis and may play a role in evading therapy. It is also possible that cell defects in DNA repair can also be used therapeutically.

The other area of Dr. Eshleman's research is translational research involving molecular diagnostics. The sequence of the human genome, knowledge of disease causing mutations, and molecular diagnostic tools are all significantly increasing. However, substantial gaps exist between basic science findings and the ability to apply them in the clinical setting.


The Pathology Molecular Diagnostics Laboratory offers state-of-the-art clinical molecular testing for leukemia, lymphoma, solid tumors, cancer predisposition and a number of hematologic mutations associated with disease. Their tests are based on the latest research-based knowledge and provide initial diagnostic information, detection of residual disease following therapy, and assessment of disease risk for inherited conditions.

The Pathology Cytogenetics Laboratory offers the most advanced clinical cytogenetics testing available for leukemia, lymphoma and solid tumors. The tests provide initial diagnostic information and minimal risidual disease detection following therapy or transplant. Expert results, interpretation and consultation services from these laboratories aid referring physicians, including oncologists, hematologists, pathologists, obstetricians and geneticists, in the appropriate diagnosis and management of their patients.

Core Facility: Molecular Pathology & Cytogenetics

Selected Publications

View all on Pubmed

Shi C, Fukushima N, Abe T, Bian Y, Hua L, Wendelburg BJ, Yeo CJ, Hruban RH, Goggins MG, and Eshleman JR. "Sensitive and quantitative detection of KRAS2 gene mutations in pancreatic duct juice differentiates patients with pancreatic cancer from chronic pancreatitis, potential for early detection." Cancer Biol Ther, 3/2008; 7:260-7.

Shi C, Eshleman SH, Jones D, Fukushima N, Hua L, Parker AR, Yeo CJ, Hruban RH, Goggins MG, and Eshleman JR. LigAmp for Sensitive Detection of Single Nucleotide Differences. Nature Methods, 1: 141-147, November, 2004.

Shi C, Parker AR, Hua L, Morrell CN, Lee SC, Bandaru W, Wu TC and Eshleman JR. Anti-gene padlocks kill bacterial cells based on their genotype. Submitted.

Jones S, Zhang X, Parsons DW, Lin JC, Leary RJ, Angenendt P, Mankoo P, Carter H, Kamiyama H, Jimeno A, Hong SM, Fu B, Lin MT, Calhoun ES, Kamiyama M, Walter K, Nikolskaya T, Nikolsky Y, Hartigan J, Smith DR, Hidalgo M, Leach SD, Klein AP, Jaffee EM, Goggins M, Maitra A, Iacobuzio-Donahue C, Eshleman JR, Kern SE, Hruban RH, Karchin R, Papadopoulos N, Parmigiani G, Vogelstein B, Velculescu VE, and Kinzler KW. "Core signaling pathways in human pancreatic cancers revealed by global genomic analyses." Science. 9/2008; 321:1801-6.

Shi C, Hong SM, Lim P, Kamiyama H, Khan M, Anders RA, Goggins M, Hruban RH, and Eshleman JR. "KRAS2 mutations in human pancreatic acinar-ductal metaplastic lesions are limited to those with PanIN: Implications for the human pancreatic cancer cell of origin." Mol Cancer Res, 2/2009; 7:230-6 [NIHMS #89589].

Jones S, Hruban RH, Kamiyama M, Borges M, Zhang X, Parsons DW, Cheng-Ho Lin J, Palmisano E, Brune K, Jaffee EM, Iacobuzio-Donahue CA, Maitra A, Parmigini G, Kern SE, Velculescu VE, Kinzler KW, Vogelstein B, Eshleman JR, Goggins M, and Klein AP. "Exomic sequencing identifies PALB2 as a pancreatic cancer susceptibility gene." Science. 4/2009; 324:217.

Shi C, Chandrasekharan A, Thuluvath PJ, Karikari C, Argani P, Goggins M, Maitra A, and Eshleman JR. "Ultrasensitive detection of KRAS2 mutations in bile and serum from patients with biliary tract carcinoma using LigAmp technology." J Molec Diagnostics. 2009 Nov;11(6):583-9.

Academic Affiliations & Courses

Graduate Program Affiliation

Pathobiology, Cellular and Molecular Medicine

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