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

Headshot of James Richard Eshleman Jr.
  • Associate Director, Molecular Diagnostics Laboratory
  • Professor of Pathology



Research Interests

Molecular diagnosis of cancer; Genetic instability; Pancreatic cancer genetics and chemosensitivity ...read more


The Johns Hopkins Hospital

600 N. Wolfe Street
David H. Koch Cancer Research Building, Suite 344
Baltimore, MD 21287 map
Phone: 410-955-9790 | Fax: 410-614-0671


Dr. James Eshleman is a professor of pathology and oncology at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and a member of its Kimmel Cancer Center. His areas of clinical expertise includes molecular diagnosis. 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 studying the genetics of hereditary and sporadic pancreatic cancers; using genetics to develop personalized chemotherapy regimens and other treatments for pancreatic cancer patients; finding new ways to genetically target pancreatic cancer; and developing new molecular pathology tools.

...read more


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

Departments / Divisions

Centers & Institutes



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


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


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

Board Certifications

  • American Board of Pathology (Clinical Pathology) (1992)

Research & Publications

Research Summary

Pancreatic cancers: genetics of sporadic and familial pancreatic cancer.  In collaboration with the Vogelstein/Kinzler lab, in 2008 we reported exome sequencing for 24 pancreatic cancers, where we confirmed identified genes in another 92 cancers. In Jones 2009, we identified that the partner and localizer of BRCA2 (PALB2) was a familial pancreatic cancer predisposition gene.  Using gene mutations in primary cancers and their metastases, we clocked the progression of pancreatic cancer to demonstrate that metastasis is a late event, occurring after 17 years of growth in the primary site.  Finally, in Norris et al, we reported a new method of mutagenesis in pancreatic cancer.
Chemotherapy of pancreatic cancer. In Cui et al, we correlated the genetics of pancreatic cancer with responses to various classes of chemotherapy.  In Kamiyama, we developed mice that are both immunodeficient and biochemically selectable.  After growth of human cancers in these mice, pure cancer cells can be routinely obtained for drug screening.
Novel molecular pathology tools. We wrote software to simulate pyrosequencing (Chen et al), and developed a method (haplotype counting) to overcome the error rate of next-generation sequencing (Debeljak et al).

Selected Publications

View all on PubMed

Le DT, Durham JN, Smith KN, Wang H, Bartlett BR, Aulakh LK, Lu S, Kemberling H, Wilt C, Luber BS, Wong F, Azad NS, Rucki AA, Laheru D, Donehower R, Zaheer A, Fisher GA, Crocenzi TS, Lee JJ, Greten TF, Duffy AG, Ciombor KK, Eyring AD, Lam BH, Joe A, Kang SP, Holdhoff M, Danilova L, Cope L, Meyer C, Zhou S, Goldberg RM, Armstrong DK, Bever KM, Fader AN, Taube J, Housseau F, Spetzler D, Xiao N, Pardoll DM, Papadopoulos N, Kinzler KW, Eshleman JR, Vogelstein B, Anders RA, Diaz LA Jr. Mismatch-repair deficiency predicts response of solid tumors to PD-1 blockade. Science. 2017 July; 357: 409-413.

Dudley JC, Lin MT, Le DT, Eshleman JR.  Microsatellite instability as a biomarker for PD-1 blockade.  Clin Cancer Res. 2016 Feb 15;22(4):813-20.

Cui Y, Brosnan JA, Blackford A, Sur S, Hruban RH, Kinzler KW, Vogelstein B, Maitra A, Diaz LA, Iacobuzio-Donahue CA, and Eshleman JR. Genetically defined subsets of human pancreatic cancer demonstrate unique in vitro chemosensitivity. Clinical Cancer Research, 2012;18:6519-30. [PMC3513499].

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. 2008; 321:1801-6. [PMC2848990].

Eshleman JR, Lang EZ, Bowerfind GK, Parsons R, Vogelstein B, Willson JKV, Veigl M, Sedwick WD, and Markowitz S. Increased mutation rate at the hprt locus accompanies microsatellite instability in colon cancer. Oncogene. 1995; 10:33-7.

Academic Affiliations & Courses

Graduate Program Affiliation

Pathobiology, Cellular and Molecular Medicine

Patient Ratings & Comments

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