Dr. McKillip completed a BS in Biology (minor in Chemistry) from Muskingum College (New Concord, OH) in 2009. At Muskingum College, Dr. McKillip held a Science Division Scholarship, a Faculty Scholarship, and a Hodges Research Grant. She then entered graduate school at the University of Cincinnati (Cincinnati, OH) and completed a PhD in Pathobiology and Molecular Medicine in 2014. Dr. McKillip’s dissertation research in the laboratory of Dr. Zhongyun Dong was focused on “anti-cancer implications of small molecule compounds targeting proliferating cell nuclear antigen.” Some of Dr. McKillip’s dissertation research was published in Molecular Pharmacology and Molecular Cancer Therapy. Dr. McKillip was a co-inventor on a patent for “PCNA targeting compounds for cancer therapy” (granted in 2018) that grew from her dissertation research. Dr. McKillip was recognized as Student of the Year in the Pathobiology and Molecular Medicine Graduate Program in 2014, and she was recognized on several other occasions with recognition for excellent research.
In 2015, Dr. McKillip became a Clinical Instructor in the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at the University of Cincinnati, and she was promoted to Clinical Assistant Professor in 2017. In 2015, Dr. McKillip became the Director of the University of Cincinnati Biorepository, in 2016 she became Technical Director of the Histopathology Core Laboratory, and in 2019 became the Technical Director of the Precision Medicine Laboratory. This year, Dr. McKillip was awarded the UC College of Medicine Research Service Award in recognition of her dedication and service to the research mission of her institution. Dr. McKillip also participates in the teaching mission of the University of Cincinnati providing lectures for graduate students on a variety of subjects from “biorepositories and biospecimen research” to “identification of new drugs for cancer therapy.” Dr. McKillip serves as a consultant for the Post-Graduate Hematology/Oncology Translational Training Program which is supported by a T32 grant from the NIH/NCI. Dr. McKillip also participates in teaching of pathology residents (since 2015) from her department, providing lectures related to “biobanking, molecular genetic testing, and solid tumor testing.” Dr. McKillip also teaches and mentors students in the laboratory. To date she has mentored two undergraduates, five graduate students (including 2 Masters and 3 PhD students), and four pathology residents. Dr. McKillip is also extremely active in various Committees at the University of Cincinnati that oversee clinical operations, including the COVID-19 Operations Subcommittee (since 2020). Dr. McKillip also serves on the University of Cincinnati Institutional Review Board (IRB), which is essential to a strong research program.
Dr. McKillip’s more recent research is translational or applied and focused on utilizing the molecular diagnostics laboratory to identify actionable genomic targets in human disease tissue, as well as issues related to biorepositories in research. In recent years, she expanded biorepository support of cancer research programs, including work with a multidisciplinary team of investigators engaged in microbiome research. In the spring of 2020, she worked with a collaborative team of clinicians and researchers to establish the Cincinnati COVID-19 Repository (CCR), which to date has collected and banked more than 28,000 serum, plasma, and PBMC aliquots for research. For this work, she has been recognized in news articles and other publications, and this resource has been invaluable for enabling research on COVID-19.
Dr. McKillip has been active and engaged with the ASIP since joining in 2017. She is a member of the Research and Science Policy Committee (since 2018) and the Program Committee (since 2018). In 2020, Dr. McKillip was a co-author on a white paper produced by the Research and Science Policy Committee entitled “Return of individual research results: A guide for biomedical researchers utilizing human biospecimens” that was published in The American Journal of Pathology (Sobel. M.E., et al., 2020, Am. J. Pathol. 190:918-933). In 2020, Dr. McKillip was appointed Interim Chair of the Research and Science Policy Committee when that position was vacated by another member. In this role, Dr. McKillip also became a member of the ASIP Council. In early 2021, Dr. McKillip was elected to serve as the Chair of the Research and Science Policy Committee. Her leadership of the Research and Science Policy Committee has been particularly valuable as it is one of the ASIP’s more active committees, meeting monthly and addressing a wide range of issues and opportunities in representation of the membership of the Society. As a member of the Program Committee, Dr. McKillip has been called upon to contribute to the scientific programs for both the ASIP Annual Meeting and the PISA meetings. In 2018, she participated in a round table discussion on “maximizing biospecimen resources” at the PISA 2018 meeting at the University of Michigan. At Experimental Biology 2021, Dr. McKillip gave a short talk on her “alternative academic career” as a pathology PhD in the session entitled “I am an ASIP member and this is my science.”