Jessica Thaxton, Ph.D, MsCR

Principal Investigator

Dr. Thaxton is an Assistant Professor with a joint appointment in the Department of Orthopaedics and the Department of Microbiology & Immunology at Medical University of South Carolina.  Dr. Thaxton received her BA from Amherst College in 2001 and her PhD from Brown University in 2009. From 2001-2004 Dr. Thaxton began her research career in transplantation immunology at Harvard Medical School and the Garvan Institute for Medical Research. In her graduate career Jessica focused on immune tolerance. In her postdoctoral work at Oregon Health & Sciences University and Medical University of South Carolina Jessica trained in the areas of virus specific T cell responses and T cell activation and metabolism in the context of cancer. Jessica is the MUSC Hollings Cancer Center K12 clinical oncology awardee 2015-2017 and is further supported by the American Cancer Society.

Lee leddy, md, mscr

Dr. Leddy is an Associate Professor of Orthopaedics at Medical University of South Carolina.  Dr. Leddy received his BS from Emory University in Biological Sciences in 1999 and his MD from University of Florida School of Medicine in 2003. He then returned to Emory University Department of Orthopaedics for an internship, his residency, and fellowship. His clinical interests include bone cancers, orthopaedic oncology, sarcomas, and total joint reconstruction. Dr. Leddy plays an integral role in the Thaxton Lab by bringing clinical relevance to our research. Dr. Leddy recently won a grant that focuses on negative pressure wound healing in sarcoma patients.


Zeke J. Walton, MD

Dr. Walton is a native of Greenville,SC. He completed his undergraduate work at The University of South Carolina in Columbia where he graduated Magna Cum Laude and Phi Beta Kappa. He then earned his medical doctorate from the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston, SC where he graduated Alpha Omega Alpha (AOA).  He then completed his Orthopaedic Surgery residency at MUSC and a fellowship in Orthopaedic Oncology and Joint Reconstruction at Emory University. He returned to join the Orthopaedic faculty at MUSC in 2014. He is actively involved in patient care, resident and medical student education and is an active contributor and collaborator with Dr. Thaxton and her lab team. He has research interests that are broad and diverse and include basic science, clinical studies and innovative technologies. Outside of work he enjoys staying active, snow skiing, hiking, and traveling.

Katie hurst

Katie graduated from Clemson University in 2012 with a BA in Biological Sciences with a minor in Psychology.  Katie’s interest in cancer biology led her to the Medical University of South Carolina after graduation to pursue a career in molecular cancer research.  She holds a special interest in cancer psychology.  Katie serves as lab manager for the Thaxton Lab while pursuing her Masters in Public Health at Medical University of South Carolina. She hopes to pursue a career in global cancer health upon graduation.

kiley lawrence

Kiley is a first year medical student at MUSC. She graduated magna cum laude from Clemson University in 2017 with BS degrees in Biochemistry and Genetics and a minor in Psychology. Kiley also received honors from the Calhoun Honors College. Kiley’s curiosity in the intersection of the clinical and research aspects of medicine is what motivated her to apply for the laboratory technician position at MUSC. After two years of cancer immunotherapy research Kiley is pursuing a medical degree with an interest in orthopaedic oncology.

sophia traven, md

Dr. Traven is a chief resident in orthopaedics at the Medical University of South Carolina. She completed her undergraduate degree in Biology at St. Mary’s College of Maryland, where she graduated summa cum laude and with Phi Beta Kappa honors. She then completed her medical degree at the University of Virginia on a full scholarship from the U.S. Air Force, prior to matching into residency in Charleston and being inducted into the Alpha Omega Alpha honors medical society. Her clinical interests include orthopaedic oncology, total joint arthroplasty, and complex trauma and joint reconstruction. Outside of work, she enjoys running, hiking, and flying.

molly sekar, ms

Molly received two BS degrees from College of Charleston in 2014 in Biological Sciences and Psychology. She then earned her Master’s in Medical Science from the Medical University of South Carolina in 2016. She was accepted into the College of Medicine program at the Medical University of South Carolina and is currently a second year medical student. Molly is hoping to pursue a career in Orthopaedic Oncology. Molly started working as an assistant in Dr. Thaxton’s lab after being accepted into the Orthopaedic Summer Research Program.


Rob is an undergraduate student at the College of Charleston pursuing a BS in Biology with an emphasis in Molecular Biology. His interest in cancer immunology led him to our lab after spending a year in a neuroscience lab. After graduating, he hopes to enter into an MD and/or PhD program, where he plans to continue studying cancer immunology in a translational setting.

k9 unit (and finn)

Jack                           Rocco                         Julie                         Millie

Cal                            Finn                 Thelma & Louise

Medical University of South Carolina

Department of Orthopaedics

© May 2019