Jake Cawley is a veterinary oncologist studying the impacts of cellular plasticity on cancer development and progression. He views cancer as a collection of cells cooperating purposefully with one another and local environmental cells to inappropriately develop tissue in the face of established structures. Jake is passionate about equity in science and creating opportunities for others through mentorship and example. Since early in his career, Jake has been a trailblazer for veterinary clinician-scientists. He was the first veterinary student to be accepted into the NIH Medical Research Scholars Program, and now is the first Ethos Discovery Science Fellow, where he seeks to establish a path for veterinarians to participate in cutting-edge research while also furthering the understanding of cancer biology through his studies of canine cancer.
Jake was born and raised in Newport, RI. He graduated with a biology degree from Marist College. Here, he studied the negative effects of heavy metal exposure on embryonic development in chicks. He then attended Virginia Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine. During his D.V.M. training and under the guidance of David Caudell, Jake spent a summer studying the effects of NUP98HOXD13 transgene on megakaryocyte morphology in a mouse model of acute myeloid leukemia. This experience solidified Jake’s desire to study and treat cancer, leading him to take on a year-long intensive research project at the NIH via the Medical Research Scholars Program. Here, he studied the effects of WNT signaling in castration resistant prostate cancer in Kathleen Kelly’s lab at the NCI. After this experience he returned to Virginia Tech and finished his clinical training in 2015 before heading to Cornell University for a 1-year rotating internship. He completed his medical oncology residency at Colorado State University in 2019 after which time he joined the Ethos Discovery team as a Science Fellow to help design and implement Ethos PUSH — a large, nation-wide, prospective, randomized clinical trial for dogs with splenic hemangiosarcoma. Jake continued to design and manage various canine cancer clinical trials through Ethos Discovery while he started a postdoctoral fellowship in 2020 in Peter Scacheri’s lab at Case Western Reserve University studying cancer cell plasticity in canine hemangiosarcoma. Jake is now a member of the Tesar Lab and continues to study cellular plasticity and its impact on cancer progression.
When not in the lab or clinic, Jake and his wife, Kristin, can be found chasing their two young kids, Kiera and Connor, around the house with their 2 dogs (Nellie and Kuma) and cat (Minnie) in tow. Jake loves to spend time with his family at the Cleveland Zoo and at the local garden center.