Future 50: Jessica Fleming, The James Cancer Center

Katy Smith
2020 Future 50 class member Jessica Fleming.

Future 50 Class of 2020

Jessica Fleming

Radiobiologist, The James Cancer Center

About: Jessica Fleming’s interest in science is rooted in watching her mother’s losing battle with breast cancer for 13 years. She became the first in her family to graduate college, and she went on to earn a PhD in molecular genetics. Fleming has built a career trying to cure cancer, studying the genetics of the disease and developing treatments that result in remission. She has published over 15 peer-reviewed articles, and her research in radiation oncology has been recognized on the national and international levels. In 2018, she received the Best of ASTRO Translational Science Award, and a prostate cancer genetic test she helped develop was patented this year. Fleming is one of the lead researchers for the Radiation Oncology International Outreach Team, which has forged relationships with leading cancer centers in India, China, Tanzania and dozens of European countries to exchange clinical and research data.

Outside work: In 2015, Fleming co-founded the Cap City Biohackers, a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting scientific literacy and advancing an innovative community. The group focuses on STEM education, citizen science and entrepreneurship. It hopes to open a science maker’s space to be called the Cap City Biospace to give the community access to lab equipment and the expertise and guidance to conduct experiments and connect with fellow science enthusiasts.

50 ideas to move the region forward. Here's who else is in the Future 50 Class of 2020.

What does Columbus need to thrive? “Affordable, reliable and efficient transportation. Traffic congestion is a problem every major city faces and to circumvent this, Columbus needs a creative solution. As a car-free individual for the past decade, I am constantly thinking of alternative modes of transportation, and while I love the idea of a subway or light-rail system, I have major concerns due to infrastructure and cost-associated risk. Alternative solutions include more frequent routes in designated bus lanes, autonomous vehicle carpools, or even one day autonomous air taxis.”

Fleming’s idea: “I would love to develop a STEM shadowing program serving disadvantaged communities in Columbus. This program would provide real-life exposure and experience to STEM-based careers by pairing students with STEM professionals.”

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