Dr. Ajay V. Maker

Associate Professor of Surgery

Department of Surgery and Microbiology and Immunology


Office: 8139 COMRB
email: amaker@uic.edu
Phone: (312) 996-6134

Rotation Projects

Ajay V. Maker, MD, FACS Statement of Research Interests Dr. Maker graduated from Brown University with honors in fine arts and biology. Thereafter,he enrolled in the Yale School of Medicine and was selected to enter the Basic Science Research Training Fellowship where he was awarded the ADA Medical Scholars Award and the AAS/Novartis Research Award. He completed his general surgery residency at Harvard University’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital and a tumor immunology post-doctorate fellowship in the laboratory of Dr. Steven Rosenberg in the Surgery Branch of the NIH/NCI.He went on to complete surgical oncology fellowships at the NCI and Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, where he continued bench research in the Ludwig Cancer Institute in the labs of Jim Allison and Jed Wolchok, funded, in part, by an ASCO Merit Award and an NCI EDRU U01. He has focused the efforts of his research career on expanding the role of immunotherapy for gastrointestinal tumors and has aligned his clinical practice to coincide with his research interests. His NCI/NIH funded research laboratory has identified an immunostimulatory cytokine capable of activating and supporting the proliferation of antigen-specific T-cells to incite an anti-tumor immune response in colorectal liver metastases. This strategy is currently being investigated in combination with oncolytic viruses and immune checkpoint blockade. This work has been funded over time as PI by internal funding, a CDA by the Warren and Clara Cole Foundation of the ACS, the NIH through both K08 (mentor Bellur Prabhakar) and UL1 mechanisms, and currently will be maintained through incoming funding from the DoD (Cancer Impact Award), NIH/NCI (R01/R37), and the Society of Surgical Oncology (Investigator of the Year Award). He has also received a multi-year pharmaceutical grant to investigate novel drug combinations that stimulate immunogenic cell death and generate anti-tumor immune responses to treat GI tumor liver metastases. As part of these studies, Dr. Maker has developed multiple unique orthotopic animal models in which to study solid organ metastases that has led to multiple federally funded collaborations (CoI on a VA Merit Award and a NCI R01), including work on the novel porcine large-animal cancer model for liver and pancreatic cancer with the Oncopig team. Furthermore, Dr. Maker has been a leader in the international IPMN biomarkers research group, and has developed and patented a gene signature to predict malignancy in IPMN from pancreatic cyst fluid that is currently supported by a grant from the Chancellor’s Innovation Fund. He currently houses an international IPMN cyst fluid repository and this project is preparing for a multi-national clinical trial. Finally, as a clinical surgeon with a passion for developing new laparoscopic and robotic techniques in complex surgical oncology, he has also maintained a robust clinical database from which multiple techniques papers and outcomes studies have been generated along with his residents. Research productivity includes over 140 published manuscripts and abstracts, 11 book chapters, over 100 invited lectures, and 15 visiting professorships.