Kelly obtained his PhD in Synthetic Organic Chemistry from the University of Cambridge in the UK (1989-1992). This was followed by postdoctoral stints at the University of Liverpool in the UK (1992-94) and at the Scripps Research Institute in the USA (1994-96). He was a Sandler Sabbatical Fellow at the University of California San Francisco (2002), a US Fulbright Senior Research Scholar at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine (2008) and a Visiting Professor at Pfizer in the UK (2008).
He joined the University of Cape Town (UCT) in South Africa as a lecturer in October 1996 and rose through the ranks to become full Professor in 2007. He is also a Full Member of the UCT Institute of Infectious Disease & Molecular Medicine (IDM), a Tier 1 South Africa Research Chair in Drug Discovery, founding Director of the South African Medical Research Council (SAMRC) Drug Discovery and Development Research Unit at UCT and the Founder and Director of the UCT Drug Discovery and Development Centre,H3D (http://www.h3d.uct.ac.za/). His research interests are in integrated drug discovery.
He has served as member of the Medicines for Malaria Venture Expert Scientific Advisory Committee and a member of the following Boards: UK Government Department of Health Global Antimicrobial Resistance Innovation Fund (GAMRIF), Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute (Swiss TPH) External Review, South African Health Products Regulatory Authority (SAHPRA). He was named as one of Fortune Magazine’s 50 World’s Greatest Leaders for 2018 (http://fortune.com/longform/worlds-greatest-leaders-2018/)