Jeffrey W. Keillor obtained his PhD in 1993 at the University of Alberta, studying enzyme model mechanisms under the supervision of R.S. Brown. He then carried out postdoctoral studies in enzymology, under the direction of W.P. Jencks at Brandeis University. In 1995 he took a position as assistant professor in the Department of Chemistry at the Université de Montréal, where he was promoted to associate professor in 2000 and full professor in 2006. He was also appointed as an adjunct professor in the Department of Biochemistry in 2001. In 2011 he moved to the University of Ottawa, where he currently holds a University Research Chair in Bioorganic Chemistry, in the Department of Chemistry and Biomolecular Sciences.
His research program is situated at the interface of chemistry and biochemistry, in the fields of chemical biology and medicinal chemistry. His recent contributions have focussed on the development of novel site-specific protein-labelling methods and of targeted covalent inhibitors of tissue transglutaminase, for the treatment of cancer stem cells.
In 2007 Keillor won the Merck-Frosst Award for his contributions to organic chemistry and biochemistry. Currently he is chair of the Biological & Medicinal Division.