Center for Immunization and Infection Research in Cancer (CIIRC) Faculty

CIIRC research encompasses the full spectrum of cancer studies, from bench to bedside to the broader population. This transdisciplinary research is achieved by members with expertise in laboratory, clinical, and population science, working together and in conjunction with partners across the state of Florida, the nation, and the globe.

Director
Anna Giuliano, PhD - Senior Member,
 Cancer Epidemiology

Anna Giuliano

Dr. Giuliano’s research portfolio has encompassed the study of human papillomavirus (HPV) infections and the multiple HPV-related cancers among men and women, as well as other infectious diseases and their causal relationships with cancer. The Giuliano lab is currently focused on the natural history of oral HPV infections, the leading cause of oropharyngeal cancer (OPC) in the United States, identifying potential biomarkers to screen for OPC, and vaccine strategies for preventing OPC and cervical cancer among high risk women globally. Additionally, Dr. Giuliano is actively involved in national and global efforts to eliminate HPV-related cancers.

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Shari Pilon-ThomasCo-Director
Shari A. Pilon-Thomas, PhD - Associate Member, Immunology

The Pilon-Thomas lab aims to enhance anti-tumor T cell responses and translate these findings into effective novel cancer treatments. Dr. Pilon-Thomas has extensive experience in vaccine strategies as well as optimization of methods to isolate and amplify TILs for the personalize immunotherapy treatment of cancer.

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Members

Dr. Abate-DagaDaniel Abate-Daga, PhD - Assistant Member

Dr. Abate-Daga's research is focused on the development of T cell-based immunotherapies for the treatment of cancer, and the translation of those preclinical findings into clinical application.

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Dr. Daniel AnayaDaniel Anaya, MD - Senior Member

Dr. Anaya is focused on evaluating outcomes and health systems to improve quality of cancer care.  

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Dorina AvramDorina Avram, PhD – Senior Member

Dr. Dorina Avram’s lab has two areas of research: (1) transcriptional and epigenetic control of immune responses to infections and in tumors, and (2) harnessing ubiquitin ligases in cancer and autoimmunity.

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Dr. Amer BegAmer A. Beg, PhD – Senior Member

A main focus of research in Dr. Beg’s laboratory is to understand the specific role played by different NF-kappa B subunits in regulating inflammatory and immune responses. 

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Dr. Jennifer BinningJennifer Binning, PhD – Assistant Member

The Binning lab uses biochemistry and structural biology to study how oncoviruses such as Human Papillomavirus (HPV) hijack host ubiquitin machinery to support viral replication and drive tumorigenesis.

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Doratha ByrdDoratha Byrd, PhD, MPH

Dr. Byrd's research focuses on elucidating the interrelationships among modifiable dietary and lifestyle exposures, the microbiome, and cancer risk and progression. Her long-term goal is to use multilevel approaches to address cancer disparities with her etiological microbiome research.

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Jimmy Caudell MDJimmy Caudell, MD, PhD

Dr. Caudell’s research interests include prediction of radiation sensitivity, evaluation of novel radiosensitizers and radioprotectants, as well as the use of technology to improve radiation delivery for head and neck cancer.   

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Shannon ChristyShannon Christy, PhD – Assistant Member

Dr. Christy's lab aims to foster health equity and promote cancer prevention and early detection behaviors in order to reduce cancer incidence and mortality. Dr. Christy's research examines the associations between psychosocial factors, health beliefs, affect, healthcare access, patient-provider communication, and engagement in cancer preventive and early detection behaviors. Much of her research also involves evaluating the efficacy of behavioral interventions aimed at promoting cancer preventive and early detection behaviors.

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Dr. Christine ChungChristine Chung, MD - Senior Member

Dr. Chung's research focuses on molecular characterization of head and neck cancer and translation of these findings to develop integral biomarker-driven clinical trials.

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John ClevelandJohn L. Cleveland, PhD - Senior Member

Dr. Cleveland’s research has been broadly focused on the molecular pathogenesis of cancer, where he has been a leader in interrogating the regulation and role of oncogenes and tumor suppressors in controlling cancer cell growth and survival, and in defining new targets that play essential roles in the development and maintenance of cancer.

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Dr. Anna CoghillAnna E. Coghill, PhD, MPH - Assistant Member

Dr. Coghill's research focus is exploring how the immune environment associated with pathogens such as Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) can play a role in both cancer prevention and response to therapy.

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Dr. Conejo-Garcia

Jose Conejo-Garcia, MD, PhD – Senior Member

The goal of Dr. Conejo-Garcia’s research program is to identify and target mechanisms governing the balance between immunosuppression and protective immunity in the tumor microenvironment, with an emphasis on the role of cancer-driven pathological myelopoiesis. 

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Brian Czerniecki, MDBrian Czerniecki, MD, PhD

Dr. Czerniecki’s research goal is the development of vaccines for the prevention of breast and other solid-tumor cancers. Toward that end, he is working on identifying molecular targets in early breast cancer that can be used to prevent invasion and metastasis.

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Dr. Marco DavilaMarco Davila, MD, PhD - Associate Member

Dr. Davila's research is dedicated to developing gene-engineered cell therapies that target cancer cells in animal models of cancer. The goal of this research is to identify optimal cell therapies that can then be evaluated in cancer patients.

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Dr. Kristine DonovanKristine A. Donovan, PhD, MBA - Associate Member

Dr. Donovan’s research focuses on the etiology and management of side effects of cancer treatment and the identification of appropriate interventions to alleviate symptoms and improve quality of life in survivorship.

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Michelle EchevarriaMichelle Echevarria, MD

Dr. Echevarria's research interests include the use of liquid biopsies, in the form of circulating tumor DNA and circulating viral DNA, as a personalization tool for the treatment of patients with head and neck cancer.

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Heiko EnderlingHeiko Enderling, PhD – Associate Member

Dr. Enderling's research interests are focused on developing clinically and experimentally motivated and quantitative models of cell-cell interactions within a tumor as well as at the tumor-host interface. In particular, the work in his laboratory focuses on the role of cancer stem cells in tumor progression and treatment response, with the ultimate goal to improve patient-specific treatment design.

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Kathleen EganKathleen Egan, ScD - Senior Member

Dr. Egan is an epidemiologist with research interests in molecular epidemiology and lifestyle-directed prevention of cancer. Her key area of active research is the elucidation of risk factors for primary tumors of the brain (glioma and meningioma).

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Jason Fleming, MDJason Fleming, MD, FACS

Dr. Fleming's laboratory work has focused on translational projects that enable and accelerate team science in the fight against pancreatic cancer. Using his clinical activity as a springboard, his laboratory has developed proprietary methods and unique human reagents for use in pancreatic cancer research.

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Dr. Elsa FloresElsa R. Flores, PhD - Senior Member

The main focus of Dr. Flores' laboratory is to understand the overlapping and unique activities of the p53 family in human cancer using mouse models and patient derived tumors.

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Jessica FrakesJessica Frakes, MD

Dr. Frakes' research interest includes improving outcomes and decreasing toxicity for the treatment of gastrointestinal cancers, with a strong focus on esophageal cancer.

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Dr. Peter ForsythPeter A. Forsyth, MD - Senior Member

Dr. Forsyth has a strong interest in malignant, invasive glioma brain tumors. He is currently investigating several tumor-inhibiting agents in Phase I clinical trials.

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Dr. Robert GatenbyRobert A. Gatenby, MD - Senior Member

Dr. Gatenby spearheaded the formation of a new program at Moffitt titled Integrative Mathematical Oncology (IMO). The IMO brings to the cancer center a cadre of applied mathematicians to collaborate with tumor biologists and clinical oncologists.

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Dr. Robert GilliesRobert J. Gillies, PhD - Senior Member

The work of Dr. Gillies has impacted all 3 aims of the ET program, with the majority focused on Aim 1: Define & characterize deregulated pathways with therapeutic relevance in subsets of human cancers.

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John Green, MD, FACPJohn Greene, MD, FACP

Dr. Greene is the Section Chief, Division of Infectious Diseases and Tropical Medicine and Senior Member of the Internal Medicine department.

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Dr. Louis HarrisonLouis Harrison, MD, FASTRO

Dr. Harrison is the Chair of the Department of Radiation Oncology at Moffitt Cancer Center. He is also Deputy Physician in Chief at Moffitt.

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Jessica Islam

Jessica Islam, PhD, MPH - Assistant Member

Dr. Jessica Islam's research focuses on describing and intervening on cancer care disparities across the continuum, at the intersection of infections and cancer. Through her research program, Dr. Islam aims to improve cancer outcomes among vulnerable populations, including racial/ethnic minorities and people living with HIV, using multi-level approaches, advanced epidemiological methods, and an equity-focused lens.

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Julie Kish, MDJulie Kish, MD, FACP

Dr. Kish's research interests include clinical trials for head, neck and genitourinary cancers. 

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Dr. Jane MessinaJane Messina, MD - Senior Member

Dr. Messina's research interests include pathology of the sentinel node, biomarkers of prognosis in cutaneous melanoma, and etiology and treatment of Merkel cell carcinoma.

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Alvaro MonteiroAlvaro Monteiro, PhD - Senior Member

The main theme of the Monteiro lab is the integration of epidemiological, genomic, and proteomics datasets to explore the role of genetic variation on cancer predisposition, development, and treatment. 

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Dr. James MuleJames Mulé, PhD - Senior Member 

Dr. Mulé's research focuses on characterizing and validating genomic signatures of immunotherapy response, as well as designing and translating novel vaccine and adoptive T-cell transfer strategies to patients with advanced solid tumors.

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John Mullinax MDJohn Mullinax, MD - Assistant Member

Dr. Mullinax has an active laboratory research effort focused on immunotherapy for soft tissue sarcoma. This approach strives to enhance the patient’s own immune response to cancer and has shown great promise recently for several different subtypes of sarcoma. 

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Katarzyna RejniakKatarzyna Rejniak, PhD – Associate Member

My ultimate research goal is to integrate the IBCell model with the experimental and clinical data to provide a tool for simulating the growth of tumor cells in different tissues and under various external conditions. The model can be adjusted to represent distinct biomechanical properties of the tissue under consideration and can be extended to include distinct biochemical properties of the host cells, therefore it shows a promise in providing a supporting evaluation of the tumorigenic potential of the collected cell samples and in testing in silico various protocols for patient-specific treatment.

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Lary RobinsonLary Robinson, MD - Senior Member

Dr. Robinson is a member of the multidisciplinary thoracic oncology group involved in the evaluation and treatment of all stages of lung cancer and mesothelioma, which includes aggressive, combined modality therapy. 

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Richard Roetzheim, MDRichard Roetzheim, MD, MSPH - Senior Member

Dr. Roetzheim is leading several NIH-funded health disparities research initiatives including the Patient Navigator Research Program and the Center for Equal Health. These initiatives seek to understand the causes of cancer health disparities and to develop effective interventions to reduce or eliminate health disparities.  

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Dana Rollison, PhDDana Rollison, PhD - Senior Member

Dr. Rollison’s primary research focus is the molecular epidemiology of human polyomavirus and papillomavirus infections in relation to cancer.

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Julian SanchezJulian Sanchez, MD - Associate Member

Dr. Sanchez's research interests are focused on anal cancer and colorectal cancer prevention. He has a special interest in minority health including Latino and gay populations.

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Dr. Amod SarnaikAmod A. Sarnaik, MD - Associate Member

Dr. Sarnaik's primary research interest involves investigation of novel immunotherapeutics in the treatment of melanoma.  This includes tumor-based vaccines, immune-activating antibodies, targeted inhibition of oncogenic proteins, and autologous T cell therapy.

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Matthew Schabath, PhDMatthew Schabath, PhD - Associate Member

In addition to lung cancer research, Dr. Schabath’s research portfolio has expanded to include infectious disease research and health disparities research including sexual and gender minority (SGM) populations and racial/ethnic minority groups. 

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Michael SchellMichael Schell, PhD - Senior Member

Dr. Schell has led the development of a statistical method to analyze AQUA (Automated Quantitative Analysis)-generated tissue microarray (TMA) data. The method is a 7-step procedure which works quite well for identifying and resolving technical problems when two highly correlated variables are available.

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Erin Siegel, PhD, MPHErin Siegel, PhD

Dr. Siegel has a primary interest in HPV-related disease and has investigated epigenetic biomarkers of cancer risk and HPV infection and factors associated with HPV persistence and clearance.  

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Dr. Lubomir SokolLubomir Sokol, MD, PhD - Senior Member

Dr. Sokol's laboratory research has been recognized in the field of molecular biology of primary polycythemias and more recently also in the pathobiology of bone marrow failure disorders including T-cell LGL leukemia and MDS.

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Philippe Spiess, MDPhilippe Spiess, MD - Senior Member

Dr. Spiess' main areas of research interests include developing novel therapeutic agents in the management of locally advanced and metastatic renal carcinoma. 

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Lora Thompson, PhDLora Thompson, PhD - Associate Member

Dr. Thompson's research focuses on the psychological well-being of individuals diagnosed with HPV-related head and neck cancer. 

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Dr. Susan VadaparampilSusan Vadaparampil, PhD - Senior Member

Dr. Vadaparampil’s research uses a combination of behavioral science, epidemiology, health services, and clinical perspectives to understand and improve dissemination and uptake of new cancer prevention and control innovations including genetic testing for hereditary cancer susceptibility and HPV vaccination.

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Robert Wenham, MDRobert M. Wenham, MD, MS, FACOG, FACS

Dr. Wenham's research involves identifying and testing novel biological agents and chemotherapeutics for gynecologic cancers.  

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Bruce WenigBruce Wenig, MD

Dr. Wenig's research is primarily clinically focused, utilizing classic morphology in conjunction with immunohistochemical and molecular biologic techniques in the evaluation of a wide spectrum of diseases of the head and neck and of the endocrine organs. 

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