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Discovering the causes of cancer and the means of prevention

Current Fellows in the Infections and Immunoepidemiology Branch

Meet the current fellows in the Infections and Immunoepidemiology Branch and learn about research training opportunities.

Anna Coghill, Ph.D. - Postdoctoral Fellow

Anna Coghill, Ph.D., joined the Infections and Immunoepidemiology Branch (IIB) as a Cancer Research Training Award postdoctoral fellow in November 2012. She received a B.S. in cell and molecular biology from Duke University (2005) and has an M.P.H. from the Emory University Rollins School of Public Health (2008). She earned a Ph.D. in epidemiology from the University of Washington (2012), where she examined the role of HIV-related immune suppression in cancer survival for both AIDS-defining and non-AIDS-defining malignancies at the Uganda Cancer Institute under the mentorship of Drs. Polly Newcomb and Corey Casper. Prior to joining IIB, Dr. Coghill was part of a research team that piloted a randomized trial of Omega-3 fatty acid supplementation among HIV and human herpes virus 8 (HHV8) co-infected adults in Uganda to investigate potential correlation between HIV-related immune suppression, inflammatory cytokines, and variation in HHV8 levels. As part of her postdoctoral training, Dr. Coghill is exploring the immune response to Epstein-Barr virus as a marker of cancer risk with her mentor, Allan Hildesheim, Ph.D., Chief of IIB. She is also working with Eric A. Engels, M.D., M.P.H., senior investigator, IIB, to continue to study the role of HIV and immune suppression in cancer patient outcomes using data from the U.S. HIV/AIDS Cancer Match Study and the Transplant Cancer Match Study.

Scientific Publications – Anna Coghill

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Parag Mahale, M.B.B.S., Ph.D. – Postdoctoral Fellow

Parag Mahale, M.B.B.S., Ph.D., joined the Infections and Immunoepidemiology Branch (IIB) as a postdoctoral fellow in July 2016. Dr. Mahale earned his M.B.B.S. degree from Seth G.S. Medical College and K.E.M. Hospital in Mumbai, India (2006) and an M.P.H. in epidemiology and biostatistics from the University of Texas Health Science Center, Houston, Texas (2011). Dr. Mahale earned his Ph.D. in epidemiology (2016) from the University of Texas Health Science Center, where he utilized data from the SEER-Medicare database and the Veterans Affairs Clinical Case Registries to determine the associations of hepatitis C virus (HCV) with non-liver cancers and the effect of anti-HCV therapy on the incidence of extrahepatic manifestations of chronic HCV infection. During his graduate studies, Dr. Mahale also worked as a graduate research assistant with Dr. Harrys A. Torres at the MD Anderson Cancer Center, focusing on the epidemiology of HCV infections in cancer patients. In DCEG, he is working with Eric A. Engels, M.D., M.P.H., senior investigator, IIB. Dr. Mahale is examining the risk factors for cancers associated with infections, immunosuppression, and inflammation by utilizing data from the Transplant-Cancer Match study, the HIV-Cancer Match study, and the SEER-Medicare linked database. He is also working with Thomas O’Brien, M.D., M.P.H., senior investigator, IIB, to determine the risk of hepatocellular carcinoma in HDV-infected individuals in the Gambia Liver Cancer study.  

Scientific Publications – Parag Mahale

Minkyo Song, M.D., Ph.D. – Postdoctoral Fellow

Minkyo Song, M.D., Ph.D, joined the Infectious and Immunoepidemiology Branch (IIB) in June 2016 as a postdoctoral fellow. Dr. Song earned her M.D. in 2005 at Seoul National University College of Medicine and completed her residency in preventive medicine in 2012 at the same institution. Prior to joining IIB, Dr. Song received her Ph.D. in epidemiology in 2015 from the Department of Biomedical Sciences at Seoul National University College of Medicine, working with Dr. Daehee Kang. Her doctoral research focused on developing gastric cancer risk prediction models for the Korean population. She has been a collaborating investigator of the Asian Cohort Consortium since 2009. Dr. Song’s research interests include chronic infection and inflammation associated with gastric and other cancers, and the complex roles of genetics and epigenetics in carcinogenesis. Dr. Song is currently working with Charles Rabkin, M.D., senior investigator, IIB, Maria Constanza Camargo, Ph.D., investigator, Metabolic Epidemiology Branch (MEB), to investigate the epidemiology of Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) infection and Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) associated with the risk of gastric cancer.

Scientific Publications – Minkyo Song

Joseph Tota, Ph.D. - Postdoctoral Fellow

Joseph Tota, Ph.D., joined the Infections and Immunoepidemiology Branch (IIB) as a Visiting Fellow in January 2015. Dr. Tota received his Ph.D. in epidemiology from McGill University and M.Sc. in health sciences and epidemiology from Brock University. His doctoral dissertation focused on applying epidemiologic methods to evaluate the potential for HPV type replacement post-vaccination. In addition to work on lung and cervical cancer screening, he also designed and coordinated a randomized controlled trial to evaluate the efficacy of a carrageenan-gel against the transmission of cervical HPV infection (CATCH trial). In DCEG, Dr. Tota is working under the mentorship of Dr. Anil Chaturvedi on projects related to etiology and natural history of oral cancers. He is also working with Drs. Anil Chaturvedi and Hormuzd Katki (BB) on risk of lung cancer and cervical cancer and their application to screening.

Scientific Publications – Joseph Tota

Alison L. Van Dyke, M.D., Ph.D. – Postdoctoral Fellow

Alison L. Van Dyke, M.D., Ph.D., joined the Infections and Immunoepidemiology Branch (IIB) as a postdoctoral fellow in July, 2015. Dr. Van Dyke earned her M.D./Ph.D. from Wayne State University in 2011 with graduate training in cancer biology. Working with Dr. Ann G. Schwartz, her doctoral research focused on the role of inflammation in non-small cell lung cancer among women. She completed postgraduate medical residency training in anatomic pathology at Yale-New Haven Hospital, and surgical subspecialty training in thoracic pathology at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. Dr. Van Dyke’s research focuses on the incorporation of surgical pathology in epidemiologic research. She is specifically interested in the role of inflammation in and the emerging infectious etiologies of cancer. Dr. Van Dyke is working with Jill Koshiol, Ph.D., investigator, IIB, to investigate the epidemiology of biliary tract in the Biliary Tract Cancer Pooling Project. Additionally, she and Eric Engels, M.D., M.P.H., senior investigator, IIB, are examining the relationships between lung scarring characteristics and the development of lung cancer in the National Lung Screening Trial. In 2016, Dr. Van Dyke was selected for the NIH Future Research Leaders Conference. She became the DCEG representative to the NIH Fellows Committee in 2015.

Scientific Publications – Alison L. Van Dyke

Elizabeth Yanik, Ph.D. - Postdoctoral Fellow

Elizabeth Yanik, Ph.D., joined the Infections and Immunoepidemiology Branch (IIB) as a postdoctoral fellow in July 2013. Dr. Yanik earned a B.S. in microbiology with a minor in statistics from the University of Maryland, College Park in 2007. She earned an Sc.M. in epidemiology from Johns Hopkins University in 2009, and a Ph.D. in epidemiology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in May 2013. For her doctoral work, she examined patterns of cancer incidence following antiretroviral treatment initiation in the Centers for AIDS Research Network of Integrated Clinical Systems, a collaboration of 8 clinical HIV cohorts. Her work describes the changes in cancer incidence across time after antiretroviral initiation and estimating the effects of immunologic and virologic antiretroviral response on cancer incidence. Dr. Yanik is working with Eric A. Engels, M.D., M.P.H., senior investigator, IIB, to investigate determinants and predictors of cancer risk following solid organ transplant, primarily using the Transplant-Cancer Match Study. She is continuing her work examining cancer risk and cancer outcomes in HIV populations.

Scientific Publications – Elizabeth Yanik

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Learn about research training opportunities in the Infections and Immunoepidemiology Branch.