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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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Gieira Jones, M.S. – Postbaccalaureate Fellow

Gieira Jones joined the Infections and Immunoepidemiology Branch (IIB) as an NIH Undergraduate Scholarship Program Postbaccalaureate Scholar in June 2014. She received a B.S. in biology with a minor in chemistry from Elizabeth City State University in 2008. Following graduate training at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in cell and molecular physiology, Ms. Jones received a Master of Science in epidemiology from Temple University. Her thesis was an international pooled analysis of racial disparities in human papillomavirus prevalence in head and neck cancers. In IIB, she will work under the mentorship ofJames Goedert, M.D., senior investigator, IIB, on studies of the human gut microbiome, particularly its effects on systemic estrogen levels and breast cancer risk. In addition, she will work with Dr. Goedert and with William Anderson, M.D., M.P.H, Philip Rosenberg, Ph.D., and Barry Graubard, Ph.D., senior investigators, Biostatistics Branch, on the impact of childhood obesity on colorectal cancer risk.

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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 Len Van Dyke, M.D., Ph.D. – Postdoctoral Fellow

Alison Len Van Dyke, M.D., Ph.D., joined the Infectious 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. Her postgraduate medical residency training in anatomic pathology was completed at Yale-New Haven Hospital, after which she did further subspecialty surgical training in thoracic pathology at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. Dr. Van Dyke’s research focus is on the incorporation of surgical pathology in epidemiology research, and 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 cancers and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and family history of cancer in the Biliary Tract Cancer Pooling Project (BiTCaPP). Additional work will entail conducting histopathologic mapping of gallbladders collected from cholecystectomy patients in Chile and the United States to assess for relationships between cancers and precursor lesions with biliary, serum, and genetic biomarkers.

Scientific Publications - Alison Len 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.