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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. - Research Fellow

Anna Coghill, Ph.D., joined the Infections and Immunoepidemiology Branch (IIB) as a postdoctoral fellow in November 2012, and was promoted to Research Fellow in 2016.  She received a B.S. in cell and molecular biology from Duke University (2005) and 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 in 2012, where she examined the role of HIV-related immune suppression in cancer survival at the UCI/Hutchinson Cancer Center alliance under the mentorship of Dr. Polly Newcomb and Dr. Corey Casper.  During her postdoctoral training, Dr. Coghill has continued to explore the role of HIV-related immunosuppression in cancer outcomes using data from the U.S. HIV/AIDS Cancer Match Study and the SEER-Medicare database, under the mentorship of Eric A. Engels, M.D., M.P.H., senior investigator, IIB.  Dr. Coghill is also leading an effort with her mentor Allan Hildesheim, Ph.D., Chief and senior investigator, IIB, to develop and apply a comprehensive serological array characterizing the immune response to Epstein-Barr virus in relation to multiple EBV-related cancers, including nasopharyngeal carcinoma, Burkitt lymphoma, and Hodgkin lymphoma. She is also working with collaborators at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases to examine the role of potentially neutralizing antibodies against EBV infection in defining the future risk of developing EBV-related cancer.

Scientific Publications – Anna Coghill

Monica D’Arcy, Ph.D. - Postdoctoral Fellow

Monica D’Arcy, Ph.D., joined the Infections and Immunology Branch (IIB) as a postdoctoral fellow in March 2017.  Dr. D’Arcy received a B.A. in mathematics and a B.A.S. in computer science engineering from the University of Pennsylvania.  She then earned an M.S. in epidemiology from Temple University. Prior to beginning her doctoral program, she worked as a bioinformatics specialist at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.  She earned her Ph.D. in cancer and pharmacoepidemiology from the Gillings School of Global Public Health at the University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill in 2016. For her dissertation research she examined the association between antidepressants and colorectal cancer (CRC) in a Medicare population (2007-2013) under the mentorship of Jennifer Lund and Til Stürmer.  In DCEG, she is working with Eric Engels, M.D., M.P.H., senior investigator and Acting Chief, IIB, to use large databases, including the Transplant-Cancer Match Study and the SEER-Medicare linked database, to study risk factors for several cancers.

Scientific Publications – Monica D'Arcy

Sarah S. Jackson,  Ph.D. – Postdoctoral Fellow

Sarah S. Jackson, Ph.D., joined the Infectious and Immunoepidemiology Branch (IIB) in May 2018 as a postdoctoral fellow. She earned her Ph.D. in epidemiology at the University of Maryland, Baltimore. Dr. Jackson’s doctoral research focused on risk prediction models for healthcare-associated infections. Prior to joining IIB, she worked in vaccine clinical trials at The EMMES Corporation and with the at Social & Scientific Systems  . Dr. Jackson’s research interests include epidemiologic methods, predictive modeling, infections associated with biliary tract cancer, and the role of genetics in disease development. She is currently working with Jill Koshiol, Ph.D., investigator, IIB, utilizing the Biliary Tract Cancers Pooling Project (BiTCaPP) to study risk factors for biliary tract cancer. She is also working with Thomas O’Brien, M.D., M.P.H., senior investigator, IIB, to study the role of IFNL4 genotype in several infections.


Zhiwei Liu, Ph.D. - Postdoctoral Fellow

Zhiwei Liu, Ph.D., joined the Infections and Immunoepidemiology Branch (IIB) as a postdoctoral fellow in October 2016.  He received a B.S. in preventive medicine from Sun Yat-sen University, China (2009) and a Ph.D. in epidemiology from the Karolinska Institutet, Sweden in 2016, where he examined the etiology and early detection of nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC) under the mentorship of Profs. Weimin Ye and Hans-Olov Adami.  During his postdoctoral training, Dr. Liu has continued to explore the etiology of NPC, with a focus on genetic susceptibility and anti-Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) antibodies, under the mentorship of Allan Hildesheim, Ph.D., senior investigator, IIB and Anna Coghill, Ph.D. Research Fellow. He is also working on projects to understand the immune response to EBV in relation to other EBV-related cancers, including Burkitt lymphoma and Hodgkin lymphoma. He is also working with Jill Koshiol, Ph.D., investigator, IIB, on the Shanghai Biliary Cancer Study, the Taiwan Risk Evaluation of Viral Load Elevation and Associated Liver Disease/Cancer (REVEAL)-HBV and REVEAL-HCV cohorts and other research projects evaluating the role of inflammation and infection in hepatobiliary cancers.

Scientific Publications - Zhiwei Liu

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

 

Sally Peprah, Ph.D. – Postdoctoral Fellow

Sally Peprah, Ph.D., joined the Infections and Immunoepidemiology Branch (IIB) as a postdoctoral fellow in October 2017. Dr. Peprah earned a B. Pharm degree in 2009 from Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in Kumasi, Ghana. She then obtained an M.S.P.H in international health in 2013 and a Ph.D. in epidemiology in 2017, both from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. For her doctoral research, Dr. Peprah examined prevention and control of cervical cancer among high-risk women; she was mentored by Dr. Amber D’Souza. During her postdoctoral fellowship, Dr. Peprah will continue her research work on oncogenic viruses and virus associated cancers. Working with Sam Mbulaiteye, M.D., investigator, IIB, Dr. Peprah will investigate environmental, sociodemographic and genetic risk factors in addition to the role of malaria immunology in the etiology of Burkitt Lymphoma—work that will utilize data from the Epidemiology of Burkitt Lymphoma in East-African Children and Minors (EMBLEM) study. Dr. Peprah will also work with Aimée R. Kreimer, Ph.D., investigator, IIB, to assess the ecology of non-16/18 HPV infections among HPV 16/18 vaccinated women in the Costa Rica Vaccine Trial. Working with Meredith Shiels, Ph.D., investigator, IIB, Dr. Peprah will conduct descriptive studies of Kaposi Sarcoma among HIV-infected people in the United States.

Scientific Publications – Sally Peprah

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

Sabrina H. Tsang, Ph.D., M.P.H. – Postdoctoral Fellow

Sabrina H. Tsang, Ph.D., M.P.H., joined the Infections and Immunoepidemiology Branch (IIB) as an NCI Cancer Prevention Fellow in September 2017. She received a B.S. in biology from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, in 2010 and earned her Ph.D. in cell and molecular biology from the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine, Philadelphia, in 2015. Working with Dr. Jianxin You, her doctoral research focused on the tumor antigens of Merkel cell polyomavirus, particularly their role in viral replication. Upon acceptance to the Cancer Prevention Fellowship Program in 2016, Dr. Tsang pursued her M.P.H. at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, where she focused on quantitative methods in epidemiology and biostatistics. Under the mentorship of Dr. Lorelei Mucci, she performed a survival analysis, comparing prostate cancer patients with or without trichomoniasis. Guided by her interest in infection-related cancers, Dr. Tsang is now working with Aimee R. Kreimer, Ph.D., senior investigator, IIB, to better understand human papillomavirus vaccine efficacy in the Costa Rica Vaccine Trial.

Scientific Publications – Sabrina H. Tsang

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