Gary L. Ellison, Ph.D., M.P.H.
Program Director, Modifiable Risk Factors Branch

Photo of Gary Ellison

Epidemiology and Genomics Research Program
Division of Cancer Control and Population Sciences
National Cancer Institute
National Institutes of Health
9609 Medical Center Drive,, Rm. 4E120, MSC 9763
Bethesda, MD 20892
(For express delivery, use Rockville, MD 20850)

Interest Areas

  • Elucidating the role of physical and chemical exposures, lifestyle, social factors and the broader environment in cancer incidence and progression
  • Cancer disparities
  • Early-life exposures; global health
  • Cancers of the breast, prostate, colon, and rectum


  • Ph.D. - Epidemiology
    University of South Carolina
  • M.P.H. – Biostatistics
    Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University


Dr. Ellison is an Epidemiologist and Program Director in the Epidemiology and Genomics Research Program's (EGRP) Modifiable Risk Factors Branch (MRFB). His responsibilities include developing and managing a research portfolio of grants that focus on environmental factors, including physical and chemical agents, which may be modifiable.

He is the NCI Program Director for the transdisciplinary Breast Cancer and the Environment Research Program (BCERP) and has programmatic stewardship and oversight for the project. BCERP is funded through cooperative agreements with NCI and the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS).

Before joining EGRP in 2008, Dr. Ellison was on the faculty of the Department of Family and Community Medicine and Research Coordinator for the Computer-Assisted Telephone Interviewing Research Laboratory at the University of Maryland School of Medicine. He conducted research in cancer disparities, was a member of the Cancer Research Core for the National Center on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NCMHD)-funded Project Export. He was Principal Investigator for a population-based pilot study of area-level social and economic composition and modifiable cancer risk factors.

Dr. Ellison also was formerly with the Genetic Epidemiology Unit, National Human Genome Center, Howard University. In 2002, he completed postdoctoral training as a Cancer Prevention Fellow at NCI, where he worked with the Applied Research Program in the Division of Cancer Control and Population Sciences (DCCPS). Under contract with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), he managed the National Program of Cancer Registries-Cancer Surveillance System, which aggregated cancer incidence data and reported annually on the quality, timeliness, and completeness of state registry data.

Dr. Ellison was an NCI Predoctoral Fellow at the University of South Carolina and Outstanding Epidemiology graduate.


Ghazarian AA, Simonds NI, Bennett K, Pimentel CB, Ellison GL, Gillanders EM, Schully SD, Mechanic LE. A review of NCI's extramural grant portfolio: identifying opportunities for future research in genes and the environment in cancerExternal Web Site Policy. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2013 Apr;22(4):501-7.

McGuinn LA, Ghazarian AA, Ellison GL, Harvey CE, Kaefer CM, Reid BC. Cancer and environment: definitions and misconceptionsExternal Web Site Policy. Environ Res. 2012 Jan; 112:230-4.

Su LJ, Mahabir S, Ellison GL, McGuinn LA, Reid BC. Epigenetic contributions to the relationship between cancer and dietary intake of nutrients, bioactive food components, and environmental toxicantsExternal Web Site Policy. Front Genet. Jan 2012;2:91.

Ellison GL, Weinrich SP, Lou M, Xu H, Powell IJ, Baquet CR. A randomized trial comparing web-based decision aids on prostate cancer knowledge for African-American menExternal Web Site Policy. J Natl Med Assoc. 2008 Oct;100(10):1139-45.

Baquet CR, Ellison GL, Mishra SI. Analysis of Maryland cancer patient participation in National Cancer Institute-supported cancer treatment clinical trialsExternal Web Site Policy. J Clin Oncol. 2008 Jul 10:26(20):3380-6.

Wu X, Cokkinides V, Chen VW, Nadel M, Ren Y, Martin J, Ellison GL. Associations of subsite-specific colorectal cancer incidence rates and stage of disease at diagnosis with county-level poverty, by race and sexExternal Web Site Policy. Cancer. 2006 Sep 1;107(5 Suppl):1121-7.

Coker AL, Sanderson M, Ellison GL, Fadden MK. Stress, coping, social support, and prostate cancer risk among older African American and Caucasian menExternal Web Site Policy. Ethn Dis. 2006 Autumn;16(4):978-87.

Ellison GL, Warren JL, Knopf KB, Brown ML. Racial differences in the receipt of bowel surveillance following potentially curative colorectal cancer surgeryExternal Web Site Policy. Health Serv Res. 2003 Dec;38(6 Pt 2):1885-903.

Ellison GL, Coker AL, Hebert JR, Sanderson SM, Royal CD, Weinrich SP. Psychosocial stress and prostate cancer: a theoretical modelExternal Web Site Policy. Ethn Dis. 2001 Autumn;11(3):484-95.

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