Gary L. Ellison, Ph.D., M.P.H.
Acting Chief, Environmental Epidemiology Branch

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. 4E126, MSC 9763
Bethesda, MD 20892
(For express delivery, use Rockville, MD 20850)

Interest Areas

  • Elucidating the role of physical and chemical exposures, lifestyle, and the macro-environment in cancer incidence and progression
  • Cancer disparities
  • Early-life environmental factors
  • 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. Gary Ellison is Acting Chief of the Environmental Epidemiology Branch (EEB)—formerly the Modifiable Risk Factors Branch (MRFB)—of the Epidemiology and Genomics Research Program (EGRP) in NCI's Division of Cancer Control and Population Sciences (DCCPS). In this position, he oversees EGRP's research portfolio and initiatives that focus on modifiable cancer risk factors, including dietary components; physical activity; energy balance; and infectious, physical, and chemical agents. He is a program leader in a number of trans-NIH scientific research initiatives, including the Deepwater Horizon Research ConsortiaExternal Web Site Policy, U.S.-China Collaborative Biomedical Research ProgramExternal Web Site Policy, and the Global Environmental and Occupational HealthExternal Web Site Policy (GEOHealth) initiative. In addition, Dr. Ellison leads an EGRP working group that promotes activities associated with evaluating the role of infectious agents in cancer occurrence and outcomes, participates in a DCCPS interest group to expand efforts in multilevel, geospatial, and contextual approaches across the cancer control continuum, and is involved in planning a workshop on understudied populations in cancer epidemiologic research.

Dr. Ellison came to EGRP in 2008 as an Epidemiologist and Program Director in EGRP's MRFB (now the EEB). His responsibilities included developing and managing a research portfolio of grants that focus on environmental factors that are modifiable, including physical and chemical agents.

Before joining EGRP, Dr. Ellison was a faculty member in the Department of Family and Community Medicine at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, where he conducted research in cancer disparities and was a member of the Cancer Research Core for the NIH-funded Project Export. Dr. Ellison formerly was 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 DCCPS' Applied Research Program (now the Healthcare Delivery Research Program). 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.


McGuinn LA, Ghazarian AA, Su LJ, Ellison GL. Urinary bisphenol A and age at menarche among adolescent girls: evidence from NHANES 2003-2010External Web Site Policy. Environ Res. 2015 Jan;136:381-386.

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. 2012 Jan9;2:91.

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