Gary L. Ellison, Ph.D., M.P.H.

Branch Chief
Environmental Epidemiology Branch, Epidemiology and Genomics Research Program
On detail to the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences

Telephone: (240) 276-6783
Fax: (240) 276-7920

  • Ph.D. - Epidemiology, University of South Carolina
  • M.P.H. - Biostatistics, Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University
Contact for questions about:
  • Global health
  • Health disparities


Dr. Gary L. Ellison is Chief of the Environmental Epidemiology Branch (EEB) in the Epidemiology and Genomics Research Program (EGRP), Division of Cancer Control and Population Sciences (DCCPS), at the National Cancer Institute (NCI). He oversees a program of extramural research focused on modifiable factors and risk of cancer. Dr. Ellison leads a group of Program Directors within EEB with expertise that spans all domains of the exposome, including the general external (e.g., broader social context), specific external (e.g., lifestyle factors, environmental pollutants, chemical, physical and infectious agents), and internal environments (e.g., biomarkers of effect, early damage). Dr. Ellison joined EGRP as an Epidemiologist and Program Director in 2008, and he became Chief of EEB in 2016.

Dr. Ellison is an ex-officio member of the National Advisory Environmental Health Sciences Council (NAEHS), a Congressionally mandated body that advises the secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS), director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and the director of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) on matters relating to research, research training, and career development supported by NIEHS. He has received NIH Directors’ Awards for the 2010 Gulf Oil Spill Response (2011); NIH Working Group for the US-China Biomedical Research Cooperation Program (2013); and GEOHealth Team for conceptualizing and implementing the Global Environmental and Occupational Health (GEOHealth) Program (2018). In 2014, he received an NIH Award of Merit for providing sustained leadership, scientific direction, and programmatic management for the Breast Cancer and the Environment Research ProgramExternal Web Site Policy.

Prior to joining EGRP, Dr. Ellison worked as a faculty member in the Department of Family and Community Medicine at the University of Maryland School of Medicine. He was also a contractor for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, where he was Project Manager for the National Program of Cancer Registries Cancer Surveillance System (NPCR-CSS). There, he led a multidisciplinary team in aggregating cancer incidence data and reporting on quality, timeliness, and completeness of State cancer registry data.

Dr. Ellison’s doctoral training was in cancer epidemiology with an emphasis on racial disparities in prostate cancer risk. He completed postdoctoral training at Howard University’s National Human Genome Center in Washington, DC and at NCI as a Cancer Prevention Fellow.


McGuinn LA, Ghazarian AA, Su LJ, Ellison GL. Urinary bisphenol A and age at menarche among adolescent girls: evidence from NHANES 2003-2010. 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 cancer. 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 misconceptions. Environ Res. 2012 Jan;112:230-4.

Schootman M, Gomez SL, Henry KA, Paskett ED, Ellison GL, Oh A, Taplin SH, Tatalovich Z, Berrigan DA. Geospatial Approaches to Cancer Control and Population Sciences. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2017 Apr;26(4):472-475.

Simonds NI, Ghazarian AA, Pimentel CB, Schully SD, Ellison GL, Gillanders EM, Mechanic LE. Review of the Gene-Environment Interaction Literature in Cancer: What Do We Know? Genet Epidemiol. 2016 Jul;40(5):356-65.

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 toxicants. Front Genet. 2012 Jan9;2:91.