Elizabeth M. Gillanders, Ph.D.
Branch Chief, Genomic Epidemiology Branch, Epidemiology and Genomics Research Program

Contact Information

Epidemiology and Genomics Research Program
Division of Cancer Control and Population Sciences
National Cancer Institute
National Institutes of Health
9609 Medical Center Drive, Rm. 4E232, MSC 9763
Bethesda, MD 20892
(For express delivery, use Rockville, MD 20850)

Interest Area

  • Genetic epidemiology of cancer


  • Ph.D. - Genetic Epidemiology
    The Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health
  • M.S. - Molecular Genetics
    The Johns Hopkins University
  • B.A. - French and Art History
    College of William and Mary


Dr. Gillanders is Chief of the Epidemiology and Genomics Research Program's (EGRP) Genomic Epidemiology Branch (GEB), and manages its research portfolio and initiatives focusing on factors that influence personal susceptibility to cancer in humans, such as genetic, epigenetic, immunological, hormonal, and biological pathways; and social, cultural, racial, and ethnic factors. She also has an adjunct research appointment in the Genetic Epidemiology Branch in NCI's intramural Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics (DCEG). Her research interests include the identification of melanoma susceptibility genes, assessment of the risk of melanoma and other cancers related to variations in these genes, and evaluation of gene-environment interactions.

Dr. Gillanders shares oversight responsibility for EGRP's research portfolio on genome-wide association studies (GWAS), chairs NCI's extramural Data Access Committee, and represents NCI on several NIH-wide committees related to development of GWAS data access policies. She represents NCI in the NIH Genes, Environment and Health Initiative (GEI) Genetics Program and the Trans-NCI Pharmacoepidemiology and Pharmacogenetics Working Group. Among other activities, Dr. Gillanders developed a new consortium on genetic epidemiology studies of breast cancer among women of African ancestry, the African-American Breast Cancer Consortium, which is focusing on genetic factors contributing to health disparities.

Dr. Gillanders joined EGRP in 2007 as a Program Director in the HSFB and was named Chief of the branch in early 2009. Prior to coming to work for EGRP, she was with the intramural research program at the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI), where she headed its Genetic Epidemiology Unit within the Cancer Genetics Branch. Her applied research at NHGRI focused primarily on genetic epidemiology of cancer susceptibility, with an emphasis on melanoma, prostate cancer, and breast cancer. She also investigated novel methods which could improve upon the power of conventional methods of gene discovery for complex traits in general.

She is an Adjunct Assistant Professor at The Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, where she teaches an introductory human genetics course. Dr. Gillanders also teaches an epidemiology course at the University of Baltimore's Yale Gordon College of Liberal Arts.

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