Dana E. Rollison, PhD

Principal Investigator

Dana.Rollison@moffitt.org l MyNCBI

An epidemiologist by training, my early research focused on the role of viral infections in cancer etiology, having completed studies of human polyomavirus and cutaneous papillomavirus infections in association with lymphomas, brain, bladder, colorectal and cutaneous malignancies.  I have also studied the epidemiology of myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS), including assessments of the underestimation of the true disease burden at the population level.  Over the past decade, I have sought to advance science at the intersection of epidemiology and health informatics, deploying novel technologies and data science methods to accelerate research across the cancer continuum, in close alignment with my data-focused leadership roles at Moffitt.  As the VP, Chief Data Officer, and Associate Center Director of Data Science, I lead the implementation of enterprise-wide initiatives to retrieve, curate and integrate data from a variety of source systems, including the electronic health record, cancer registry, biobanking, patient-reported data, clinical trials and billing, developing and deploying technologies for researchers to access and interrogate these data through shared resources.  I also drive Moffitt’s enterprise data and analytics strategy to accelerate scientific discovery, precision medicine and innovative care delivery, capitalizing on opportunities to deploy innovative approaches developed in my lab and others’.  Our laboratory’s research is focused on the application and development of epidemiologic and data science methods to unravel cancer etiology, enhance cancer surveillance, and advance care delivery.


Rossybelle P. Amorrortu, MPH

Senior Research Project Manager

Rossy received her Master’s in Public Health Degree with a concentration in Epidemiology and Biostatistics from the University of South Florida in 2009. After graduation she completed an ORISE Fellowship at the US Army Public Health Command in Maryland where she worked on epidemiologic field investigations in the area of behavioral Health. She then worked for six years at the University of Texas Health Science Center on research related to increasing minority recruitment to clinical trials. Rossy joined Dr. Rollison’s lab in 2018 and since has worked on several epidemiology projects related to keratinocyte carcinomas, cutaneous viral infections, and immune function. Most recently she has been involved in projects surrounding informatics approaches to estimate cancer specific outcomes and interventions related to increasing racial/ethnic participation in clinical trials. She assists with manuscript writing, grant preparation, and helps to keep the lab on track to meet project goals. In my spare time I enjoy trying new restaurants and spending time with my family and friends. ​


Yayi Zhao, MA, MS

Research Data Analyst III

I grew up in China and came to the U.S. in 2013 to explore my passion and interest.  I obtained my M.S. degree in Management from University of South Florida (USF) in 2014. Soon, I developed great interest in applied statistics and earned my M.A. in Statistics from USF in 2016.  I joined Moffitt and Dr. Rollison’ s team in early 2017 and started to work as a research data analyst.  Through the years, I enjoyed working with my productive colleagues towards exploring the risk factors and other aspects of keratinocyte carcinoma while practicing a variety of skills that I learned from my training and from the mentorship provided by Dr. Rollison.  I am currently enrolled in the Ph.D. program offered by the College of Public Health of USF with a concentration in Biostatistics.  In addition to science, I enjoy reading novels and watching movies.  I am also enthusiastic about learning new R coding skills for data visualization and analytics.


Melany Garcia, PhD

Applied Research Scientist I

Dr. Melany Garcia recently joined Moffitt Cancer Center as an Applied Research Scientist I in Dr. Dana Rollison’s lab. She earned her PhD in Cancer Sciences from the State University of New York at Buffalo, under the Roswell Park Graduate Division, in May of 2023. Her graduate research was conducted in Roswell Park’s Cancer Epidemiology division and focused on HPV vaccination rates and barriers to uptake among pediatric cancer survivors. She has also worked as a research assistant for other projects in cancer epidemiology and prevention, including in her undergraduate studies at California State University, Long Beach, and as a research intern at the Fred Hutch in Seattle, WA. Dr. Garcia is currently involved with several projects in the Rollison lab, including ACTWONDERS and real-world data approaches to estimate disease progression in lung cancer patients. She specifically assists with literature review, quantitative/qualitative data interpretation, and manuscript preparation. On her free time, Melany loves to go to the beach, try new restaurants, travel, and work out.



Md Muntasir Zitu, PhD

Applied Research Scientist I

Born and raised in Dhaka, Bangladesh, I pursued a B.Sc. in Computer Science at the Chittagong University of Engineering and Technology. An early computer programming enthusiast, I thrived in competitive settings, even gracing the ACM ICPC regionals twice. In my undergrad years, I have also sparked an interest in Biomedical Science. This passion led me to become a graduate student in Bioinformatics at Indiana University, where I dedicated two years to the Center for Computational Biology and Bioinformatics. I later joined The Ohio State University and obtained my Ph.D. in Biomedical Informatics. My Ph.D. thesis focused on identifying adverse drug events from clinical narratives of electronic medical records using natural language processing and machine learning. I started working with Dr. Rollison's team at Moffitt Cancer Center in 2023 as an Applied Research Scientist. I'm part of many projects where I use computer tools, like natural language processing and machine learning, on health data with the aim to find ways to beat cancer. I love traveling, cooking, and spending time with my family in my free time.



Elliott Tapia-Kwan, MA

Research Coordinator II

Elliott Tapia-Kwan was born and raised in South Florida, where he graduated from Florida Gulf Coast University with a Bachelor’s degree in sociology. He moved to Tampa not long after to earn his Master’s degree in sociology from the University of South Florida. After graduate school, Elliott worked at various positions, including felony legal assistant at the State Attorney’s Office, technical writer at a media marketing company, and freelance developmental editor with a hybrid book publishing company. With his role as a Research Coordinator at Moffitt, Elliott aims to make a difference in his community by addressing racial inequalities in clinical trials with the research project he will be working on. Outside of work, Elliott enjoys spending time with his spouse and their two cats, reading for leisure, playing video games, baking, and gardening.



Previous Lab Members

  • Juliana Balliu, BS
  • Laxmi Vijayan, BS
  • Yessica C. Martinez, MPH, CPH
  • Rhianna Reed, MPAS, MPH, PAC-C
  • Shalaka Hampras, PhD

Postdoctoral Trainees, graduate and undergraduate students:

  • Michelle Iannacone, PhD
  • Xiaohong Li, MPH
  • Ashley Cole, PhD
  • Gabriella Anic, PhD
  • Sandra Ferrer-Gill, MPH
  • Spencer Bezalel, MD
  • Michael Cameron, MD
  • Kaustubh Parab, MPH
  • Shitaldas Pamnani, PhD
  • Shams Rahman, PhD
  • Brock Graham, MPH