Meet The Group

Below you'll find a short bio of each of the members of the Anderson lab.

Alexander R. A. Anderson (PI)

Chair of the Integrated Mathematical Oncology (IMO) department and Senior member at Moffitt Cancer Center. Dr. Anderson performed his doctoral work on hybrid mathematical models of nematode movement in heterogeneous environments at the Scottish Crop Research Institute in Dundee, UK. His postdoctoral work was on hybrid models of tumor-induced angiogenesis with Prof. Mark Chaplain at Bath University, UK. He moved back to Dundee in 1996 where he worked for the next 12 years on developing mathematical models of many different aspects of tumor progression and treatment, including anti-angiogenesis, radiotherapy, tumor invasion, evolution of aggressive phenotypes and the role of the microenvironment. He is widely recognized as one of only a handful of mathematical oncologists that develop truly integrative models that directly impact upon biological experimentation. His pioneering work using evolutionary hybrid cellular automata models has led to new insights into the role of the tumor microenvironment in driving tumor progression. Due to his belief in the crucial role of mathematical models in cancer research he moved his group to the Moffitt Cancer Center in 2008 to establish the Integrated Mathematical Oncology department.

Mark Robertson-Tessi

Mark is a Research Scientist, who joined the lab in August 2010. Mark’s research interests include tumor-immune interactions, angiogenesis, cellular invasion, and cellular metabolism. For his doctoral work at the University of Arizona with Alain Goriely (now at Oxford) and Ardith El-Kareh, he developed a continuous model of the interactions between T cells and a growing tumor. The model investigates the effects of immunosuppression, and the efficacy of the immune system during chemotherapy and various immunotherapies. His undergraduate work was in physics, mathematics, and astronomy. He joined the IMO department because of the rich opportunity for interdisciplinary work in oncology, and is eager to establish working relationships with colleagues in the experimental and clinical environments at Moffitt. His research at Moffitt includes using the window-chamber model to model and investigate the relationship of angiogenesis, tumor microenvironment and tumor invasion.


Eunjung Kim

Postdoctoral fellow, who joined the lab in September 2010. Eunjung originally came from S. Korea. She performed her doctoral work on soft tissue mechanics at North Carolina State University with Mansoor Haider, during which she developed continuous models to study the mechanics of cell/extracelluar matrix interactions. She also utilized optimization methods to determine the elastic properties of the matrix around the cells. After earning her PhD, she moved to University of Notre Dame, Indiana, where she worked on hybrid mathematical models of blood clot formation with Mark Alber and Zhilang Xu. She joined the IMO department in order to pursue her research interests in a more multidisciplinary environment. She appreciates the ample opportunities IMO offers to closely work with biologists. Her current research project involves modeling the multistep process of melanoma tumorigenesis, with a particular focus on the role of stromal cell aging and the malignant transformation of normal melanocytes.


Jill A. Gallaher

Jill joined the lab in December 2010 as a postdoctoral fellow. She is excited about the opportunity to meet and form collaborations with other researchers and clinicians at Moffitt. She received an undergraduate degree in physics from the University of Missouri and a doctorate in biomedical physics from East Carolina University. For her thesis, she worked with Martin Bier studying ion traffic across cell membranes. The modeling of nonlinear phenomenon (i.e. phase transitions, hysteresis, noise) in the electrical properties of cells with various environments led to ideas about maintenance of cellular homeostasis. Now with a focus on cancer research, she's building an off-lattice cellular automata model to investigate the inheritance of phenotypic traits. Tumors are composed of phenotypically heterogeneous populations that compete for space and resources. Inheritance schemes can be tested by Investigating how the distribution of subpopulations change in a growing tumor over time. By also including repopulation after treatment into her model, the emergence and maintenance of drug resistance can be simulated.


Ziv Frankenstein

Ziv joined the lab in March 2012 as a postdoctoral fellow. He received his MSc and PhD degrees from the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel. During his time at the Weizmann he developed a computational tool for modeling and analysing complex molecular machine systems determined in three-dimensions as well as analysing the architecture of complex networks. He is excited about the challenge of cancer and how modeling tumor progression can aid the development of better treatments. A central premise for his work is to understand and predict the different cellular, chemical or physical microenvironment features of agressive tumors. Working primarily on prostate cancer his project will be truly data driven and includes direct collaboration with a pathologist and a cancer biologist. He will be co-superivised by David Basanta, who led the development of our intial prostate cancer model and will continue to play a key role in this research area.


Chandler Gatenbee

Chandler is a post-doctoral fellow who joined the lab in May, 2012. He has an M.S. in Biological Anthropology (University of Utah) and a Ph.D in Biology (University of Louisville) and has focused on applying evolutionary theory to understand human health and disease. As a Ph.D student, Chandler worked with Paul Ewald to develop probability and agent based models that examine the role of mutation and JC Virus in colorectal cancer. At the IMO, Chandler would like to continue to apply evolutionary theory to develop mathematical and computational models that explore how cellular competition within the micro-environment can favor the evolution of aggressive metastatic cancer cells. If we can understand how tumor cells evolve naturally and in response to treatment, we should gain a better understnding of what initiates and drives tumor progression and resistance. He joined the IMO because it provides an environment in which modelers are able to work closely with clinicians to develop realistic models that can lead to novel and intelligent methods to treat, and ideally, prevent cancer.


Jacob G. Scott

Jacob joined the lab informally in December 2009 as a clinical radiation oncology resident with an interest in modeling. In July 2011 he will formally join the lab as a PhD student, being jointly supervised by me and Philip Maini (Oxford University, UK). The goal of his thesis is to develop and explore mathematical models of the process of cancer metastasis in three distinct steps - primary tumor progression culminating with entrance into the blood stream, a circulatory phase and finally the extravasation and colony formation in foreign stroma. Jake does have a background in engineering and physics but as an MD brings a fresh clinically focussed perspective to IMO, as a radition oncology resident he treats patients with radiation on a daily basis with advanced stages of cancer progression. His unique skill-set has allowed him to initiate and participate in several projects that integrate multiple disciplines. Take a look at his personal site for more details.


Noemi Picco

Noemi initially joined the lab in September of 2011 as an undergraduate student from Politecnico di Torino. She was our first International Visiting Scholar at that time and did the research project for her Master of Science in Mathematical Modeling for Engineering. After graduating from Torino she was accepted into the Oxford Doctoral Training Centre (DTC), specifically the Systems Approaches to Biomedical Science - IDC, and is now beginning the research part of her PhD jointly supervised by me and Philip Maini (Oxford University, UK).


Daniel Nichol

Dan joined in the lab in October 2013 as DPhil candidate jointly supervised by me and Prof. Peter Jeavons (Oxford University, UK) after discovering the group through the second IMO workshop. Before joining the lab Dan studied Mathematics and Computer Science at the University of Oxford and graduated with first class honours in July 2013. His research interests include genotype-phenotype mapping, evolution and the emergence of resistance. During his time at IMO he will focus on his DPhil project to build a framework in which to explore a variety of genotype-phenotype maps, both in cancer simulations and further afield. Ultimately, we hope this work will provide insights into the role of the genotype-phenotype map in the evolutionary process which can be used to better tailor treatments to avoid resistance.


Derek Park

Derek joined the lab in October 2013 with an interest in working at the interface between theoretical modeling and clinical care and will be co-superivised by Bob Gatenby. He completed his undergraduate work at Yale University under the guidance of Dr. Paul Turner to study immune interactions with oncoloytic viruses. His research interests now are creating models for treatment decisions in breast cancer. The goal is to formalize currently heuristic methods with data collected in the clinic and also use biological models that predict treatment responses. Ultimately, this would make treatment guidelines that are based off of a priori theory as well as empirical data from the clinic. Professionally, Derek intends to study for both an MD and PhD to continue translational research.


Angel Sampson

Angel joined the lab in January 2014 as a LINK student. He is currently an undergraduate student at the University of South Florida pursuing a degree in biomedical science. Primarily, under the guidance of Mark Robertson-Tessi, he is learning all about tumor metabolism and how to use cellular automata models to better understand how tumors deal with diverse environments. Though chemistry is a major interest of his, Angel is excited to learn how to delvelop biological and mathematical models through his participation of the LINK program at Moffitt.


John Kennedy

John joined the lab in September 2014 as an undergraduate student at the University of South Florida where he is currently pursuing his bachelor’s degree in mathematics. As a research assistant, his current project involves the use of dynamical models to accurately describe the interaction between metastasized breast cancer cells and their various treatment methods within the bone microenvironment. His work, supervised primarily by Mark Robertson-Tessi, is part of a larger project seeking to bridge the gap between in silico research and the clinic with the ultimate goal of devising mathematically-based, patient-specific treatment plans. Upon graduation, John plans to pursue an MD while continuing to strengthen the connection between mathematical research and the clinic.