Thomas A. Sellers
...to contribute to the prevention
  and cure of cancer.
Thomas A. Sellers, Ph.D.
Center Director, Moffitt Cancer Center & Research Institute
Executive Vice President
Moffitt Cancer Center
12902 Magnolia Drive
SRB-CDO
Tampa, Fl 33612-9416

P: (813) 745-1315
F: (813) 449-8126
Thomas.Sellers@Moffitt.org
Download Dr. Sellers' CV

Discipline: Nutrition, Epidemiology, Genetics

Specializations: Genetic epidemiology of cancer risk and outcome

Research Interests: Ovarian Cancer, Mammographic Breast Density, Colon Cancer
Members
Thomas A. Sellers, PhD

Executive Vice President for Population Science

Director Moffitt Research Institute

Associate Center Director

Cancer Prevention & Control Center

H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center & Research Institute

12902 Magnolia Dr. MRC-CAN-CONT

Tampa, FL 33612

Thomas.Sellers@Moffitt.org

What Is My Background?

My undergraduate degree (BS) is in nutrition, so I started in the laboratory sciences. My graduate degrees (MPH, PhD) are in epidemiology because I was interested in understanding the association between diet and disease at the population level. My postdoctoral training is in statistical genetics and was pursued when I realized that ignoring genetics would make it virtually impossible to fully relate diet to disease.

What Do I Do At Moffitt Cancer Center?

See Professional Activites.

What Is My Contribution To This Research Program?

I surround myself with smart people and take credit for the work they do.

Zhihua Chen, MS

Bioinformatics Specialist

Biomedical Informatics Shared Resource Core

H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center & Research Institute

12902 Magnolia Dr.

Tampa, FL 33612

 

What Is My Background?

I received my B.S. in Physics at Jilin University in China in 1998, and M.S in Computer Science at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, TN in 2001. I worked as a doctoral graduate research assistant in the field of Machine Learning at Vanderbilt University before joining Moffitt in 2005.

What Do I Do At Moffitt Cancer Center?

My job title here at Moffitt is Bioinformatics Specialist, in the Department of Biomedical Informatics. My job is to provide support in software/database development, automated knowledge discovery, data management, and computational analysis for research projects at Moffitt. My research interests are in Statistical Learning, Automation and Visualization.

What Is My Contribution To This Research Program?

My main contribution to the GWAS and U19 studies is that of data management, pipeline automation, cluster computing and algorithmic analysis. I receive and distribute datasets from and to the collaborators outside of Moffitt. I keep the genotype data organized in the storage space attached to our computing cluster. Working with others in the group, I help create and run automation and cluster computing scripts for genotype quality control, strand correction, harmonization, association testing, imputation, pathway enrichment testing, SNP interaction testing, and dataset extraction. I help analyze the memory and time efficiency of the various computation tools used in the project. I analyze the source code of the software (PLINK, MACH, GWAMA, etc.) used in our project to ascertain the exact meaning of specific terms and formulas. And finally, I coordinate with our IT department to maintain adequate storage space for our project.

Jenny Permuth-Wey, PhD

Research Data Analysis

Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics

H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center & Research Institute

12902 Magnolia Dr.

Tampa, FL 33612

What Is My Background?

I was born in St. Paul, Minnesota and have lived in various parts of the United States including Illinois, Kentucky, and Ohio, before moving to Florida. I received a Bachelor of Science Degree in Biology and a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Spanish from the University of South Florida (USF) in Tampa in 1998.  I then pursued a Master of Science degree in Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology and Genetics, with Specialty in Genetic Counseling at the University of Minnesota. In 2001, I began working as a genetic counselor at Moffitt’s Lifetime Cancer Screening and Prevention Center where I spent the majority of time counseling families and conducting research related to hereditary breast and ovarian cancer susceptibility. In 2005, I decided to continue my educational pursuits and entered the doctoral program in Epidemiology at USF. I hope to successfully defend my dissertation and graduate in Fall 2010.

What Do I Do At Moffitt Cancer Center?

Currently I am working as a Research Data Analyst in the Division of Population Science (within the Department of Cancer Genetics and Epidemiology) under the guidance of Dr. Sellers.  The data I work with derives from our ongoing genome-wide association study (GWAS) of ovarian cancer, and has served as the foundation for my dissertation work related to evaluating the association(s) between germline variants in mitochondrial-related and microRNA-related genes and ovarian cancer risk.  My responsibilities have also included coordinating study-specific tasks across participating GWAS centers and co-writing grants with Dr. Sellers.

What Is My Contribution To This Research Program?

I am committed to fighting the battle against highly lethal diseases such as ovarian cancer.  Having spent many years getting to know women and families affected by this disease, I understand how important it is to identify women at high risk for ovarian cancer, and to develop novel strategies to detect it at an early, curable stage.  I hope my greatest contribution to this research program is my passion and drive for designing and conducting excellent team science with the ultimate goal of minimizing the public health burden of such grim diseases.

Xiaotao Qu, PhD

Core Staff Scientist

Biomedical Informatics Shared Resource Core

H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center & Research Institute

12902 Magnolia Dr.

Tampa, FL 33612

 

What Is My Background?

I received my bachelor’s degree in Biology from Fudan University, China and received my Ph. D degree in Biochemistry from Texas A&M University. I have eight years of research experience in bioinformatics and computational biology, focusing on protein sequence analysis and protein structure prediction.

What Do I Do At Moffitt Cancer Center?

I joined the Biomedical Informatics Shared Resource Facility at Moffitt Cancer Center as a Bioinformatics Specialist in June of 2008. As a bioinformatics specialist, my duty is to direct and guide the use of computational bioinformatics analysis methods, data mining and the interpretation of generated results.  That includes assisting with investigator research projects, working with software developers to provide custom applications and databases using current bioinformatics tools and resources, providing training and support for research scientists to use bioinformatics tools and resources for their research project.  I also act as liaison between the bioinformaticist and biomedical research scientists to interpret needs and deliver bioinformatics resources as required.

What Is My Contribution To This Research Program?

In this research program, I apply my bioinformatics expertise to evaluate, analyze and annotate SNPs and genes of interest. I also take part in developing and maintaining pipelines and databases to analyze, store and share research data and findings.

Y. Ann Chen

Assistant Member

Biostatistics Department

H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center & Research Institute

12902 Magnolia Dr.

Tampa, FL 33612

What Is My Background?

I received my bachelor degree in Zoology from National Taiwan University.  I shifted my career focus slightly and obtained my Ph. D. degree in Bioinformatics and Biostatistics at Medical University of South Carolina.   In the summer of 2008, after two years of postdoctoral training in the Department of Statistics at Texas A&M University, I found a good home at Moffitt Cancer Center where I could contribute to cancer research by developing and applying statistics and bioinformatics tools. 

What Do I Do At Moffitt Cancer Center?

I am an assistant member in the Department of Biostatistics and have been working closely with my collaborators, including genetic epidemiologists, clinicians, and basic scientists.  My research primarily has been focused on developing statistical methods and computational tools to incorporate multiple sources of large-scale genomics and proteomics data, select biologically relevant markers, and predict clinical outcomes in a unified framework.  Facing additional challenges observed in the high-throughput datasets, such as nonlinearity and high noise levels, my work on nonparametric methods for the detection of nonlinear and multi-scale correlation has enabled the identification of key genes for the development of pathological conditions, which might have been missed by traditional linear methods. http://labpages.moffitt.org/chenya

What Is My Contribution To This Research Program?

I provide statistical and computational support for analyzing the US ovarian cancer genome-wide association study (GWAS), lead by Dr. Sellers.  I am particularly interested in performing statistical inference by integrating multiple sources of information, such as pathway information.  Recently, I was awarded an internal grant (ACS-IRG) to develop statistical methods to simultaneously select relevant pathways and SNPs for cancer genome-wide association studies.  I look forward to contributing to this exciting field of research by incorporating additional data types into analyses in an integrated fashion in the near future.

Alvaro Monteiro, PhD

Associate Member

Cancer Epidemiology Program

H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center & Research Institute

12902 Magnolia Dr.

Tampa, FL 33612

What Is My Background?

I received my undergraduate training and doctorate from the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. I then did postdoctoral work at the Rockefeller University in the laboratory of Lasker Award winner Hidesaburo Hanafusa where I discovered a key function of the breast and ovarian cancer susceptibility gene (BRCA1). Before moving to Moffitt I was Assistant Professor of Cell and Developmental Biology at Weill Medical College of Cornell University, in New York City from 1998 to 2003

What Do I Do At Moffitt Cancer Center?

I am an Associate Member in the Cancer Epidemiology Program (Population Sciences Division) and the head of the Laboratory of Cancer Genetics and Genomics. Research in my laboratory focuses at applied (genetic testing and risk assessment) and fundamental (transcriptional activation, DNA repair, and cell signaling) aspects of cancer. I am also the Director of Recruitment and Admissions for the PhD program in Cancer Biology.

What Is My Contribution To This Research Program?

My group is focusing on developing functional analysis tools to explore how the loci associated with disease can be understood in terms of the biology and to define the mechanism of risk enhancement of individual SNPs. I’m the PI of Project 2 in the U19 grant and that requires extensive collaboration with the other Project investigators and the Admin Core.

    Scott Mears

What is my background?

Prior to coming to Moffitt, I worked for 15 years at a non-profit, human service agency in upstate New York as a Program Director, supporting people with serious and persistent mental illness to live as independently as possible in the community. I then assumed the position of Grants & Projects Director with the same organization, which gave me the opportunity to learn the art of proposal writing, grant management, and project development. I earned a B.A. in Political Science, and M.S. in Gerontology, Management of Aging Services.

 What do I do at Moffitt?

As a Senior Research Administrator in the Office of Sponsored Research (OSR), I am responsible for grant proposal submissions and am the go-to person for many of the researchers in the Population Science Division at Moffitt. I serve as their primary contact for pre-award administration, proposal development and processing, negotiation and acceptance of awards, project set-up, and issuing of subaward agreements.  Working collaboratively with the very proficient OSR team and Dr. Sellers’ group, as well as many others who have involvement in the pre- and post-award process, gives me the opportunity to assume new challenges on a daily basis, and to brainstorm with others the most effective and positive way we can contribute to the progress of research at Moffitt.

What is my contribution to this research program?

I have had the pleasure of being involved administratively with Dr. Sellers' NCI R01grant, his NCI U19 cooperative agreement, as well as several other funding mechanisms. Coming into the process very early in the proposal development stage gives me the opportunity to collaborate closely with my counterparts at consortium institutions nationally and internationally. The process can be very challenging, particularly with the need to work with decreasing federal funding, but the difficulties we encounter are significantly offset by the delight of working with so many bright, engaging, and amicable people from our worldwide, collaborative partners. It’s a marvel to me that such a disparate group of people can so easily work around various time zones and institutional procedural differences, to manage to pull together the myriad components necessary for a successful proposal. From concept to the time of award is nothing less than a stellar example of teamwork within Moffitt departments and from our many consortium partners.

What is my background?

After a two year stint at the University of Kentucky (a true blue Wildcat fan), I began my working career moving from an insurance underwriter for many years to a working seven years as assistant to the Principal at a private school my two children were attending. A fellow co-worker at the school had said she was leaving to work for the Moffitt Cancer Center (which at the time I had never heard of) and said I should check into it. On a whim I applied for several positions I thought I might be interested in and accepted an entry level Senior Secretary position in August of 1993.  It was very different from what I had been used to in my previous career but I knew that Moffitt was going to grow and I found that I could make a career for myself here.  As the years went by I had the pleasure of working with many wonderful people which brought me to my current position as Senior Executive Assistant with Dr. Tom Sellers who assumed the Associate Center Director position when he came to Moffitt in the summer of 2003.

 What do I do at Moffitt?

My position as Dr. Sellers’ assistant is to keep his calendar updated, schedule his travel, and coordinate all other activities assigned.  Since there are several grants he is PI on that also means organizing conference calls and completing the meeting minutes in a timely manner.

What is my contribution to this research program?

I wasn’t quite ready for all the conference calls that ensued when I took this position; what was a haplotype-based genome screening loci? Allele frequencies?  SNPs and iCOGS? Cases and controls? Are you kidding me – and I was to take minutes on all this? It was like learning a foreign language! But over the next few years and after sitting in on many calls I’ve learned what most of the terms mean and can understand most of what is being discussed – although still way over my head!  Its been very fulfilling to pull together all of the information that goes into creating a grant; whether it’s an R01 or a U19; but then finding out they’ve been funded makes all the work even more rewarding.