Newswise — TAMPA, Fla. — Moffitt Cancer Center has named three new research leaders who will help elevate our science and innovative discoveries.

“As the cancer center continues to expand its research enterprise, it is important to have exceptional leaders at the helm who foster collaborations and recruit new talent to help Moffitt expand its science and accelerate discoveries. Each of these leaders are dedicated to advancing our efforts to contribute to the prevention and cure of cancer,” said John Cleveland, Ph.D., Moffitt center director.

Damon Vidrine, Dr.P.H. — Chair, Department of Health Outcomes and Behavior
Damon Vidrine, Dr.P.H., M.S., has been named chair of the Department of Health Outcomes and Behavior, which focuses on understanding the effects of health-related practices on cancer outcomes across the care continuum. Researchers in this department work to develop, test and deliver impactful strategies that improve cancer prevention, early detection, treatment and health equity.

Vidrine joined Moffitt in 2019. His expertise is in psychosocial oncology and tobacco cessation in at-risk and underserved populations. His research focuses on characterizing factors that are associated with the elevated rates of tobacco use in high-risk groups, identifying barriers to cessation treatment, and designing and evaluating targeted cessation treatments using digital modalities.

Gina DeNicola, Ph.D. — Leader, Metabolism Research Program
Gina DeNicola, Ph.D., has been named the leader of the newly established Metabolism Program. An emerging area of science, metabolism differs in cancer cells versus cells in normal tissues, and tumors are known to also affect the metabolism of immune cells and other cells within the local microenvironment thus impairing anti-tumor activity of these cells. DeNicola will lead the development of this new program.

DeNicola’s research focuses on how the epithelial tumor cells rewire their metabolism to protect themselves from stress and nutrient limitation and promote their growth and survival. Her inventive approaches and collaborative research have led to many major grants from the National Cancer Institute. DeNicola, who joined Moffitt in 2016, also serves as the interim chair of the Department of Metabolism and Physiology.

Matthew Schabath, Ph.D. — Co-leader, Cancer Epidemiology Program
Matthew Schabath, Ph.D., has been named co-leader of the Cancer Epidemiology Program, which seeks to reduce cancer burden by identifying factors that affect cancer risk and progression across the cancer continuum to inform advances and treatments for cancer prevention and deliver changes in clinical and public health practice.

Schabath joined Moffitt in 2008. His expertise is in molecular epidemiology, quantitative imaging/radiomics, and cancer disparities among sexual and gender minority populations. He is one of the first epidemiologists to conduct research utilizing artificial intelligence approaches to analyze medical images as biomarkers. His research also led to the development of an educational curriculum for cultural sensitivity training for oncologists who treat sexual and gender minority patients.

About Moffitt Cancer Center
is dedicated to one lifesaving mission: to contribute to the prevention and cure of cancer. The Tampa-based facility is one of only 53 National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Centers, a distinction that recognizes Moffitt’s scientific excellence, multidisciplinary research, and robust training and education. Moffitt’s expert nursing staff is recognized by the American Nurses Credentialing Center with Magnet® status, its highest distinction. With more than 7,800 team members, Moffitt has an economic impact in the state of $2.4 billion. For more information, call 1-888-MOFFITT (1-888-663-3488), visit, and follow the momentum on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube