Office of Cancer Complimentary and Alternative Medicine
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Updated: 03/07/14

Staff

Office of the Director

Picture of Dr. White

Jeffrey D. White, M.D.
Director

Dr. White joined the Metabolism Branch of the National Cancer Institute (NCI) in 1990 as a Medical Staff Fellow where he performed laboratory research in immunology and molecular biology. While in the Metabolism Branch, he served in various positions culminating as director of the Clinical Trials and Clinical Care Program. In that capacity, he coordinated the development and administration of phase I and II clinical trials using unmodified and radiolabeled monoclonal antibody constructs. Dr. White has been principal investigator for and has reported the results from trials of various experimental treatments for patients with adult T-cell leukemia/lymphoma (ATL) and cutaneous T-cell lymphoma (CTCL).

From 1995 to 1998, Dr. White also served as an oncology consultant to the director of the NIH’s Office of Alternative Medicine. In October 1998, the Deputy Director of Extramural Science of NCI, Dr. Robert Wittes, chose him to serve as director of a new office in the NCI titled the Office of Cancer Complementary and Alternative Medicine (OCCAM). The office was created to augment the activities of the different divisions at NCI that were already supporting CAM research. OCCAM continues to promote and support research and generation of good quality information on the various disciplines and modalities associated with the field of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) as they relate to the diagnosis, prevention and treatment of cancer.

Dr. White is a board certified medical oncologist and a cancer researcher. Dr. White graduated from Cornell University with a B.S. in Applied and Engineering Physics in 1979 and received an M.D. from Howard University in 1984. He completed a residency in internal medicine in 1987 and fellowships in oncology and hematology in 1990 at The Washington Hospital Center in Washington, D.C. 

Picture of Christina Armstrong

Christina I. Armstrong
Office Manager/Program Specialist

Ms. Armstrong serves as office manager and program specialist to OCCAM’s director. Her position includes managing office budgets, contracts, travel and guest arrangements; planning and scheduling for the director; and overseeing full-time and contract staff. She works closely with the OCCAM director and staff, communicating federal policies and ensuring efficient operation of the office. She’s also manage responsibilities for OCCAM’s Communications Coordinator position which includes producing OCCAM's news information and other publications; overseeing the conference and exhibit program; and managing the OCCAM Web site.

Ms. Armstrong has over twenty three years of federal service. She began her career as an administrative secretary for the Office of the Secretary, Office of Minority Heath in 1991 and joined the National Cancer Institute in 2000. Ms. Armstrong is currently attending Ashford University; she’s working towards a Bachelor’s degree in Human Resource Management. She also has a certification in business and computer technology from Global Technology Business School; and holds numerous certifications in federal applications.

Melissa Turner

Melissa Turner
Office Assistant,Contractor

Ms. Turner serves as the office assistant in the OCCAM Office of the Director. In this role, she assists with administrative planning, timekeeping, scheduling office meetings, and conferences, and preparing foreign and domestic travel.

Before working at OCCAM, Ms. Turner served as a program assistant the program office at the National Cancer Institute, where she worked on administrative projects within the office, and participated in the coordination of NCI’s Center for Biomedical Informatics and Information Technology (CBIIT) that seek to accelerate scientific discovery and facilitate translational research. Ms. Turner has future plans to seek her education in Business Management.

Picture of Dr. Jia

Libin Jia, M.D.
Health Scientist Administrator

Dr. Jia joined OCCAM in 2005 as a health scientist administrator. In this position, he helps establish research collaborations, most recently in the area of Traditional Chinese Medicine, and serves as a liaison between the collaborative parties and OCCAM. He also manages CAM supplements provided by OCCAM to NCI Cancer Centers and Community Clinical Oncology Programs.

Previously, Dr. Jia was a scientific project director in the NCI Office of Cancer Genomics and participated in the Cancer Genome Anatomy Project, Mammalian Gene Collection, and the H-Invitational, which is an international human genome annotation project. He also joined the project officer team for the Molecular Library Screening Centers Networks of the NIH Road Map in 2006, managing the compounds screening projects.

Dr. Jia graduated from Shanghai Medical University II with his M.D. in 1988 and did his post doctoral study at the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas.

Picture of Dr. Avraham Rasooly

Avraham Rasooly, Ph.D
Health Scientist Administrator

Dr. Avraham Rasooly joined the OCCAM office in 2014 as a health scientist administrator and is leading a trans-NCI initiative to develop low cost cancer technologies for global health. Before joining OCCAM, Dr. Rasooly served as Chief of the Disparities Research Branch and as Program Officer at the NCI Cancer Diagnosis Program where he supported research on biosensors, lab-on-chip, Circulating Tumor Cells and Point of Care (POC) cancer diagnostics technologies. In addition to his work at NCI, he directs a lab at the FDA Center for Devices and Radiological Health, where he develops various biosensor and lab on chip technologies for POC microbial analysis and food safety.

Dr. Rasooly received his Ph.D from Michigan State University studying the genetics of plant-microbial interactions. He served as Senior Research Scientist and as Research Assistant Professor at the Skirball Institute NYU Medical Center in New York conducting research on DNA replication.

Research Development and Support Program

Picture of Dr. Xi

Dan Xi, Ph.D.
Program Director

Dr. Xi joined OCCAM in 2005. As program director for the Research Development and Support Program, she is responsible for overseeing and managing a portfolio of research grants, cooperative agreements, and contracts related to cancer CAM. She also conducts the NCI CAM research portfolio analysis for NCI’s Annual Report on CAM.

Dr. Xi received her Ph.D. in Molecular and Cellular Biology & Pathobiology from the Medical University of South Carolina. Since then, she has been working in the fields of neuroscience and cancer at the National Institutes of Health. She has extensive research experience in high throughput technologies (e.g. microarray technology and bioinformatics), pharmacology/toxicology, as well as cellular and molecular biology.  


Case Review and Intramural Science Program

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Mary Ojukwu
Cancer Research Training Award (CRTA) fellow

Mary Ojukwu graduated from the University of Connecticut in May 2012 with a Bachelor of Science in Molecular and Cell Biology. Following graduation, she has been working as a Cancer Research Training Award (CRTA) fellow within OCCAM’s Case Review and Intramural Science Program (CRISP).

Her fellowship will involve multiple goals including: designing an independent research project involving CAM use and cancer; publishing a manuscript to report her findings; reviewing case reports for the NCI Best Case Series Protocol; and presenting CAM-related articles at journal clubs in office meetings. After her term at OCCAM is complete, she will attend medical school with a focus on community health issues.

Picture of Dr. Olaku

Oluwadamilola Olaku, M.D., M.P.H., MRCOG
Case Review and Intramural Science Program Coordinator, Contractor

Dr. Olaku has served as a scientific program analyst for OCCAM since 2004. In this role, his duties include reviewing cases submitted to the NCI Best Case Series Program, providing technical assistance to grant applicants, analyzing the NCI CAM portfolio, managing grants, and coordinating the OCCAM Monthly Lecture Series.

Dr. Olaku received his M.D. from the College of Medicine University of Lagos, Nigeria in 1989. He completed a residency in obstetrics and gynecology in the United Kingdom where he received the Membership of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (MRCOG). He received a law degree at the Middlesex University in London, England. Dr. Olaku is certified by the Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates and is a recipient of National Research Service Award. In 2004, he completed a postdoctoral clinical fellowship in complementary and alternative medicine at Morgan State University and Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland.

Picture of Dr. Zia

Farah Zia, M.D.
Case Review and Intramural Science Program Director

Dr. Zia joined OCCAM in September 2007 as the director of the Case Review and Intramural Science Program. Using her expertise in medical oncology, she evaluates cases submitted to the NCI Best Case Series Protocol and explores promising treatments for potential clinical studies in NCI’s intramural program. She is also a member of the Clinical Center Medical Staff at the Center for Cancer Research, Medical Oncology Branch, seeing patients in the early drug development clinic.
           
Dr. Zia is a hematologist/oncologist who received her M.D. from the George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences in 1997. She subsequently completed her internship and residency in internal medicine at the George Washington University Hospital in 2000. Dr. Zia then completed a subspecialty training fellowship in hematology/oncology through NCI and the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. As a fellow, she developed a special interest in the treatment of breast cancer and was protocol chairperson and associate investigator on several breast cancer trials at NCI.