Our Research Partners

The Ocala Royal Dames partners with doctors at the Moffit Cancer Center in Tampa, FL and The University of Florida in Gainesville to fund ground breaking research in the quest for a cure. To learn details about the specific research projects, click here. 

Erin Dean, MD

Erin Dean, MD is an Assistant Professor of Medicine in the Division of Hematology and Oncology at the University of Florida College of Medicine.

Dr. Dean received her undergraduate degree in Biomedical Engineering, Premedical, magna cum laude, from the University of California, Irvine and her medical degree from the University of South Florida Morsani College of Medicine in Tampa, Florida.

Fan Zhang

Fan Zhang, Ph.D. received his Ph.D. from Johns Hopkins University in Materials Science & Engineering. His graduate work established the guiding principles for designing nanomedicines to target neuroinflammation. To expand the clinical impact of his research, he then undertook postdoctoral training at the clinical research division of Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. This experience solidified his foundation in immuno-oncology, cell & gene therapy, and experimental tumor models. His work has led to the development of a polymer-based platform that genetically programs immune cells for cancer treatment, which is under clinical translation. His work has led to four patents and contributed to the foundation of two start-up companies.


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Joseph Markowitz, MD, PhD

Dr. Markowitz is a physician scientist, U.S. Board certified internist, medical oncologist, and clinical informaticist. His laboratory focuses on the nitric oxide (NO) mechanisms of inhibition to checkpoint blockade therapy in melanoma patients. In addition, the lab is developing tools to predict which patients are likely to fail immune-based therapy via novel high dimensional flow cytometric, mass spectrometry and informatics techniques, allowing those patients to be treated with other potentially more effective therapies.

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Jameel Muzaffar, MD

Dr. Jameel Muzaffar is an oncologist in Tampa, Florida and is affiliated with multiple hospitals in the area, including H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center and Research Institute and James A. Haley Veterans’ Hospital-Tampa. He received his medical degree from Maulana Azad Medical College and has been in practice for more than 20 years.

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