Distinguished Professor, Surgical Oncology
Millis Melanoma Professorship
UNC Breast Center, Melanoma Program
Meet David Ollila
Area of Interest
Ollila is a general surgical oncologist with broad training in all aspects of surgical oncology. His special areas of interest are in melanoma, breast cancer, and the surgical management of endocrine disorders, with a focus on providing a translational step for basic scientists between the laboratory and the clinic. During his training at John Wayne Cancer Institute, Ollila became very familiar with the polyvalent melanoma vaccines being studied there. At UNC, he has initiated two vaccine clinical trials that will lead to further immunotherapy research and clinical applications in this area. Ollila is planning collaborative work on melanoma sentinel nodes in an epidemiology study being run by the UNC School of Public Health.
Ollila’s breast cancer research interests include work derived from his expertise in sentinel node biopsy, a technique for identifying the lymph node most likely to contain cancer metastasis. He was one of the first to examine the use of sentinel lymph node biopsy as a method to improve the ability to determine tumor extent and minimize surgery in women undergoing neoadjuvant, or preoperative, chemotherapy. He has also developed a method using a new technique for identifying cancer, positron emission tomography (PET) to help guide surgery after chemotherapy. This method is being tested in an ongoing clinical trial.
News and Stories
Family honors husband and father’s legacy with research fund
To honor the life of Craig Murray, his wife and daughter created an ocular melanoma research fund at UNC Lineberger that bears his name.
Melanoma patient has bright outlook after bout with cancer
A melanoma diagnosis started Bob Harding on a cancer journey that brought him to the experts at the North Carolina Cancer Hospital.
Patient’s experiences with cancer lead to career change
Since her cancer diagnosis, Caterri Woodrum left an executive position in the arts and now focuses on health care and health coaching to help others.
New studies aim to improve melanoma diagnosis
A pair of studies led by University of North Carolina Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center researchers could aid in improved diagnosis for melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer. The studies, led by UNC Lineberger’s Nancy Thomas, MD, PhD, Irene & Robert Alan Briggaman Distinguished Professor and Chair in the UNC School of Medicine Department of …