Aleksandra (Aleks, Ola) Karolak

Assistant Professor and Member

Education and Positions

2021 – present   Assistant Member, Moffitt Cancer Center, Department of Machine Learning, Division of Quantitative Science, Tampa, FL

2021 – present   Assistant Professor, University of South Florida, Department of Oncologic Sciences, Tampa, FL

2019 – 2021   Assistant Research Professor at City of Hope, Division of Mathematical Oncology, Departments of Computational and Quantitative Medicine and Population Sciences, Duarte, CA

2018 – 2019   H2020 Marie Sklodowska-Curie Actions and Barcelona Institute of Science and Technology Postdoctoral Fellowship, Genome Data Science, IRB Barcelona, Spain

2015 – 2018   Postdoctoral Researcher at Moffitt Cancer Center, Department of Integrated Mathematical Oncology, Tampa, FL     

2010 – 2015   PhD in Biophysical and Computational Chemistry, University of South Florida (USF), Tampa, FL

1995 – 2000   MSc in Metal-Organic Chemistry, Maxima Cum Laude, Individual Curriculum, Adam Mickiewicz University, Posen, Poland


Matthew Froid

PhD Candidate

Matthew is a Ph.D. student in the Cancer Biology Program at Moffitt in Integrated Mathematical Oncology Department in the group of Dr. David Basanta. He is science-minded, bright, young professional, dedicated to excellence in all pursuits, with a passion for evolutionary biology, mathematics, and machine learning. Matthew utilizes a multi-disciplinary approach to scientific problem solving. He is a pro-active self-starter with eight years of clinical laboratory experience and seven years of research experience, comfortable and adept in both settings. He utilizes his strong background in machine learning and agent-based modeling to study cancer evolution and treatment optimization. He joins our team for 10 weeks long rotations.

Education and Positions

2022 - present  PhD in Cancer Biology, USF/Moffitt

2020 - 2023  MA in Mathematics, University of Nebraska, Omaha, NE

2019 - 2020  NASA Research Fellow, NASA, Omaha, NE

2014 - 2019  BS in Biology, University of Nebraska, Omaha, NE


Nam Nguyen

PhD Candidate

Nam is a Ph.D. student in Electrical Engineering at the University of South Florida in the group of Dr. K.C. Chen, under the shared sponsorship from the Machine Learning Department at Moffitt. His experience is algorithmic designs for classical and quantum AI for applications in cancer research. He is interested in translational AI to understand molecular dynamics, genetic biomarkers, and cancer evolution. As a research trainee at Moffitt, Nam aims to develop a set of neural intelligence pipelines which integrate information from mutational profiles and multiple modes of the human genome. With this information, he aims to understand oncogenesis and novel genetic drivers. His goal is also to design a collection of quantum neural networks which enables modeling of cancer evolution and molecular interactions toward precision medicine and drug design

Education and Positions

2020 - 2023 (expected)  PhD in Electrical Engineering, USF

2019 - 2020  MA in Statistics, USF

2017 - 2019  BS in Mathematics, Hanoi University of Education, Vietnam


Aleksandra Sikora

MD Candidate

Aleksandra is a fifth-year student of medicine at the Medical University of Warsaw. Her recent research in the Students’ Scientific Association focused on the risk factors for recurrence of pulmonary embolism. She currently expands her horizons and gains experience in the field of oncology, especially in the new opportunities for treatment of metastatic cancers of gastrointestinal origin. In her free time, Aleksandra enjoys kitesurfing, cycling, and traveling.


2018 - 2024 (expected) Medicine, Medical University of Warsaw, Poland


Our executive assistant:


Kara Zupancic, BS

Executive Assistant

Kara originally started with Moffitt's Diversity team back in 2018. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Teaching and Training Technical Professionals from the University of Akron in Akron, Ohio and has working previously at Louis Stokes Cleveland VA Medical Center as a Pharmacy Administrative Support Clerk, as well as, SummaCare, Inc. as a Project Specialist in Medical Records and Data Management. She is responsible for all administrative tasks within our department and team.


Former members:



Bi Zhao, PhD

Applied Research Scientist

Bi has experience in data science, machine learning, and database development for protein structural and functional research. Her research interests have focused on characterizing the intermolecular interactions and regulation under tissue and condition specificity, and discovering novel mechanisms of various diseases. Bi's goal is to establish these novel strategies and utilize them in biomedical research, especially targeting the heterogeneity of the microbiome and its relationship to cancer development and individual differences.

Education and Positions

2022 Applied Research Scientist, Moffitt Cancer Center, Department of Machine Learning, Division of Quantitative Science, Tampa, FL

2019 - 2022 Postdoctoral Fellowship, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, VA

2016 - 2019 PhD in Cell and Molecular BiologyUSF

2013 - 2015 MSc in Medical Science in BiotechnologyUSF

2007 - 2011 Bachelor of Bioscience, Henan University, Kaifeng, Henan, China


Anna Greene

Graduate Student 

Anna is a graduate student at the University of South Florida, majoring in bioinformatics and computational biology. She is currently involved in research at the University of South Florida on intrinsic disorder in circadian clock proteins. As a research volunteer, she is eager to hone her programming skills and learn various research and machine learning techniques from dr. Karolak's team. In her free time, Anna loves to play the drums and ukulele, watch sports, and travel.  


2021-2022 MSc in Bioinformatics and Computational Biology, USF

2016-2020 BS in Biology, University of West Florida, Pensacola, FL


Katherine Rodriguez

Undergraduate Student 

Katherine is an undergraduate senior at the University of South Florida, majoring in biomedical sciences and minoring in aging sciences. As a research trainee in the Machine Learning Department, Katherine is eager to learn by working with the team of dr. Karolak, and many other renowned researchers. She anticipates that the experience will contribute to her success in investigating the intersections of human biology, microgravity, and machine learning at the graduate level. Katherine also volunteers as a research assistant for the Evans-Nguyen Mass Spectrometry Lab in the Chemistry Department at USF. Outside of her academic and professional pursuits, Katherine is a Tampa native that enjoys reading, exploring downtown, and engaging in on-campus activities.


2018 - 2022   BS in Biomedical Sciences, University of South Florida, Tampa, FL (USF)

2014 – 2018   High School Diploma, Walter L. Sickles High School