Meet Dr. Anthony Cannella

July 30, 2015 -- Dr. Anthony P. Cannella can be described as a triple threat. He serves as an attending physician, researcher and professor at the University of Florida.

Meet Dr. Anthony Cannella

Title: Assistant Professor
College/Institute: College of Medicine
Department: Division of Infectious Diseases and Global Medicine
Curriculum vitae: PDF
Research interests:  Immunology; malaria, Leptospirosis
Hobbies: Cooking

Dr. Anthony P. Cannella can be described as a triple threat. He serves as an attending physician, researcher and professor at the University of Florida.

Along with his research role at the Emerging Pathogens Institute, Cannella who is an assistant professor of Medicine for the Division of Infectious Diseases & Global Medicine, Department of Medicine, a courtesy assistant professor of Molecular Genetics and Microbiology, and an attending physician and epidemiologist at UF Health Shands Hospital within the College of Medicine.

“Being a physician-scientist affords me the ability to best know about your patients and their conditions, and to ultimately explore the science of infectious agents,” Cannella said. “I also love to teach. I love to give back and to inspire knowledge, and more than knowledge, wisdom.”

During his residency at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, Cannella became the first recipient of the TIME-R Award, a program that allowed his residency to include research opportunities in investigational immunological techniques. There he assisted in research for early HIV vaccines. After Cannella completed his residency at the UAB, he explored his passion of infectious diseases as a fellow at the University of California, San Diego. In collaboration with the La Jolla Institute of Allergy and Immunology, he discovered the first T cell epitopes for Brucella mellitensis, which he says is one of the coolest research discoveries he has made in his career.

Currently, Cannella is studying immunology, specifically the immunology of neglected diseases or as he puts it, ‘diseases that affect people who live in poverty’. His main focus is on the adaptive immunologic responses of patients who are suffering from Plasmodium falciparum malaria, who are symptomatic or asymptomatic. His secondary research focuses on the epidemiology of leptospirosis (a bacterial disease that affects both humans and animals and is transmitted through contaminated fresh water or soil) through the use of novel molecular assays.

As Cannella’s career continues to grow, his ultimate goal is to stay in academia and teach the next generation of junior physicians and physician-scientists. Cannella, a proud Latino, also hopes to be an example for other Latinos and show that having a career like his is completely attainable.

“Being a Latino who grew up in Tampa, it was and is common to see many who are unaware of the opportunities that are available for a professional career,” Cannella said. “Here I am, working as a physician-scientist and doing research within a university through NIH grant funding. To me, that is really cool, and I know other Latinos can look at people like me and know it is feasible.”

Cannella hopes to never lose sight of the fact that his work goes beyond publishing papers and receiving awards.

“In the end, our ultimate goal should be to improve individual lives through medicine and the human condition through research,” he said. “We help make life be a little better and that is what it is all about.”

When he is not in a classroom, at UF Health, or in a lab, you can find Dr. Cannella practicing his favorite pastime, which is cooking Italian and Spanish food.