Dr. Ellis graduated from the University of Virginia School of Medicine in 1983, and completed his residency in surgery at the University of Florida in 1990. Dr. Ellis went on to complete a surgical oncology fellowship at the M. D. Anderson Cancer Center (MDACC), where he has been on the faculty since 1993. Dr. Ellis has a clinical practice in Surgical Oncology, focused on patients with colorectal cancer and liver metastases. Academically, Dr. Ellis has established a reputation for expertise in the area of angiogenesis and growth factor receptors in gastrointestinal malignancies and is funded by several grants for research in this area. He has served on numerous NIH study sections and is a consultant to the National Cancer Institute, where he currently serves on the NCI GI Cancers Steering Committee. In 2000, Dr. Ellis was awarded the Faculty Scholar Award from the MDACC, and he was also the inaugural recipient of a grant from the George and Barbara Bush Endowment for Innovative Cancer Research. In 2007, he was awarded the William C. Liedtke, Jr., Chair in Cancer Research.
Dr. Ellis serves on 8 editorial boards, including the Journal of Clinical Oncology, Cancer Research, and Clinical Cancer Research (Senior Editor). Dr. Ellis has also authored over 220 peer-reviewed publications, 90 invited reviews and editorials, three books, and 30 book chapters. In 2013, he published a seminal paper in Cancer Cellon Angiocrine signaling. In addition, he has published important editorials in journals such as the NEJM, Nature, Cell, Cancer Cell, Nature Medicine, JNCI, JCO, and The Lancet. Dr. Ellis has been a plenary discussant at ASCO in 2005 and 2009. He is co-chair of the largest clinical angiogenesis meeting in the world held annually in February. Dr. Ellis serves in a leadership role in the major cancer societies such as the American Society for Clinical Oncology (immediate past chair of the Cancer Research Committee, and a member of the Nominating Committee), and the American Association for Cancer Research (Chair of CME Committee). Dr. Ellis currently serves on the ECOG DMB. He was Chair of the 2007 GI Cancers Symposium and was Co-Chair of the 2009 and 2011 AACR annual meetings. Dr. Ellis chaired a Keystone Symposium on Angiogenesis in January 2009. In June 2008, he was appointed Chair, Ad Interim, Department of Cancer Biology at MDACC and served in that position until June 2012. He was Director of the Metastasis Research Center from 2010-2012. Dr. Ellis served as Co-Director for the ASCO/AACR Workshop on Methods in Clinical Cancer Research from 2010-2012. In May, 2013, Dr. Ellis assumed leadership roles in SWOG including Vice Chair for Translational Medicine, and serving as a member of the Executive Committee.