About Me

I completed my graduate training in pre-clinical nicotine behavioral pharmacology before completing a post-doctoral fellowship in human behavioral pharmacology at Johns Hopkins doing smoking, heroin, and cocaine research. Since, my research has focused predominantly on nicotine and tobacco, including determinants of nicotine self-administration, individual differences in the development of nicotine dependence, the impact of nicotine on other reinforcers, neurobiological correlates of nicotine use and withdrawal, contingency based methods for assessing drug reinforcement and ability to achieve/maintain abstinence, and the science underlying the potential regulation of the nicotine content of cigarettes. Since 2011, I have directed a U54 Cooperative Center (the Center for the Evaluation of Nicotine in Cigarettes, CENIC) that involved 12 institutions around the country, served as consultant or Co-Investigator on numerous projects outside my institution, and chaired an active working group on nicotine in tobacco product regulation. I have expertise in a wide range of methodological approaches to understanding nicotine use and dependence including animal models, human laboratory assessments, short-term outpatient assessments including experimental models of cessation, and clinical trials of tobacco products. I am also the founding director of the Wake Forest Tobacco Control Center of Excellence which aims to reduce smoking and the burden of tobacco-related disease through research, education, training, treatment and implementation. Since 2005, I have graduated 4 PhDs and trained 3 post-doctoral fellows all of whom are currently working in academic/medical settings on issues related to addiction and/or the harms associated with tobacco use. I view my trainees as current and future colleagues. They play an integral role in my research with ample opportunities to publish (since 2005, more than 50 of my publications involved one or more trainees), submit grant applications (5 have received some sort of independent funding during their training), explore new areas/methodologies (e.g., behavioral genetics, neuroimaging, obesity, advanced statistical analysis), and develop new collaborations.  

Integrative Physiology and Pharmacology PhD
Program Research Interest: Drug and Alcohol Abuse, Cardiovascular Physiology and Hypertension, Regenerative Medicine, Neuro- and Behavioral Pharmacology, Cancer Therapeutics Endocrinology, Diabetes, and Metabolism Lifespan Physiology.