In 2017, I joined Wake Forest School of Medicine as professor (Physiology and Pharmacology; Social Sciences and Health Policy) and founding director of the Tobacco Control Center of Excellence at the Wake Forest Baptist Comprehensive Cancer Center, where I also am the lead for Cancer Prevention and Control. My expertise spans across a number disciplines including behavioral pharmacology, biological and health psychology, addiction, and regulatory science. My research has used a wide range of techniques, including abuse liability assessments, functional neuroimaging, population-based surveys, and clinical trials.
My primary research interest currently focuses on regulatory approaches to reducing the health burden of tobacco. Specifically, I co-direct the Center for the Evaluation of Nicotine in Cigarettes (CENIC), an NIDA/FDA-funded cooperative agreement aiming to better understand how behavior and health might be affected in smokers who are either unable or unwilling to quit, if the nicotine content of combustible tobacco products is reduced. Our research has demonstrated that reducing nicotine in cigarettes is likely to reduce how much people smoke, their level of dependence on cigarettes, and their craving when they are abstinent. Based on these data and others, the U.S. Food and Drug Administrative is actively considering a policy to dramatically reduce the amount of nicotine in all commercial cigarettes sold in the United States.
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.