CIRNA | Center for Interdisciplinary Research on Nicotine Addiction

Investigator Biographies


Caryn Lerman, Ph.D. (Center Director, PI Project 2)

Dr. Lerman is Mary W. Calkins Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and the Annenberg Public Policy Center at the University of Pennsylvania. Her research focuses on the genetic and neural substrates of nicotine addiction phenotypes, with a focus on smoking cessation and therapeutic response. Dr. Lerman is an elected Member of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies, and has been the recipient of the American Psychological Association Award for Outstanding Contributions to Health Psychology, the American Society for Preventive Oncology Joseph Cullen Award for Tobacco Research, the Alton Oschner Award for Research Relating to Smoking and Health, the American Cancer Society Cancer Control Award, and the William Osler Patient Oriented Research Award. She served on the NCI Board of Scientific Advisors and the NHGRI National Advisory Council for Human Genome Research, and is a current member of the National Institutes on Drug Abuse Advisory Council. Dr. Lerman also serves as the Deputy Director of the Abramson Cancer Center at the University of Pennsylvania, and is past President of the Society for Research on Nicotine and Tobacco.

Selected Publications

Lerman C, Tyndale R, Patterson F, Wileyto EP, Shields PG, Pinto A, Benowitz N. Nicotine metabolite ratio predicts efficacy of transdermal nicotine for smoking cessation. Clinical Pharmacology & Therapeutics, 2006; 79(6):600-608.

Lerman C, LeSage MG, Perkins KA, O’Malley SS, Siegel SJ, Benowitz NL, Corrigall WA. Translational research in medication development for nicotine dependence. Nature Reviews Drug Discovery, 2007; 6(9):746-762.

Ray R, Jepson C, Wileyto EP, Patterson F, Strasser AA, Rukstalis M, Perkins K, Blendy J, Lerman C. CREB1 haplotypes and the relative reinforcing value of nicotine. Molecular Psychiatry, 2007; 12(7):615-617.

Wang Z, Faith M, Patterson F, Tang K, Kerrin K, Wileyto EP, Detre JA, Lerman C. Neural substrates of abstinence-induced cigarette cravings in chronic smokers. Journal of Neuroscience, 2007; 27:14030-14040.

Conti DV, Lee W, Li D, Liu J, Van Den Berg D, Thomas PD, Bergen AW, Swan GE, Tyndale RF, Benowitz NL, Lerman, C. Nicotinic acetylcholine receptor b2 implicated in a systems-based candidate gene study of smoking cessation. Human Molecular Genetics, 2008; 17(18):2834-2848.

Patterson F, Schnoll RA, Wileyto EP, Pinto A, Epstein LH, Shields PG, Hawk LW, Tyndale RF, Benowitz N, Lerman, C. Toward personalized therapy for smoking cessation: a randomized placebo-controlled trial of bupropion. Clinical Pharmacology & Therapeutics, 2008; 84, 320-325.

Uhl GR, Liu QR, Drgon T, Johnson C, Walther D, Rose JE, David SP, Niaura R, LermanC. Molecular genetics of successful smoking cessation: convergent genome-wide association results. Archives of General Psychiatry, 2008; 65(6):683-693.

Langleben DD, Loughead JW, Ruparel K, Hakun JG, Busch-Winokur S, Holloway MB, Strasser AA, Cappella JN, Lerman C.  Reduced prefrontal and temporal processing and recall of high “sensation value” ads. Neuroimage, 2009; 46(1):219-225.

Loughead J, Wileyto EP, Valdez JN , Sanborn P, Tang K, Strasser AA, Ruparel K, Ray R, Gur RC, Lerman C. Effect of abstinence challenge on brain function and cognition in smokers differs by COMT genotype. Molecular Psychiatry, 2009; 14(8): 820-826.

Mague SD, Isiegas C, Huang P, Liu-Chen LY, Lerman C, Blendy JA.  Mouse model of OPRM1 (A118G) polymorphism has sex-specific effects on drug-mediated behavior. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2009; 106(26):10847-10852.

Patterson F, Jepson C, Strasser AA, Loughead J, Perkins KA, Gur RC, Frey JM, Siegel S, Lerman C. Varenicline improves mood and cognition during smoking abstinence. Biological Psychiatry, 2009; 65(2):144-149.

Lerman C, Jepson C, Wileyto EP, Patterson F, Schnoll R, Mroziewicz M, Benowitz N, Tyndale RF.  Genetic variation in nicotine metabolism predicts the efficacy of extended duration transdermal nicotine therapy.  Clinical Pharmacology & Therapeutics, 2010; 87(5):553-557.

Loughead J, Ray R, Wileyto EP, Ruparel K, Sanborn P, Siegel S, Gur RC, Lerman, C.  Effects of the a4b2 partial agonist varenicline on brain activity and working memory in abstinent smokers.  Biological Psychiatry, 2010; 67(8):715-721.

Ray R, Mitra N, Baldwin D, Guo M, Patterson F, Heitjan DJ, Jepson C, Wileyto EP, Wei J, Payne T., Ma JZ, Li MD, Lerman C.  Convergent evidence that choline acetyltransferase gene variation is associated with prospective smoking cessation and nicotine dependence.  Neuropsychopharmacology, 2010; 35(6):1374-1382.

Schnoll RA, Patterson F, Wileyto EP, Heitjan D, Shields AE, Asch D, Lerman C. Effectiveness of extended duration transdermal nicotine therapy: a randomized trial.  Annals of Internal Medicine, 2010; 152 (3):144-151.

Loughead J, Ray R, Wileyto EP, Ruparel K, O’Donnell GP, Senecal N, Siegel S, Gur RC, Lerman C.  Brain activity and emotional processing in smokers treated with varenicline.  Addiction Biology, 2011, Epub ahead of print.

Perkins KA and Lerman C.  Early human screening of medications to treat drug addiction: novel paradigms and the relevance of pharmacogenetics.  Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics, 2011; 89(3):460-463.

Ray R, Ruparel K, Newberg A, Wileyto E., Loughead J, Divgi C, Blendy JA, Logan J, Zubieta JK, Lerman C.  Human mu opioid receptor (OPRM1 A118G) polymorphism is associated with brain mu opiod receptor binding potential in smokers.  Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA, 2011; 108(22):9268-9273.

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Julie A. Blendy, Ph.D. (Center Director, PI Project 1)

Dr. Blendy is a Professor in the Department of Pharmacology, and a member of the Center for Neurobiology of Behavior and the Institute for Translational Medicine and Therapeutics. Dr. Blendy is Chair of the Pharmacology Graduate Group and Chair of Admissions for this graduate group. Dr. Blendy received her BS and MS degrees in Zoology from the University of Maryland, College Park and her Ph.D. in pharmacology from Georgetown University. She received an NRSA post-doctoral fellowship to train in molecular biology at Johns Hopkins University and later completed a research fellowship at the German Cancer Research Center in Heidelberg, Germany where she developed several lines of knock-out and transgenic mice. Dr. Blendy joined the faculty of the University of Pennsylvania in 1997 where she has melded her training in mouse genetics, molecular biology and pharmacology with her interest in neuropsychiatric disorders to develop a research program focused on investigating mechanisms underlying drug addiction. In particular, she has focused on the interaction of nicotine and opioid systems using a variety of mouse models, molecular characterizations and behavioral phenotyping. In addition, she has a strong interest in stress neurobiology and its impact on drug addiction. Dr. Blendy won the 2009 Graduate Group in Pharmacological Sciences Distinguished Faculty Award. Her research is funded by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), and the National Cancer Institute (NCI). She currently serves as a member of the Neurobiology of Motivated Behavior Study Section and is on the Editorial Board of Molecular Pharmacology.

Selected Publications

Walters CL, Cleck JN, Kuo YC, Blendy JA. Mu-opioid receptor and CREB activation are required for nicotine reward. Neuron, 2005; 46(6):933-943.

Cleck JN, Blendy JA. Making a bad thing worse: adverse effects of stress on drug addiction. The Journal of Clinical investigation, 2008;118(2):454-461.

Isiegas C, Mague SD, Blendy JA. Sex differences in response to nicotine in C57Bl/6:129SvEv mice. Nicotine and Tobacco Research, 2009;11(7):851-858.

Kreibich AS, Briand L, Cleck JN, Ecke L, Rice KC, Blendy JA. Stress-induced potentiation of cocaine reward: a role for CRF R1 and CREB. Neuropsychopharmacology, 2009; 34(12):2609-2617.

Mague SD, Isiegas C, Huang P, Liu-Chen LY, Lerman C, Blendy JA. Mouse model of OPRM1 (A118G) polymorphism has sex-specific effects on drug-mediated behavior. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, USA, 2009; 106(26):10847-10852.

Briand LA, Vassoler FM, Pierce RC, Valentino RJ, Blendy JA. Ventral tegmental afferents in stress-induced reinstatement: the role of cAMP response element-binding protein. Journal of Neuroscience, 2010; 30(48):16149-16159.

Briand LA, Blendy JA. Molecular and genetic substrates linking stress and addiction. Brain Research, 2010; 1314:219-234.

Mague SD, Blendy JA. OPRM1 SNP (A118G): Involvement in disease development, treatment response, and animal models. Drug and Alcohol Dependence, 2010; 108(3):172-182.

Turner JR, Castellano LM, Blendy JA. Nicotinic partial agonists varenicline and sazetidine-A have differential effects on affective behavior. Journal of Pharmacological Experimental Therapy, 2010; 334(2) 665-672.

Blendy JA. Modeling neuropsychiatric disease-relevant human SNPs in mice. Neuropsychopharmacology, 2011; 36(1):364-365.

Turner JR, Castellano LM, Blenday JA. Parallel anxiolytic-like effects and upregulation of neuronal nicotinic acetylcholine receptors following chronic nicotine and varenicline. Nicotine and Tobacco Research, 2011; 13(1):41-46.

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Steven Siegel, M.D., Ph.D. (Medical Director)

Dr. Siegel is an Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Director of the Translational Neuroscience Program in the School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. He is also Director of the Clinical Neurosciences Track and Associate Director of Educational Programs for the Institute for Translational Medicine and Therapeutics (ITMAT). He received his M.D. and Ph.D. in Neurobiology at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in 1996 after completing an undergraduate degree in Neuroscience at Colgate University in 1986. He later completed residency in Psychiatry and a Fellowship in Neuropsychiatry at the University of Pennsylvania before joining the faculty in 2001. He is also a practicing Psychiatrist specializing in the treatment of schizophrenia.

Work in his laboratory includes the development of new methods for the treatment of schizophrenia using biodegradable long-term delivery systems. The methods and technologies developed in his group are also being extended to the treatment of Parkinson’s disease. Additionally, his laboratory investigates the neurobiology of schizophrenia, drug abuse and nicotine dependence using animal models to evaluate EEG and event related brain activity in mice. He has published approximately 90 scientific manuscripts, reviews, editorials, book chapters and books addressing the clinical management of schizophrenia, the use of electrophysiological animal models in psychiatric disorders and the use of biodegradable polymers in pharmaceutical delivery systems.

His laboratory has trained more than 60 undergraduate, graduate and postdoctoral students in the neurobiology of psychiatric illness and biomedical engineering. Work in the group has been supported by the National Institutes of Health, The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, The Stanley Medical Research Institute, NARSAD, The IES Brain Research Foundation and several pharmaceutical companies.

Selected Publications

Siegel SJ, Maxwell CR, Majumdar S, Trief DF, Lerman C, Gur RE, Kanes SJ, Liang Y. Monoamine reuptake inhibition and nicotine receptor antagonism reduce amplitude and gating of auditory evoked potentials. Neuroscience, 2005; 133(3):729-738.

Metzger KL, Maxwell CR, Liang Y, Siegel SJ. Effects of nicotine vary across two auditory evoked potentials in the mouse. Biological Psychiatry, 2007; 61(1):23-30.

Phillips JM, Ehrlichman RS, Siegel SJ. Mecamylamine blocks nicotine-induced enhancement of the P20 auditory event-related potential and evoked gamma. Neuroscience, 2007; 144(4):1314-1323.

Amann LC, Phillips JM, Halene TB, Siegel SJ. Male and female mice differ for baseline and nicotine-induced event related potentials. Behavioral Neuroscience, 2008; 122(5):982-990.

Rudnick ND, Koehler C, Picciotto MR, Siegel SJ. Role of beta2-containing nicotinic acetylcholine receptors in auditory event-related potentials. Psychopharmacology (Berl), 2009; 202(4):745-751.

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Janet Audrain-McGovern, Ph.D. (Co-Director, Career Development Core)

Dr. Audrain-McGovern is an Associate Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and a member of the Cancer Center at the University of Pennsylvania. Her research has focused, in part, on identifying and understanding the biobehavioral determinants of adolescent smoking acquisition to inform youth smoking prevention and smoking cessation interventions. Dr. Audrain-McGovern has served as the PI or Co-PI for several RO1 grants, both observational and interventional in nature. This work has highlighted the heterogeneity in adolescent smoking acquisition and the potential contribution of specific genetic factors to this heterogeneity. This work led to the identification of protective and risk enhancing gene by environment interactions on adolescent smoking acquisition. Dr. Audrain-McGovern is currently investigating the biobehavioral predictors of smoking acquisition from adolescence to young adulthood, the protective role of physical activity in adolescent smoking uptake, the use of behavioral economic approaches to explain smoking acquisition and cessation, and the co-morbidity between smoking and depression. Dr. Audrain-McGovern is the Co-Director of the Career Development Core at the Center for Interdisciplinary Research in Nicotine Addiction at UPENN. Dr. Audrain-McGovern is on the Editorial Board of Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, is an ad hoc reviewer for numerous journals, and has served on several NIH and foundation scientific review panels.

Selected Publications

Audrain-McGovern J, Lerman C, Wileyto EP, Rodriguez D, & Shields P. Interacting effects of genetic predisposition and depression on adolescent smoking progression. American Journal of Psychiatry, 2004; 161(7): 1224-1230.

Audrain-McGovern J, Rodriguez D, Tercyak K, Cuevas J, Rodgers K, & Patterson F. Identifying and characterizing adolescent smoking trajectories. Cancer Epidemiology & Biomarkers Prevention, 2004; 13(12): 2023-2034.

Rodriguez D, Moss H, & Audrain-McGovern J. Developmental heterogeneity in adolescent depressive symptoms; Associations with smoking behavior. Psychosomatic Medicine, 2005; 67: 200-210.

Audrain-McGovern J, Rodriguez D, Wileyto P, Schmitz KH, & Shields PG. Team sport participation buffers the effect of genetic predisposition on adolescent smoking progression. Archives of General Psychiatry, 2006; 63(4): 433-441.

Audrain-McGovern J, Al Koudsi NA, Rodriguez D, Wileyto P, Shields PG & Tyndale RF. The role of CYP2A6 in the emergence of nicotine dependence in adolescents. Pediatrics, 2007; 119(1):264-274.

Ziedonis D, Hitsman B, Beckham JC, Zvolensky M, Adler LE, Audrain-McGovern J, Breslau N, Brown RA, George TP, Williams J, Calhoun PS, & Riley WT. Tobacco use and cessation in psychiatric disorders: National Institute of Mental Health Report. Nicotine and Tobacco Research, 2008; 10(12):1691-1715.

Audrain-McGovern J, Rodriguez D, Epstein LH, Cuevas J, Rodgers K, & Wileyto EP. Does delay discounting play an etiological role in smoking or is it a consequence of smoking? Drug and Alcohol Dependence, 2009; 103(3):99-106.

Audrain-McGovern J, Rodriguez D, Cuevas J, & Rodgers K. The role of depression in adolescent smoking trajectories. Journal of Dual Diagnosis, 2009; 5(2):179-190.

Audrain-McGovern J, Rodriguez D & Kassel JD. Adolescent smoking and depression: Evidence of self-medication and peer smoking mediation. Addiction, 2009; 104(10):1743-1756.

Audrain-McGovern J, Rodriguez D, Epstein LH, Rodgers K, Cuevas J, & Wileyto EP. Young adult smoking: What factors differentiate ex-smokers, smoking cessation treatment seekers and nontreatment seekers? Addictive Behaviors, 2009; 34(12): 1036-1041.

Audrain-McGovern J, Nigg JT, & Perkins K. Phenotypes and Endophenotypes: Foundations for Genetic Studies of Nicotine Use and Dependence. Endophenotypes for nicotine dependence risk at or before initial nicotine exposure. National Cancer Institute Monograph, No. 22, Chapter 8, 2009.

Morisano D, Bacher I, Audrain-McGovern J, & George TP. Mechanisms underlying the comorbidity of tobacco use in mental health and addictive disorders. Canadian Journal of Psychiatry; 2009, 54(6):356-367.

Volpp K, Troxel A, Pauly MV, Glick HA, Puig A, Asch DA, Galvin R, Zhu J, Wan F, DeGuzman J, Corbett E, Weiner J, Audrain-McGovern J. A randomized controlled trial of financial incentives for smoking cessation. New England Journal of Medicine, 2009; 360(7):699-709.

Audrain-McGovern J, Rodriguez D, Rodgers K, Cuevas J. Declining alternative reinforcers link depression to young adult smoking. Addiction, 2010; 106(1):178-187.

Lerman C, Audrain-McGovern J. Reinforcing effects of smoking: more than a feeling. Biological Psychiatry, 2010; 67(8):699-701.

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Thomas J. Gould, Ph.D., Temple University (Co-PI, Project 1)

Dr. Gould is a Professor of Psychology and the Director of the Neuroscience Program in the College of Liberal Arts at Temple University. He is also head of the Neurobiological Investigations of Learning & Addiction (NILA) lab. In addition to affiliations with the Psychology Department and the Neuroscience Program, Dr. Gould has a secondary appointment in the Center for Substance Abuse Research (CSAR) at the Temple University School of Medicine, and he is also an investigator and member of the Center for Interdisciplinary Research on Nicotine Addiction at the University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Gould received his BS in Psychology from the University of Wisconsin and his Ph.D. in Psychology and in Neuroscience from Indiana University. Dr. Gould received the 2004 Temple University Distinguished Teaching Award, and was awarded the 2010 Lindback Award for Distinguished Teaching. He is the author of over 70 scholarly manuscripts, and his research is currently funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) and the National Cancer Institute (NCI).

In 1988, the US Surgeon General concluded that tobacco products are addictive and that nicotine is the main pharmacological agent in tobacco responsible for tobacco's addictive nature. Many questions remain, however, about nicotine. It is not completely understood what nicotine's effects on neurological/behavioral function are nor is it understood why nicotine is addictive. One reason for the incomplete understanding of nicotine addiction may be that addiction is a complex disorder with many factors contributing to the disease. The symptoms of nicotine withdrawal, which can include physical symptoms, impairments in cognition, and mood dysfunction may be a critical factor in the high relapse rates that occur in cigarette smokers. Furthermore, genetic factors may modulate the acute, chronic, and withdrawal effects of nicotine on cognition. Although animal models have provided useful insight into the somatic and affective symptoms of nicotine withdrawal, little animal research has focused on the effects of nicotine withdrawal on learning. Research from Dr. Gould's lab uses contextual fear conditioning, a hippocampus-dependent form of classical conditioning, as an animal model for the effects of nicotine on cognition. The goals of the NILA lab are: to investigate the effects of nicotine on learning, to identify the cellular and molecular mechanisms that are altered by nicotine use, and to identify genetic factors that may contribute to nicotine-associated neurobehavioral effects. The laboratory uses behavioral, pharmacological, genetic, molecular, and electrophysiological approaches to address these questions.

Selected Publications

Davis JA, James JR, Siegel SJ, Gould TJ. Withdrawal from chronic nicotine administration impairs contextual fear conditioning in C57BL/6 mice. Journal of Neuroscience, 2005; 25(38):8708-8713.

Davis JA, Kenney JW, Gould TJ. Hippocampal alpha4beta2 nicotinic acetylcholine receptor involvement in the enhancing effect of acute nicotine on contextual fear conditioning. Journal of Neuroscience, 2007; 27(40):10870-10877.

Raybuck JD, Gould TJ. Extracellular signal-regulated kinase 1/2 involvement in the enhancement of contextual fear conditioning by nicotine. Behavioral Neuroscience, 2007; 121(5):1119-1124.

Kenney JW, Gould TJ. Modulation of hippocampus-dependent learning and synaptic plasticity by nicotine. Molecular Neurobiology, 2008; 38(1):101-121.

Raybuck JD, Portugal GS, Lerman C, Gould TJ. Varenicline ameliorates nicotine withdrawal-induced learning deficits in C57BL/6 mice. Behavioral Neuroscience, 2008; 122(5):1166-1171.

Davis JA, Gould TJ. Hippocampal nAChRs mediate nicotine withdrawal-related learning deficits. European Journal of Neuropsychopharmacology, 2009; 19(8):551-561.

Gulick D, Gould TJ. The hippocampus and cingulate cortex differentially mediate the effects of nicotine on learning versus on ethanol-induced learning deficits through different effects at nicotinic receptors. Neuropsychopharmacology, 2009; 34(9):2167-2179.

Gould, TJ.  Addiction and cognition.  Addiction Science & Clinical Practice, 2010; 5(2):4-14.

Kenney JW, Florian C, Portugal GS, Abel T, Gould TJ. Involvement of hippocampal jun-N terminal kinase pathway in the enhancement of learning and memory by nicotine. Neuropsychopharmacology, 2010; 35(2):483-492.

Andre JM, Leach PT, Gould TJ. Nicotine ameliorates NMDA receptor antagonist-induced deficits in contextual fear conditioning through high-affinity nicotine acetylcholine receptors in the hippocampus. Neuropharmacology, 2011; 60(4):617-625.

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Daniel Heitjan, Ph.D. (Co-Investigator, Project 3)

Dr. Heitjan is Professor of Biostatistics and Statistics and Director of the Biostatistics Core Facility in the Abramson Cancer Center at the University of Pennsylvania. After earning his Ph.D. in Statistics from the University of Chicago in 1985, he served on the faculties of UCLA (1985–1988), Penn State University (1988–1995) and Columbia University (1995–2002) before moving to UPenn. He was the 1994–1995 Stanley S. Schor Visiting Scholar at Merck & Co., Inc., and was elected a Fellow of the American Statistical Association in 1997. Dr. Heitjan is an associate editor of Statistics in Biopharmaceutical Research and Clinical Trials, and a statistical editor of Journal of the National Cancer Institute. He was formerly a member of the AHRQ Healthcare Technology & Decision Sciences study section, and is a regular reviewer of grants for the NIH, Susan G. Komen for the Cure, and other agencies. He was Program Chair of the 2005 Joint Statistical Meetings, the largest annual statistical conference in the world, and was 2009 Chair of the American Statistical Association’s Biometrics Section, the largest and oldest of ASA’s sections.

Dr. Heitjan’s research interests include the theory and methodology of statistical analysis with incomplete data; clinical trial design; Bayesian statistics; health economics; and statistical methods for smoking cessation studies. His recent research in smoking cessation involves microsimulation modeling of the cost-effectiveness of smoking cessation treatment strategies, statistical methods for the analysis of rounded daily cigarette counts, comparison of cigarette counts recorded by timeline follow-back and electronic momentary assessment, and statistical modeling of time-to-event data on repeated smoking quits and lapse.

Selected Publications

Heitjan DF, Guo M, Ray R, Wileyto EP, Epstein LH, Lerman C. Identification of pharmacogenetic markers in smoking cessation therapy. The American Journal of Medical Genetics: Neuropsychiatric Genetics, 2008; 147B(6):712-719.

Heitjan DF, Asch DA, Ray R, Rukstalis M, Patterson F, Lerman C. Cost-effectiveness of pharmacogenetic testing to tailor smoking-cessation treatment. The Pharmacogenomics Journal, 2008; 8(6):391-399.

Wang H, Heitjan DF. Modeling heaping in self-reported cigarette counts. Statistics in Medicine, 2008; 27(19):3789-3804.

Griffith SD, Shiffman S, Heitjan DF. A method comparison study of timeline followback and ecological momentary assessment of daily cigarette consumption. Nicotine and Tobacco Research, 2009; 11(11):1368-1373.

Li Y, Wileyto EP, Heitjan DF. Modeling smoking cessation data with alternating states and a cure fraction using frailty models. Statistics in Medicine, 2010; 29(6):627-638.

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Christopher Jepson, Ph.D. (Statistician)Chris Jepson

Dr. Jepson has a background in social cognition and 26 years of research experience in health behavior research, with a focus on cancer prevention. He has served as Principal Investigator on a project examining determinants of repeat adherence to mammography, and as Co-Investigator on a project studying racial differences in breast cancer screening knowledge and behavior among urban public school teachers. As a member of the CIRNA, Dr. Jepson has collaborated on numerous pharmacotherapy trials and human laboratory investigations.

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Kenneth Perkins, Ph.D., University of Pittsburgh (PI, Project 3)

Dr. Perkins is Professor of Psychiatry, Psychology, and Epidemiology at the University of Pittsburgh in Pittsburgh, PA. He has served on the editorial boards of the Journal of Consulting & Clinical Psychology, Health Psychology, Psychopharmacology, Addiction, and Experimental and Clinical Psychopharmacology. Dr. Perkins also has served on several NIH and other federal and state grant review committees and advisory boards. He is a past-President of the Society for Research on Nicotine and Tobacco (SRNT) and is a Fellow of the American Psychological Association and of the Society of Behavioral Medicine.

Dr. Perkins is author or co-author on over 200 publications, primarily on nicotine or smoking. He is listed among the top 100 most cited authors in tobacco and nicotine research (Byrne & Chapman, 2005, Tobacco Control, 14, 155-160) and among the top 70 most productive faculty in clinical psychology (Stewart et al., 2007, Journal of Clinical Psychology, 63, 1209-1215). For over 25 years, his laboratory has examined the acute effects of nicotine and cigarette smoking in adults that may explain the persistence of tobacco dependence. Ongoing interests in all studies include sex differences and other individual differences in the pharmacological and nonpharmacological factors promoting smoking, and environmental factors that moderate responses to nicotine or cigarette smoking. Prior NIH-funded projects include the first programmatic lab-based research in humans on: 1) nicotine and energy balance, to help determine why smoking lowers body weight, which may help maintain smoking in those with weight concerns; 2) chronic tolerance to nicotine (tolerance being a classic hallmark of abused drugs), including an examination of the association of tolerance with dependence; 3) discriminative stimulus effects of nicotine, believed to be related to nicotine reinforcement; 4) sex differences in the reinforcing and rewarding effects of nicotine versus non-nicotine aspects of smoking; and 5) genetic, personality, and other individual differences in initial sensitivity to nicotine, to examine potential factors associated with greater vulnerability to onset of nicotine dependence. Other projects examined nicotine/smoking reinforcement, the essence of drug dependence. Current projects focus on: a) development of brief early medication screening procedures to determine the likely clinical efficacy of novel compounds to treat smoking cessation; and b) the relationship between negative affect and cigarette smoking responses and reinforcement.

Selected Publications

Perkins KA, Stitzer M, Lerman C. Medication screening for smoking cessation: a proposal for new methodologies. Psychopharmacology, 2006; 184(3-4), 628-636.

Perkins KA, Lerman C, Stitzer ML, Fonte CA, Briski JL, Scott JA, Chengappa KNR. Development of procedures for early screening of smoking cessation medications in humans. Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics, 2008; 84(2):216-221.

Perkins KA, Ciccocioppo, M., Conklin, C., Milanak, M., Grottenthaler, A. & Sayette, M. Mood influences on acute smoking responses are independent of nicotine intake and dose expectancy. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 2008; 117(1):79-93.

Perkins KA, Lerman C, Grottenthaler, A., Ciccocioppo, M., Milanak, M., Conklin, C.A., Bergen, A.W., & Benowitz NL. Dopamine and opioid gene variants are associated with increased smoking reward and reinforcement due to negative mood. Behavioural Pharmacology, 2008; 19(5-6):641-649.

Perkins KA, Lerman C, Mercincavage M, Fonte CA, Briski JL. Nicotinic acetylcholine receptor B2 subunit (CHRNB2) gene and short-term ability to quit smoking in response to nicotine patch. Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Prevention, 2009; 18(10):2608-2612.

Perkins KA, Karelitz JL, Conklin CA, Sayette MA, Giedgowd GE.  Acute negative affect relief from smoking depends on the affect situation and measure but not on nicotine. Biological Psychiatry, 2010; 67(8):707-714.

Perkins, K.A., Mercincavage, M., Fonte, C., & Lerman, C. Varenicline's effects on acute smoking behavior and reward and their association with subsequent abstinence. Psychopharmacology, 2010; 210(1):45-51.

Perkins KA, Lerman C, Fonte CA, Mercincavage M, Stitzer ML, Chengappa KRN, Jain A.  Cross-validation of a new procedure for early screening of smoking cessation medications in humans. Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics, 2010; 88(1):109-114.

Perkins KA, Lerman C.  Early human screening of medications to treat drug addiction: novel paradigms and the relevance of pharmacogenetics.  Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics, 2011; 89(3):460-463.

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Robert Schnoll, Ph.D. (Co-Director, Career Development Core)Robbie Schnoll

Dr. Schnoll is an Associate Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Pennsylvania and a member of the University of Pennsylvania Abramson Cancer Center. Dr. Schnoll directs an independent and collaborative research program designed to evaluate methods for improving treatments for tobacco dependence.

Dr. Schnoll’s research focuses on the study of new methods for treating tobacco dependence, the examination of novel ways to use existing treatments for tobacco dependence to improve their efficacy, and the study of methodological issues relevant to smoking cessation clinical trials. Dr. Schnoll has conducted behavioral, physician-based, and pharmacological clinical trials for smoking cessation among cancer patients and tobacco control research in developing countries. Ongoing research studies include: an assessment of a cancer diagnosis as a teachable moment for smoking cessation treatment, the evaluation of maintenance therapy for nicotine dependence, and the assessment of high dose transdermal nicotine for fast metabolizers of nicotine.

After receiving his Ph.D. in psychology from the University of Rhode Island in 1998, Dr. Schnoll completed a post-doctoral fellowship in Cancer Prevention and Control at Fox Chase Cancer Center and remained there as a faculty member in the Division of Population Science until September, 2005, when he moved to his current position at the University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Schnoll has received 8 NIH grants, is a member of the Risk, Prevention, and Intervention for Addictions Study Section, co-chaired the annual meeting of the Society for Research on Nicotine and Tobacco for 2008 and 2009, and was the program chair for the 2010 Society for Research on Nicotine and Tobacco meeting.

Selected Publications

Schnoll RA, Zhang B, Rue M, Krook JE, Spears WT, Marcus AC, Engstrom PF. Brief physician-initiated quit-smoking strategies for clinical oncology settings: a trial coordinated by the Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group. Journal of Clinical Oncology, 2003; 21(2):355-365.

Schnoll RA, Rothman RL, Wielt DB, Lerman C, Pedri H, Wang H, Babb J, Miller SM, Movsas B, Sherman E, Ridge JA, Unger M, Langer C, Goldberg M, Scott W, Cheng J. A randomized pilot study of cognitive-behavioral therapy versus basic health education for smoking cessation among cancer patients. Annals of Behavioral Medicine, 2005; 30(1):1-11.

Schnoll RA, Rukstalis M, Wileyto EP, Shields AE. Smoking cessation treatment by primary care physicians: An update and call for training. The American Journal of Preventative Medicine, 2006; 31(3):233-239.

Patterson F, Schnoll RA, Wileyto EP, Pinto A, Epstein LH, Shields PG, Hawk LW, Tyndale RF, Benowitz N, Lerman C. Toward personalized therapy for smoking cessation: a randomized placebo-controlled trial of bupropion. Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics, 2008; 84(3):320-325.

Schnoll RA, Wileyto EP, Pinto A, Leone F, Gariti P, Siegel S, Perkins KA, Dackis C, Heitjan DF, Berrettini W, Lerman C. A placebo-controlled trial of modafinil for nicotine dependence. Drug and Alcohol Dependence, 2008; 98(1-2):86-93.

Schnoll RA, Epstein L, Audrain J, Niaura R, Hawk L, Shields PG, Lerman C, Wileyto EP. Can the blind see? Participant guess about treatment arm assignment may influence outcome in a clinical trial of bupropion for smoking cessation. Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment, 2008; 34(2):234-241.

Dahm JL, Cook E, Baugh K, Wileyto EP, Pinto A, Leone F, Halbert CH, Schnoll RA. Predictors of enrollment in a smoking cessation clinical trial after eligibility screening. Journal of the National Medical Association, 2009; 101(5):450-455.

Schnoll RA, Patterson F, Wileyto EP, Tyndale RF, Benowitz N, Lerman C. Nicotine metabolic rate predicts successful smoking cessation with transdermal nicotine: a validation study. Pharmacology Biochemistry and Behavior, 2009; 92(1):6-11.

Schnoll RA, Patterson F, Wileyto EP, Heitjan DF, Shields AE, Asch DA, Lerman C. Effectiveness of extended-duration transdermal nicotine therapy: a randomized trial. Annals of Internal Medicine, 2010; 152(3):144-151.

Schnoll RA, Martinez E, Tatum KL, Weber DM, Kuzla N, Glass M, Ridge JA, Langer C, Miyamoto C, Leone F. A buproprion smoking cessation clinical trial for cancer patients. Cancer Causes and Control, 2010; 21(6):811-820.

Schnoll RA, Martinez E, Tatum KL, Glass M, Bernarth A, Ferris D, Reynolds P. Nicotine patch vs. nicotine lozenge for smoking cessation: An effectiveness trial coordinated by the Community Clinical Oncology Program. Drug and Alcohol Dependence, 2010; 107(2-3):237-243.

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Andrew Strasser, Ph.D. (Co-Investigator)

Dr. Strasser is Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and a member of the Abramson Cancer Center at the University of Pennsylvania. He is Principal Investigator of an NCI RO1 to examine how smokers use reduced nicotine cigarettes and how usage patterns affect toxin exposure. Previous research from Dr. Strasser’s lab reported that during initial use of reduced nicotine cigarettes, smokers puffed more vigorously on each reduced nicotine level cigarette resulting in carbon monoxide levels increasing 250% relative to the highest nicotine level cigarette. Additionally, digital scanning of tar stain intensity on the proximal end of the low nicotine cigarette suggested increased tar exposures relative to the high nicotine cigarette. An NCI RO1 grant awarded to Drs. Strasser and Ian Blair (Co-PIs) is extending research on reduced nicotine cigarettes integrating an exhaustive panel of biomarkers with the assessment of smoking behaviors.

Dr. Strasser’s research on tobacco harm also includes the effect cigarette design features have on smoking behaviors and toxin exposure. Recent research on filter vent blocking reports that smoking light cigarettes with filter vents occluded resulted in a 50% increase in smoke exposure; and a 275% increase when blocking filter vents on an ultra-light cigarette. For those who block filter vents on their first daily cigarette, smoke exposure may increase by 33%.

Dr. Strasser also conducts laboratory-based research on what makes cigarette advertising and anti-tobacco public service announcements (PSAs) effective. In a recent series of studies, PSAs were coded for message sensation value (MSV), a measure of video and audio content, and argument strength. For low sensation seeking smokers, low MSV PSAs increased self-efficacy, and high MSV PSAs increased negative beliefs about the harms of smoking. However, smoking cues elicited smoking urges in the weak argument condition, suggesting antismoking advertisements with smoking cues and weak arguments could produce boomerang effects on smokers through urge elicitation. A project (Strasser, PI) as part of the NIH-funded Center of Excellence in Cancer Communication Research extends this line of research to utilize eye-tracking and physiological responses to cue (versus no cue) anti-smoking PSAs.

Dr. Strasser was one of six worldwide recipients of the Pfizer-funded, peer-reviewed Global Research Award for Nicotine Dependence (GRAND) program. In this project, Dr. Strasser is investigating the effect of extended varenicline use on the extinction of smoking behaviors. Results from this study may have health implications on maximizing success of smoking cessation attempts by examining individual smoking patterns.

Selected Publications

Strasser AA, Ashare RL, Kozlowksi LT, Pickworth WB. The effect of filter vent blocking and smoking topography on carbon monoxide levels in smokers. Pharmacology Biochemistry and Behavior, 2005; 82(2): 320-329.

Strasser AA, O’Connor RJ, Mooney ME, Wileyto EP. Digital image analysis of cigarette filter stains as an indicator of compensatory smoking. Cancer Epidemiology Biomarkers and Prevention, 2006; 15(12): 2565-2569

Strasser AA, Lerman C, Sanborn PM, Pickworth W, Feldman E. New lower nicotine cigarettes produce compensatory smoking and increased carbon monoxide exposure. Drug and Alcohol Dependence, 2007; 86(2-3): 294-300.

Strasser AA, Tang KZ, Tuller MD, Cappella JN. PREP advertisement features affect smokers’ beliefs regarding potential harm. Tobacco Control, 2008; S1: 32-38.

Kang Y, Cappella JN, Strasser AA, Lerman C. The effect of smoking cues in antismoking advertisements on smoking urge and psychophysiological reactions. Nicotine and Tobacco Research, 2009; 11(3): 254-261.

Strasser AA, Tang KZ, Sanborn PM, Zhou JY, Kozlowski LT. Behavioral filter vent blocking on the first cigarette of the day predicts which smokers of light cigarettes will increase smoke exposure from blocked vents. Clinical and Experimental Psychopharmacology, 2009; 17(6):405-412.

Strasser AA, Cappella JN, Jepson C, Fishbein M, Tang KZ, Han E, Lerman C. Experimental evaluation of anti-tobacco PSAs: Effects of message content and format on physiological and behavioral outcomes. Nicotine and Tobacco Research, 2009; 11(3): 293-302.

Patterson F, Jepson C, Loughead J, Perkins K, Strasser AA, Siegel S, Frey J, Gur R, Lerman C. Working memory deficits predict short-term smoking resumption following brief abstinence. Drug and Alcohol Dependence, 2010; 106:61-64

Rudnick N, Strasser A, Phillips J, Jepson C, Patterson F, Frey J, Turetsky B, Lerman C, Siegel S.Mouse model predicts effects of smoking and varenicline on event-related potentials in humans. Nicotine and Tobacco Research, 2010; 12(6):589-597.

Strasser AA, Benowitz NL, Pinto A, Tang KZ, Hecht SS, Carmella SG, Tyndale RF, Lerman C.  Nicotine metabolite ratio predicts smoking topography and carcinogen biomarker level.  Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, 2011; 20(2):234-238.

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E. Paul Wileyto, Ph.D. (Director, Data Management and Biostatistics Core)

Dr. Wileyto is Assistant Professor of Biostatistics in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Pennsylvania, and the Director of the CIRNA Data Management and Biostatistics Core. His primary responsibilities include collaborative analysis of data, experimental design, grant writing, and development and testing of outcome measures for smoking cessation research. He has a secondary responsibility for education and training of staff in statistical methods, use of statistical software, and data management issues related to analysis. Dr. Wileyto is also engaged in ongoing collaborative statistical work with the Radiation Oncology Department.  He wrote and maintains the Image Alignment and Analysis tool, a MATLAB utility which helps to analyze the spatial relationship of tumor anatomical features with physiology using light microscopy images.

Dr. Wileyto's research interests lie in applications of statistics in biology and medicine. Previously, he worked in the Section of Epidemiology and Public Health for the University of Pennsylvania's School of Veterinary Medicine at the New Bolton Center on population dynamics and epidemiology of Lyme disease. During this time, he conducted the largest case-control study ever done on Lyme disease. Dr. Wileyto also conducted innovative methodological work in the statistical estimation of population size from trap data at the USDA Stored Product Insects Laboratory.

Dr. Wileyto received his Ph.D. in Ecology from the University of Pennsylvania (Department of Biology), and completed a post-doctoral fellowship in Mathematical Epidemiology at Johns Hopkins University's School of Hygiene. He has a secondary appointment in the University of Pennsylvania Medical School's Department of Biostatistics, and is an Associate Scholar in the Center for Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics.

Selected Publications

Wileyto EP, Ewens WJ, Mullen MA. Markov-recapture population estimates - a tool for improving interpretation of trapping experiments. Ecology, 1994; 75(4):1109-1117.

Wileyto EP, Audrain-McGovern J, Epstein LH, Lerman C. Using logistic regression to estimate delay-discounting functions. Behavior Research Methods, Instruments, and Computers, 2004; 36(1):41-51.

Wileyto EP, Patterson F, Niaura R, Epstein L, Brown R, Audrain-McGovern J, Hawk L, Lerman C. Do small lapses predict relapse to smoking behavior under bupropion treatment? Nicotine and Tobacco Research, 2004; 6(2): 357-366.

Munafo MR, Wileyto EP, Flint J. Response to Manly: Statistical stringency in tests of genetic association - implications of sample size and study design. Trends in Genetics, 2005; 21(5):269-271.

Wileyto EP, Patterson, Niaura R, Epstein LH, Brown RA, Audrain-McGovern J, Hawk LW, Jr., Lerman C. Recurrent event analysis of lapse and recovery in a smoking cessation clinical trial using bupropion. Nicotine and Tobacco Research, 2005; 7(2):257-268.

Munafo MR, Wileyto EP, Murphy MF, Collins BN. Maternal smoking during late pregnancy and offspring smoking behaviour. Addictive Behavior, 2006; 31(9):1670-1682.

Wileyto P, O'Loughlin J, Lagerlund M, Meshefedjian G, Dugas E, Gervais, A. Distinguishing risk factors for the onset of cravings, withdrawal symptoms and tolerance in novice adolescent smokers. Tobacco Control, 2009; 18(5):387-392.

Li Y, Wileyto EP, Heitjan DF. Modeling smoking cessation data with alternating states and a cure fraction using frailty models. Statistics in Medicine, 2010; 29(6):627-638.

Schnoll RA, Patterson F, Wileyto EP, Heitjan DF, Shields AE, Asch DA, Lerman C. Effectiveness of extended-duration transdermal nicotine therapy: a randomized trial. Annals of Internal Medicine, 2010; 152(3):144-151.

Vinnard C, Winston CA, Wileyto EP, MacGregor RR, Bisson GP Isoniazid resistance and death in patients with tuberculous menningitis: retrospective cohort study. British Medical Journal, 2010; 341:c4451.

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