Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania

The Center for Interdisciplinary Research on Nicotine Addiction

CIRNA

CIRNA Faculty

Robert Schnoll, Ph.D.

Robert Schnoll, Ph.D.
Professor; Director, Center for Interdisciplinary Research on Nicotine Addiction

Dr. Schnoll is Director of the Center for Interdisciplinary Research on Nicotine Addiction, a Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Pennsylvania (PENN), the Associate Director for Population Science and co-leader of the Tobacco and Environmental Carcinogenesis Program at the PENN Abramson Cancer Center, and a Senior Fellow in PENN’s Center for Public Health Initiatives, where he teaches core courses for the PENN MPH program. 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’s research focuses on the study of new methods for treating nicotine dependence, the examination of novel ways to use existing treatments for nicotine dependence to improve their efficacy, and the study of methods to improve the use of smoking cessation treatments, particularly in under-served or vulnerable populations. Dr. Schnoll has conducted behavioral, physician-based, and pharmacological clinical trials for smoking cessation, and conducted tobacco control research in India and Russia. Dr. Schnoll has published over 120 peer-reviewed papers, received 13 NIH grants as Principal Investigator, has served as a scientific advisor for the NCI and the ACS, chaired or served on close to 75 NIH study sections, and served as program chair/co-chair for 3 annual meetings of the Society for Research on Nicotine and Tobacco.


Andrew A. Strasser, Ph.D.

Andrew A. Strasser, Ph.D.
Professor

Andrew Strasser is a Professor in the Department of Psychiatry, Distinguished Research Fellow of the Annenberg Public Policy Center, and a member of the Abramson Cancer Center.  He is Director of the Biobehavioral Smoking Laboratory in the CIRNA.  After completing his doctorate in Biobehavioral Health at Penn State University, Dr. Strasser completed a post-doctoral fellowship at UPENN prior to joining the faculty in 2005.  Dr. Strasser’s tobacco regulatory research program examines the impact of advertising, marketing and labeling on risk perceptions and tobacco product use, as well as applying objective measures of use to better understand exposure.   He conducts research on a variety of tobacco products, including low nicotine content cigarettes, little cigars, and electronic cigarettes, and on product features such as menthol and filter ventilation.  He has published over 60 peer-reviewed publications, with emphasis on using smoking topography to understand smoking behaviors, and eye tracking to examine advertising and warning label effectiveness.  Dr. Strasser has been project leader on 9 NIH/FDA funded projects.  He is currently an Associate Editor of Nicotine and Tobacco Research and has routinely been invited to review for NIH and other funding agencies. 


Janet Audrain-McGovern, Ph.D.

Janet Audrain-McGovern, Ph.D.
Professor

Dr. Audrain-McGovern is a Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Pennsylvania (UPENN), a member of the Abramson Cancer Center, and a Senior Fellow in the Leonard Davis Institute for Health Economics and the Center for Health Incentives and Behavioral Economics. She received her Ph.D. in clinical psychology at the University of Memphis, completed her pre-doctoral clinical internship at Brown University, and spent the beginning of her academic career as a faculty member in the Departments of Psychiatry and Oncology at Georgetown University Medical Center.  Dr. Audrain-McGovern joined the faculty at UPENN in 2001, where she continued her tobacco research.  Her epidemiological research focuses on identifying and understanding the bio-behavioral determinants of adolescent smoking acquisition, the relationship between adolescent e-cigarette use and subsequent combustible cigarette smoking, and pathways to dual use of tobacco products.  Dr. Audrain-McGovern’s human laboratory research has focused on identifying novel smoking cessation treatment targets and understanding the abuse liability of tobacco flavoring using behavioral economic paradigms.  Dr. Audrain-McGovern’s clinical trial research involves using behavioral economic informed interventions to target multiple co-occurring behaviors, such as promoting smoking cessation while minimizing post-cessation increases in food intake. Dr. Audrain-McGovern has been awarded 13 NIH grants as Principal Investigator, resulting in almost 140 peer-reviewed publications.  She has served as the Director of the Training and Career Development Core for three P50 center grants focused on nicotine and tobacco research as well as the Co-Director of the Training and Career Enhancement Core for two Tobacco Centers for Regulatory Science at UPENN.  She has served as an Associate Editor for Nicotine & Tobacco Research and Tobacco Regulatory Science, a program chair for the Society for Research on Nicotine and Tobacco, and has served on numerous NIH study sections.


Rebecca Ashare, Ph.D.

Rebecca Ashare, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor

Dr. Ashare is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychiatry, and a member of the Abramson Cancer Center and the Institute for Translational Medicine and Therapeutics (ITMAT) at the University of Pennsylvania (UPENN). She received her Ph.D. in clinical psychology at the State University of New York at Buffalo where she worked on clinical trials for smoking cessation and human behavioral pharmacology studies. After completing her predoctoral clinical fellowship at the Yale University School of Medicine Division of Substance Abuse, she joined CIRNA as a postdoctoral fellow and was appointed to faculty in 2012. At CIRNA, she continued her research on identifying novel therapeutic targets that may represent risk factors for smoking relapse and evaluating novel treatments to improve abstinence rates. Her research utilizes tools from the fields of neuropharmacology and cognitive neuroscience to understand the mechanisms of efficacy of nicotine dependence treatments. She has also conducted research on individual differences in the effects of smoking abstinence including sex differences, smokers with mental disorders (e.g., ADHD and depression), and genetics. Dr. Ashare is the recipient of a K23 Early Career Development Award and serves as an Associate Editor for Nicotine & Tobacco Research, a Consulting Editor for Psychology of Addictive Behaviors, and as a grant reviewer for the Prevent Cancer Foundation.


James Loughead, Ph.D.

James Loughead, Ph.D.
Associate Professor

Dr. Loughead joined the Center for Interdisciplinary Research on Nicotine Addiction as an Associate Professor and Technical Director of the Brain Behavior Change program in 2013.  He first joined the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Pennsylvania (PENN) in 2006 serving as the director of fMRI studies at the Center for Neuroimaging in Psychiatry since 2006 and in 2009 was named co-director of the Center.

Dr. Loughead earned a doctorate in Clinical Neuropsychology from Drexel University in 2002 and completed a NIH sponsored neuroimaging fellowship at the University of Pennsylvania in 2006.  His initial work focused on emotional processing in healthy individuals and those diagnosed with schizophrenia, focusing on the relationship between the identification of emotions and the brain response in individuals diagnosed with schizophrenia.  This work was extended to probe the role of emotion in facial memory and the functional relationship among nodes in the emotion identification network.

His work in neuroimaging of emotional and cognitive function led to a very productive collaboration with Dr. Caryn Lerman.  Intially, his contribution was limited to the technical aspects of fMRI design, however he soon established his own research programs related to nicotine dependence examining the neural and behavioral aspects of abstinence-induced cognitive deficits and relating these to effective medications, and predictive models of treatment outcomes. 


Melissa Mercincavage, Ph.D.

Melissa Mercincavage, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor

Dr. Mercincavage is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychiatry. She received doctoral and master's degrees in biobehavioral health from the Pennsylvania State University in 2015 and 2012, respectively, and a bachelor's degree in psychology from the University of Pittsburgh in 2008. Prior to joining CIRNA, she completed a postdoctoral fellowship through the University of Pennsylvania Tobacco Center of Regulatory Science in 2018. Dr. Mercincavage's research focuses on understanding how novel tobacco products and their marketing affect smokers’ perceptions and use of these products. She is the recipient of a K07 Mentored Career Development Award which will specifically examine how marketing for low nicotine content cigarettes impacts young adults. She also serves as Co-Chair of the Communications Subcommittee for the Society for Research on Nicotine and Tobacco Trainee Network, and as an Associate Editor for Tobacco Regulatory Science.