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University of Minnesota
Tobacco Research Programs

717 Delaware St SE
Minneapolis, MN 55414

Phone: 612.626.5155
Fax: 612.624.4610

Dorothy K Hatsukami, Ph.D.

Dorothy Hatsukami, Ph.D. is currently the Associate Director of Cancer Prevention and Control for the Masonic Cancer Center, University of Minnesota, a Forster Family Chair in Cancer Prevention, a Professor of Psychiatry and Adjunct Professor of Psychology and of Epidemiology at the University of Minnesota, and the Director of the Tobacco Research Programs.

Dr. Hatsukami is known for her research in the areas of nicotine addiction and treatment of nicotine addiction among a general population of adult smokers as well as adolescents. She has also conducted research in the area of smokeless tobacco. Her most recent research has primarily been focused on developing methods and measures to evaluate tobacco products and she has led an effort to develop a trandisciplinary team (both institutionally and nationally) around this topic. She has also concentrated her efforts on exploring and developing the science base for policies that might reduce tobacco-caused death and disease such as reducing the toxicity and nicotine in tobacco products.

Because of her expertise, Dr. Hatsukami has served on a number of national committees including the National Advisory Council for Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, National Advisory Council on Drug Abuse, the Interagency Committee for Smoking and Health, Drug Control Research, Data, and Evaluation Committee for the Office of National Drug Control Policy, the Institute of Medicine and on the Scientific Board of Counselors for the Intramural Research Program of NIDA. She has also served on the Tobacco Product Scientific Advisory Committee for the Food and Drug Administration. She has served on many advisory panels for other federal, non- profit and international organizations. She is a past president of the Society on Research on Nicotine and Tobacco and a past president of the College on Problems of Drug Dependence.
Alicia Allen, Ph.D., MPH
Dr. Alicia Allen is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Family Medicine & Community Health. She has worked with Tobacco Research Programs since 2001. During this time, she completed her Masters of Public Health (2006), and Doctorate in Social & Behavioral Epidemiology (2012). She also completed a research fellowship on the topic of prenatal smoking in the Division of Reproductive Health at the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta, Georgia. Dr. Allen is interested in how gender/sex and sex hormones (such as progesterone and allopregnanolone) influence smoking behavior and smoking cessation outcomes. She is currently receiving funding from the National Institutes of Health "Building Interdisciplinary Research Careers in Women's Health (BIRCWH)" program, coordinated by the Deborah E. Powell Center for Women's Health.

Sharon Allen, M.D., Ph.D.
Dr. Sharon Allen is a Professor of Family Medicine in the University of Minnesota Medical School. She currently is doing research in smoking cessation and women, teaches in the medical school and sees patients in the Primary Care Clinic and University Specialists in Women's Health Clinic where she focuses on osteoporosis.

She received her PhD from Penn State University and then went on to do a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Rochester Medical School in neuroendocrine research. During this time, she developed an interest in medicine and eventually attended the University of Rochester Medical School and was subsequently trained in Family Medicine. Over the last 20 years, she has been doing clinical research in this area with a specific focus on effects of hormones on smoking cessation and relapse. She was awarded an R01 from NIDA in 1991 and has had continued renewal of this grant for more than 20 years. The focus of this study has been the effect of menstrual cycle in smoking cessation in women, specifically looking at sex hormones. Most recently, she has been investigating smoking behavior in women on exogenous hormones and during pregnancy, the effect of exogenous hormones on smoking cessation outcomes in men and women, and exercise as a smoking cessation intervention in postmenopausal women.
Stephen S. Hecht, Ph.D.
Stephen S. Hecht, Ph.D. is currently a Wallin Land Grant Professor of Cancer Prevention in the Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology and the Masonic Cancer Center. Dr. Hecht received his Ph.D. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology where he also did postdoctoral research. He was previously Director of Research at the American Health Foundation, a cancer prevention research institute.

The Hecht laboratory focuses on mechanisms and prevention of tobacco-induced cancer. The goal of their research is to understand mechanisms by which carcinogens are metabolically activated and detoxified in humans, and use this knowledge to develop practical strategies for cancer prevention, including the identification of individuals particularly susceptible to the carcinogenic effects of tobacco products. His group studies carcinogens that are present in tobacco products, the human diet, and the general environment; particular focus is on nitrosamines, aldehydes, and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons. Studies in laboratory animals are used to understand metabolic pathways. Then methods are developed to quantify metabolism of these carcinogens in humans, typically by employing GC-MS/MS, LC-MS/MS, or related methods to analyze carcinogen metabolites in urine, or carcinogen DNA or protein adducts in tissue or blood. These methods are applied in molecular epidemiology studies designed to determine factors that influence susceptibility to cancer development in exposed humans and in investigations of secondhand tobacco smoke exposure. Naturally occurring compounds that can prevent the metabolic activation of carcinogens or enhance their detoxification are also investigated. Mechanisms by which these chemopreventive agents act are determined in laboratory animals, then investigated in humans to investigate potential efficacy in cancer prevention.
Michael Kotlyar, Pharm.D.
Michael Kotlyar, Pharm.D. is an Associate Professor in the Department of Experimental and Clinical Pharmacology. Dr. Kotlyar received his Doctorate of Pharmacology at Purdue University, Lafayette, IN and completed a Fellowship at University of North Carolina School of Pharmacy.

Dr. Kotlyar's current research interests include psychopharmacology with an emphasis on the pharmacokinetics of psychoactive medications, their effect on the physiologic response to mental stress and pharmacological interventions to facilitate smoking cessation.

Sharon Murphy, Ph.D.
Sharon Murphy, Ph.D. is a professor in the Department of Biochemistry, Molecular Biology and Biophysics and the Director of Graduate Studies BMBB Graduate Program. Dr. Murphy received her Doctorate from the University of Colorado.

Her research interest include nicotine metabolism in smokers and are on-going to investigate the influence of individual differences in nicotine metabolism on smoking behavior and nicotine dependence. Her studies in the laboratory have characterized P450 2A6 and P450 2A13-catalyzed metabolism of both nicotine and cotinine. P450 2A6, which is present in human liver is 94% identical to the extrahepatic enzyme, P450 2A13 found in the lung. Recently her laboratory determined that both enzymes are inactivated during nicotine metabolism, and are investigating the mechanism of this inactivation. P450 2A6 and P450 2A13 are also catalysts of the metabolic activation of the tobacco specific carcinogens NNN and NNK. However, despite the similarity of these two enzymes, they catalyze NNK metabolism with strikingly different efficiencies. Metabolism by site directed mutagens of these two enzymes are being studied to investigate these structure activity relationship. Polymorphisms of both P450 2A6 and P450 2A13 exist and her laboratory and others are studying the influence of enzyme variants on nicotine and nitrosamine metabolism.
Irina Stepanov, Ph.D.
Irina Stepanov , Ph.D. is an Assistant Professor in the Division of Environmental Health Sciences at the School of Public Health. Dr. Stepanov received her Ph.D. in Chemistry from Moldova State University (Republic of Moldova). She completed postdoctoral training in the laboratory of Dr. Stephen Hecht at the University of Minnesota and continued working as a research associate with Dr. Hecht at the Masonic Cancer Center.

Dr. Stepanov's research interests include the development of novel biomarkers of human exposure to chemical carcinogens; carcinogen-induced damage to chromosomal and mitochondrial DNA; application of biomarkers to understand inter-individual differences in susceptibility to chemical carcinogen-induced cancer; tobacco carcinogenesis.
Amanda Anderson
Amanda Anderson is a Community Program Specialist for the University of Minnesota's Tobacco Research Programs. Amanda is a graduate of the University of Minnesota with a BA in Psychology and has been working in the field of nicotine and tobacco dependence since 1994. Amanda has coordinated numerous Smoking Cessation and Harm Reduction Trials and has spent over 10 years in the area of treating smokeless tobacco users.

Jamila Davis, MPH, CHES
Jamila is a Community Program Specialist with the Masonic Cancer Center, Tobacco Research Programs. She graduated from Spelman College with a BA in Psychology and a French Minor and received her MPH from Emory University, Rollins School of Public Health with a focus in prevention science. Before working with the University of Minnesota, Jamila worked at Emory University in the School of Public Health for 8 years as a study coordinator and project manager. Her research at Emory included studies in the Health Policy and Management Department related to mental and physical health services integration as well as studies in the Behavioral Science and Health Education Department working on HIV risk reduction and sexual health studies. Jamila has been working as study coordinator with Tobacco Research Programs since 2013. Her work at the University of Minnesota has included research related to cancer prevention and smokeless tobacco users.

Laura Dick
Laura Dick is a Community Programs Specialist with the Tobacco Research Programs. Laura received a B.S. in psychology with an emphasis in research from the University of Minnesota Twin Cities. Laura’s roles on the research team include assistance in conducting research, processing biomarker samples, and data entry. Laura has received basic training for certification in phlebotomy.

Katherine (Kat) Harrison, MPH
Kat Harrison has been working as a study coordinator for Tobacco Research Programs since 2010. Her work at the University of Minnesota has included research related to the use of exercise and relaxation as a smoking cessation tool. She completed her Masters of Public Health 2008. Before working with the University of Minnesota's Tobacco Research Programs, Kat worked as an epidemiologist in both Maine and the City of Baltimore.

Louise Hertsgaard, MA, TTS
Louise Hertsgaard received a M.A. in Developmental Psychology at University of Minnesota, 2007 and was certified as a Tobacco Treatment Specialist, Mayo Clinic Nicotine Dependence Center, 2008. Currently, she is a clinical research coordinator for the Tobacco Research Programs at the University of Minnesota. Since 2005 she has coordinated studies using oral tobacco and reduced nicotine content cigarettes to help people quit smoking.

Joni Jensen, MPH
Joni Jensen is the Tobacco Research Programs Clinic Manager. She is responsible for the administration of Dr. Dorothy Hatsukami and Dr. Stephen Hecht's research projects and is also responsible for regulatory oversight. She has worked in the tobacco research area for the past 25 years. Please contact her with any questions or concerns about the Tobacco Research Programs projects or staff.

Alex Johnson
Alex Johnson is a Community Programs Specialist with the Tobacco Research Programs. Alex is a graduate of Cornell College with a BA in Psychology and Mathematics with research interests in the cognition and decision making processes and effects of tobacco use. Alex's roles on the research team include research assistance as well as data, technology, and information systems management.

Kathy Longley
Kathy Longley is the Executive Assistant to Dorothy Hatsukami, Director of Tobacco Research Programs. She has worked in the Tobacco Research Programs at the University of Minnesota since 1989. In addition to her duties as Dr. Hatsukami's assistant, Kathy also coordinates meetings and seminars for the Tobacco Research Programs as well as the Prevention and Etiology Program in the Masonic Cancer Center.

Jane Schulz, MPH, RN, CNP
Jane has been working as an adult nurse practitioner in tobacco and cocaine use research since 2008. She has responsibility for the entrance and exit physical exams for study participants where the studies require them. She also assists our medical directors in review of the participants' charts and provides some required skills training and updates for staff. She has a master's degree in public health and has spent most of her career working in public health both clinically, primarily in primary care with under-served and under-insured populations, as well as in other areas of research particularly HIV/AIDS, STIs, and tuberculosis.

Lori Strayer, MPH, MS
Lori is a Research Fellow, and has been supporting cancer research with faculty in Epidemiology and recently Tobacco Research since 2006. She received degrees and worked in engineering prior to pursuing a Masters Degree in Public Health in Epidemiology. Lori's roles on the research team is to assist with regulatory requirements and data management.

Elizabeth Thompson
Elizabeth Thompson graduated from Iowa State University with a BS in Chemistry and is currently pursuing a Master's degree in Public Health at the University of Minnesota. Elizabeth splits her time as a study coordinator with the Tobacco Research Programs and in the laboratory in the Cancer Center working on nicotine metabolism studies.

Nicole Tosun, MS, TTS
Nicole Tosun is a Clinical Research Coordinator and has been with Tobacco Research Programs since 2010. During this time she completed training as a Certified Tobacco Treatment Specialist (TTS), as well as, Certified Basic Phlebotomist. Before moving to Minnesota Nicole earned a Master of Science degree in Research, Statistics, and Measurement and a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Connecticut State University. Nicole is interested in how sex hormones (such as progesterone and allopregnanolone) effect smoking behavior and smoking cessation outcomes.