Tobacco Research Programs Staff

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 25 years treating smokeless tobacco and cigarette users.

Andrew Egbert

Andrew Egbert is a Research Coordinator for the University of Minnesota’s Tobacco Research Program. He received a B.A in Psychology in 2013 from Gettysburg College. Prior to joining the Tobacco Research Program, Andy coordinated Screening, Brief Intervention, and Referral to Treatment (SBIRT) research, related to underage drinking in minority communities outside Washington DC.

Mari Gades

Mari Gades is a PhD candidate in Psychology's Cognitive and Brain Sciences program at the University of Minnesota. She earned her BA in Psychology from Colorado College. Mari joined the Tobacco Research Programs to write her dissertation, which focuses on the abuse potential of electronic cigarettes (e-cigs, vapes) and their potential regulation by the FDA. Her career goal is to teach undergraduate psychology and neuroscience courses, and to direct her own research lab to teach undergraduate students research methods and science communication.

Katherine (Kat) Harrison, MPH

Katherine (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.

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.

Karen Kelley

Karen Kelley is the Executive Assistant to Dorothy Hatsukami, Director of Tobacco Research Programs. In addition to her many duties as Dr. Hatsukami's assistant, Karen coordinates meetings and seminars for the Tobacco Research Programs and the Prevention and Etiology Program.

Samantha Ky

Samantha Ky is a Clinical Research Coordinator and has been working with the Tobacco Research Programs since 2020. She received a B.S. in Animal Science from the University of Minnesota. Her roles on the research team include participant and study coordination, processing of bio-samples, and data entry.

Brittany Niesen

Brittany Niesen is a research coordinator for the University of Minnesota’s Tobacco Research Programs. She received her BA in Anthropology in 2012 from the University of Minnesota and has been working in research for over 12 years. Brittany has been with the tobacco research team since 2013. She has completed certifications for the Association of Clinical Research Professionals, Phlebotomy Techniques and Social Media Marketing and continues to attend seminars to further her knowledge in nicotine addiction.

Abby Person

Abby Person is a Research Coordinator at the University of Minnesota's Tobacco Research Program. Prior to joining the department, she worked in research focusing on stress, trauma, and coping. She graduated from the University of Minnesota with a BA in Psychology in 2021.


Debbie Ng, MPH

Debbie Ng is a Research Coordinator at the University of Minnesota’s Tobacco Research Program.  She received her MPH in Community Health Education at the University of Minnesota.  Before joining the Tobacco Research Program, she worked in public health and clinical research studies in Minnesota, New York City, and Seattle.  Areas of research included weight loss in adults, Type 2 diabetes in teenagers, Cystic Fibrosis in adults, and cognitive health evaluation of older adults.

Jane Schulz, MPH, RN, CNP

Jane Schulz 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 Strayer 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.

Hanna Vanderloo, RN, MSN

Hanna Vanderloo is the Cancer Prevention and Control Program Manager. She is responsible for the oversight of several research projects including Dr. Irina Stepanov's and Dr. Stephen Hecht’s projects. She has worked in clinical research for over thirteen years, in tobacco research for the past six years and joined the Tobacco Research Programs in 2017.         


Tobacco Research Programs
717 Delaware St SE
Minneapolis, MN 55414

Phone: 612-626-5155
Fax: 612-624-4610