Research program centers on the development of nicotine dependence in adolescents. My primary research interest is the emergence of nicotine addiction in adolescence. If we can understand the pathways to addiction, it may be possible to find ways to prevent nicotine addiction before it occurs. One of my research projects includes the Teen Smoking Study in which I am examining the effect of nicotine metabolism on adolescent smoking behaviors. The study participants are adolescent light and experimental smokers. The rate of nicotine metabolism (how fast the body breaks down nicotine) for each participant is assessed at baseline. Then we follow the participants over a three year period to find out which teens become addicted smokers and which teens do not. A second project was studying brain activation in adolescent experimental smokers. Each participant completed an fMRI (a brain scan) while looking at pictures. Some pictures were about smoking, others were about non-smoking behaviors. We then looked at the different ways the brain responded to the pictures to find out if there were differences in response to smoking cues versus non-smoking cues.