- FAMRI Center
Suzaynn Schick, PhD
Assistant Adjunct Professor of Medicine
Dr. Suzaynn Schick studies the effects of exposure to secondhand cigarette smoke on the upper and lower respiratory tract in human subjects and the chemical and physical changes that occur in aging secondhand smoke. Dr. Schick received her BS in Cell and Molecular Biology and the University of Washington and her PhD in Biomedical Sciences at the University of California, San Francisco. She did postdoctoral training under Professors Stan Glantz and John Balmes and now leads her own group in the Human Exposure Laboratory at San Francisco General Hospital campus. My lab studies secondhand smoke because smoking is still the leading preventable cause of death in the world and because the knowledge that secondhand smoke hurts nonsmokers is the most powerful force against the tobacco industry. We are testing the effects of short exposures to SHS on nasal congestion to see whether SHS exposure can increase the risk of catching a cold or sinusitis. We are also looking at the effects of short exposures to low levels of SHS on the responsiveness and stiffness of blood vessels. Our earlier studies have shown that just 30 minutes exposure to SHS causes changes to the blood vessels that increase the risk of heart attack. In our current study we are testing lower levels of smoke, and looking into the cellular mechanisms behind the SHS effect. We are also really curious about how SHS changes after it comes off the end of the cigarette. Cigarette smoke is a complex mixture of thousands of chemicals and these chemicals interact and change as time passes. Most of what we breathe as SHS is smoke that has been around for a while and changed. We know that nicotine sticks to surfaces and can form some carcinogenic nitrosamines as time passes. Our preliminary results suggest that the concentrations of a number of toxic volatile organic compounds can also increase as smoke ages. Secondhand cigarette smoke is also a wonderful model for other kinds of smoke. Smoke from burning vegetation, whether it is a cigarette, a cooking fire, or burning grasslands, has similar effects on the cells in our lungs, heart and vasculature. Oxidant gasses, carcinogens, and irritants affect the body through different molecular pathways and we are exploring these pathways to learn more about how humans respond to a wide range of air pollutants.
1989 BS, Cell & Molecular Biology, University of Washington 2001 PhD, Biomedical Sciences, UCSF
1. Glantz, S.A. and Schick. S. Implications of ASHRAE’s guidelines for ventilation in smoking permitted areas. ASHRAE Journal, 2004 46(3):54-61. 2. Schick, S. and Glantz, S.A.2005. Scientific analysis of secondhand smoke by the tobacco industry, 1929-1972. Nicotine and Tobacco Research, 2005 7 (4): 591-612. 3. Schick, S. and Glantz, S.A. 2005. Philip Morris toxicological experiments with fresh sidestream smoke: more toxic than mainstream smoke. Tobacco Control, 2005 14(6): 396-404. 4. Schick, S. and Glantz, S.A. 2006. Toxicological analysis of aged sidestream cigarette smoke by the tobacco industry. Tobacco Control, 2006 15(6): 424-429. 5. Schick, S. and Glantz, S.A. 2007. Post-MSA funding of academic and private sector research by the tobacco industry. Tobacco Control, 2007 16: 157-164. 6. Schick, S.F. and Glantz, S.A. 2007. Formation of 4-(n-methyl-n-nitrosoamino)-1-(3-pyridyl-d4)-1-butanone (NNK) in aging sidestream cigarette smoke. Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Prevention. 16: 1547-1553. 7. Heiss, C., Amabile, N., Lee, A.C., Real, W.M., Schick, S.F., Lao, D., Wong, M.L., Jahn, S., Angeli, F.S., Minasi, P., Springer, M.L., Hammond, S.K., Glantz, S.A., Grossman, W., Balmes, J.R., Yeghiazarians, Y. Secondhand smoke, acute vascular injury, and mobilization of dysfunctional endothelial progenitor cells. Journal of the American College of Cardiology 51(18):1760-1771 8. Schick, S.F., Gvinianidze, K., Novotny, T. 2008 Pilot study of compliance with healthcare facility smoking laws in Georgia. Georgian Medical News 1 (154): 47-52.