Center Leadership

The Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education serves as a focal point for a broad range of research, education, and public service activities for 31 faculty in 15 departments and all 4 schools at UCSF, as well as colleagues at UC Berkeley. It is part of the UCSF Cardiovascular Research Institute and its membership is congruent with the UCSF Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center’s Tobacco Control Program.

Stanton A. Glantz, PhD


Stanton A. Glantz is a Professor of Medicine (Cardiology) and American Legacy Foundation Distinguished Professor of Tobacco Control.  He has been a leading activist in the nonsmokers' rights movement since 1978, when he helped lead a state initiative campaign to enact a nonsmokers' rights law by popular vote (defeated by the tobacco industry). He is the author of 5 books and over 150 scientific papers, including the first major review (published in Circulation) which identified involuntary smoking as a cause of heart disease and the landmark July 19, 1995 issue of JAMA on the Brown and Williamson documents, which showed that the tobacco industry knew nicotine was addictive and that smoking caused cancer 30 years ago. This publication was followed up with the book, The Cigarette Papers, which played a key role in the ongoing litigation surrounding the tobacco industry. He is author of the book, Tobacco Wars: Inside the California Battles, which chronicles the last quarter century of battles against the tobacco industry in California. He has traveled widely and lectured on scientific and policy issues related to clean indoor air and tobacco control. His work has attracted considerable attention from the tobacco industry, which has sued the University of California (unsuccessfully) twice in an effort to stop Prof. Glantz' work. He is co-leader (with Sharon Hall) of the UCSF Comprehensive Cancer Center Tobacco Program

Pamela Ling, MD MPH

Fellowship Director

Pamela Ling, Assistant Professor of Medicine, is a general internist who conducts research in social marketing approaches to promoting healthy behaviors among young adults. Her expertise in tobacco industry documents research centers on tobacco marketing and market research, and includes analyses of thousands of previously secret tobacco industry documents detailing marketing strategies targeting young adults. She is translating market research strategies into both public health policy and clinical practice. In addition to young adults, her research interests related to tobacco include the global expansion of market research strategies developed in the USA by transnational tobacco companies, marketing to women, marketing and popular culture, marketing strategies that undermine smoking cessation, and cross-cultural studies of tobacco marketing and counter-marketing.

Dr. Ling has also worked on public health media interventions for young people in HIV prevention, tobacco use, substance use, and other preventive health behaviors. She received her bachelor’s degree from Harvard/Radcliffe in 1990 in History and Science, and her MD from the UCSF School of Medicine in 1996. She completed her residency in Internal Medicine at the UCSF/San Francisco General Hospital Primary Care program, where she emphasized adolescents and AIDS clinical care. She received her Masters degree in Public Health from UC Berkeley in 2000

Neal Benowitz, MD

Director, FAMRI Center of Excellence on Secondhand Smoke

Neal L. Benowitz, MD is Professor in the Departments of Medicine, Psychiatry, Biopharmaceutical Sciences and Pharmacy, and Chief, Division of Clinical Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics. He serves as Vice Chairperson of the Department of Biopharmaceutical Sciences and is the leader of the Tobacco Control Group of the UCSF Comprehensive Cancer Center. Dr. Benowitz has directed the main focus of his research career to studying the human pharmacology of nicotine, including nicotine addiction. Nicotine addiction sustains tobacco use, which is the major preventable cause of premature death and disability in the world. Dr. Benowitz’s thesis has been that understanding the pharmacology of nicotine would provide insights into effective means of treating and preventing tobacco-related disease.

In recent years, Dr. Benowitz has been studying the effects of second hand smoke exposure on humans. His research for the FAMRI Center of Excellence is developing novel chemistry techniques for measuring low levels of toxic chemicals derived from second hand smoke exposure and biomarkers of second hand smoke-induced cardiovascular injury and conducting experimental clinical studies to validate the use of various biomarkers of second hand smoke exposure.

Dr. Benowitz has been active in the public health area, attempting to apply his basic research findings to public policy issues. He has made key policy proposals on regulating the nicotine content of cigarettes and on issues of labeling yields of cigarettes. He was senior scientific editor of the 1988 U.S. Surgeon General’s Report on “Nicotine Addiction.” This report has become the benchmark document that has established nicotine addiction as the determinant of tobacco use, a document that has been used around the world in developing tobacco control policies. More recently Dr. Benowitz served as co-editor of the National Cancer Institute monograph on “Risks Associated with Smoking Cigarettes with Low Machine-Measured Yields of Tar and Nicotine.” This report provides convincing evidence that low yield cigarettes are not less harmful to health than are high yield cigarettes, and is likely to have profound implications on cigarettes design and marketing around the world.


Sharon Hall, PhD

Dr. Hall is the Co-leader (with Dr. Glantz)  of the Tobacco Control Program of the Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center.  In that role, she organizes the monthly Tobacco Control seminar, and collaborates in developing policy and research activities for members of the Tobacco Control program.  Her other administrative activities include her role as a Program Director of an NIH-funded Center Grant, “Treatment of Complex Patients: Emphasis on Nicotine” and a Co-Director of a NIDA-funded Postdoctoral Training Program in Drug Abuse Treatment and Services Research,.   Her own  research is on the treatment of drug abuse, especially tobacco dependence, and better understanding the processes of change through randomized clinical trials and related studies.  Her work focuses on  the treatment of comorbidities in special populations, and the complexities that comorbidities introduce into treatment.  She is the recipient of an NIH Senior Scientist and Mentoring Award, the George Sarlo Award for Teaching in Psychiatry, and the Ove Ferno Award presented by the Society for Research on Nicotine and Tobacco.

Karen Williams

Assistant Director

Karen Williams, Assistant Director, joined the Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education in 2000 and brought with her 14 years of experience in managerial/administrative work at UCSF and Stanford University. She oversees the administrative offices of the CTCRE and does research and public education on smoking in the movies.