Our Fellows

Natalie Alizaga, PhD

Postdoc Scholar

Natalie M. Alizaga, PhD received her doctorate in Applied Social Psychology from The George Washington University in Washington DC, a MPH in Health Behavior and Health Education from The University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, and a BS in Health Science from San Jose State University.  Her research interests focus on elucidating the psychosocial factors related to tobacco cessation and cancer prevention for underserved populations, including barriers and facilitators to routine health care and screening. Specifically, her research assesses factors that influence tobacco and cancer-related health cognitions and behaviors among lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) individuals and racial/ethnic minorities.

A San Francisco native, Natalie served as a Research Assistant at UCSF and a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Evaluation Fellow in Saint Paul, MN prior to pursuing her PhD.  As a Postdoctoral Fellow at the CTCRE, Natalie looks forward to examining tobacco cessation and prevention strategies for vulnerable populations. 

Dharma Bhatta, PhD

Postdoc Scholar

Dharma Bhatta, PhD received his doctorate in Epidemiology from the Prince of Songkla University, Thailand in 2016. He is an epidemiologist and public health expert/researcher, with over ten years of experiences in academia and public health research in developing countries. Dr. Dharma is an Assistant Professor of Community Medicine and Public Health at Tribhuvan University, People’s Dental College, Kathmandu, Nepal where he leads a dynamic research team which conducts multidisciplinary research on non-communicable disease, infectious disease, reproductive health, statistical modeling, outcomes and health system/operations research, and tobacco epidemiology.

He has expertise in designing, executing and analyzing randomized trials and large cohort studies. He has conducted field studies in public health issues in Nepal, Thailand and Bangladesh and has worked in public health in Nepal and Iraq with US DoD. He is a consultant for different projects funded by USAID and DFID in Nepal and Ministry of Health, Nepal. During the fellowship period, he is interested on use of tobacco industry documents, understanding tobacco industry behavior and how it influences tobacco control policy and FCTC, determinants and economic impacts of tobacco use.

Candice Bowling, JD, MPA

Postdoctoral Scholar

Candice M. Bowling, JD, MPA, obtained a law degree from Washington University in Saint Louis, School of Law (2013), and an MPA specializing in cannabis regulation and governance at University of Colorado—Denver (2016) with a thesis component entitled “Environmental Interventions In Colorado Retail Marijuana Law.”  Following law school, Candice gained experience in drug regulation during her time clerking for the Supreme Court of West Virginia, 11th Judicial Circuit.  Candice gained additional expertise in the field of cannabis regulation through her private consultant work on comparative analyses of state-level cannabis laws made available to the State of Missouri; and through her employment with the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment in the cannabis division where she gained extensive knowledge of local control and cannabis regulation, law, and policy.  She presented at the 2016 APHA Conference in Denver on “Local marijuana regulations and implications for public health,” Candice’s current research foci include tracking the policy process surrounding cannabis legalization; public administration of cannabis regulation and governance; and special issues relating to local control of cannabis regulation.        

During their postdoctoral fellowships, they will be preparing detailed case studies on policy-making in states with a variety of marijuana policies, including research on development and outcomes of relevant legislation, implementation, funding and management of marijuana and tobacco control programs, efforts of public health advocates to promote public health programs, and opposition to public health  policies by the marijuana and tobacco industries and their allies and surrogates.


Eric Crosbie, PhD

Postdoctoral Scholar

Eric Crosbie recently received his PhD in Politics at the University of California, Santa Cruz (UCSC). His research is multi-disciplinary combining elements of political science, public health, law, and business to examine the regulatory environment of tobacco at the domestic and international level, including the intersection of global health and global trade governance. In particular his dissertation, titled "Constraining Government Regulatory Authority: Tobacco Industry Trade Threats and Challenges to Cigarette Package Health Warning Labels" examined how tobacco companies have been able to use trade agreements to globally preempt strong public health policies, which has caused a regulatory chill/chilling effect on implementing strong tobacco packaging policies.

Before returning to graduate school to complete his PhD, Eric worked for 3 years at the CTCRE researching and publishing studies on tobacco control policymaking in Latin America and international trade. Eric has also participated in sessions with trade representatives during trade negotiations for the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement. As a postdoc he looks to continue working on trade and tobacco control as well expand his research towards the impact of trade on food, alcohol and medicine.

Noah Gubner, PhD

Postdoctoral Scholar

Noah received his PhD in Behavioral Neuroscience at Oregon Health & Science University in Portland, OR. His dissertation research utilized behavioral and genetic animal models that have been well established for alcohol research to study the combined effects of nicotine and alcohol on reward and neuroadaptation, with the goal of understanding why these two drugs share such a high rate of co-abuse. For his dissertation research, Noah also completed work using preclinical mouse models to further evaluate the smoking cessation aid varenicline as a potential pharmacological treatment for alcohol dependence. Noah received an Individual Predoctoral Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award (NRSA) from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), a Dissertation Research Award from the American Psychological Association, and an OHSU Tartar Trust Fellowship award. 
As a postdoctoral fellow at the UCSF CTCRE he plans to work with human clinical populations to study epidemiological, genetic, and pharmacological factors that contribute to the co-abuse of tobacco and alcohol.

Yogi Hendlin, PhD

Postdoctoral Scholar

Yogi Hale Hendlin earned his PhD in Environmental Philosophy at the University of Kiel, Germany, after completing doctoral work at UCLA, a Master's at the London School of Economics, and degrees at UC Berkeley. Hendlin's interests are at the intersection of public health policy, social and environmental justice, business ethics, and the philosophy of science.  At the CTCRE, Hendlin's research focuses on the social determinants of health and addiction, environmental harms from transnational industries, patterns of corporate environmental and social irresponsibility and subversion of science across industries, and industry marketing and effective counter-marketing.

Minji Kim, PhD

Postdoctoral Scholar

Minji Kim's research interest focuses on message effects and persuasion. She is particularly interested in the effect and boundary conditions of tailored communication. Kim received a Ph.D. in Communication from the Annenberg School for Communication, University of Pennsylvania, with a dissertation examining the positive and negative role of character-audience similarity in anti-smoking campaigns using various themes. Kim has also actively participated in NIH’s Center for Excellence in Cancer Communication and NCI’s EUREKA grants, and conducted projects on message testing protocols and methodology. During the fellowship at CTCRE, Kim hopes to utilize her training in communication to further test and examine the effects of anti-smoking education messages as well as new tobacco products (e.g. e-cigs) marketing messages, and also extending her research on the effect of tailored and targeted health communication. Prior to joining the doctoral program at Annenberg, Kim received an MA in Communication from Seoul National University. Also, she worked as an associate consultant at The Boston Consulting Group’s Seoul office.

Julia Mcquoid, PhD

Postdoc Scholar

Julia is a qualitative human and health geographer interested in relationships between people’s everyday environments and behaviors related to health and wellbeing. During her fellowship at CTCRE, Julia will research place-embedded social practices of smoking within marginalized groups, such as young LGBTQI adults, in order to better understand the persistence of smoking within these groups and inform the design and effectiveness of tobacco control efforts. Julia received a PhD in Geography from the University of New South Wales in Australia. During her PhD, she explored experiences of time and space for individuals negotiating everyday life with chronic kidney disease, and collaborated with a research group focused on time and health at the National Centre for Epidemiology and Population Health in Canberra. She received an MSc in Human Geography and Planning from Utrecht University in the Netherlands, and a BA in Anthropology & Sociology from Mills College in Oakland, California. Julia is originally from the Bay Area and currently lives in Oakland.

Nhung Nguyen, PhD

Postdoctoral Scholar

Nhung Nguyen received her PhD in Epidemiology from The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, TX, and her BS in Pharmacy from Hanoi University of Pharmacy, Vietnam. Her dissertation was among the first to examine smoking prevalence, nicotine dependence, and related factors among HIV-positive people in Vietnam. Her research interests include application of technology and data science in smoking cessation intervention among smokers with polysubstance use, and in smoking prevention among youth and young adults. 

Daniel Orenstein, JD, MPH

Postdoctoral Scholar

Daniel G. Orenstein, JD, MPH, received a law degree from Arizona State University (2011), an MPH in Health Policy from Harvard (2016), and a BA in Political Science and Sociology from the University of Arizona (2005).  Following law school, Dan served as Deputy Director of the Network for Public Health Law in the Western Region, providing technical assistance on a wide variety of public health legal issues. His general research interests are in the intersection of law, health, and behavior, with emphasis on how law and policy can positively influence health within established legal and ethical frameworks. Dan’s current research focuses on legal and public health considerations in cannabis policy, including emerging regulatory approaches, industry structure and behavior, and intersections with tobacco control.


Manali Vora, BDS

Postdoc Scholar

Manali Vora, DDS earned her DDS in Dental Surgery from Gujarat University, India in 2014, recently received her MPH in Epidemiology at University of Washington, Seattle. She was sensitized to the tobacco epidemic during her training as a dentist and has since then been passionate about tobacco dependence prevention and treatment research.

Her other research interest is in improving clinical management of oral cancer. Thus, for her Master’s thesis she worked at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center to study the tumor immune environment of different types of oral cancer and how it related to survival in patients, under the supervision of field expert, Dr. Chu Chen. At CTCRE, she wants to study the health effects of alternative tobacco products and help develop effective counter-marketing strategies against the tobacco industry.

Priyanka Vyas, PhD

Postdoc Scholar

Priyanka Vyas, PhD started her career as a journalist in New Delhi, after completing her BA in political science from Wilson College, Mumbai.  During her stint as a reporter covering trade and policy issues, she became interested in how policies could be better analyzed and implemented.  This single most desire to influence policy decisions led her to move to the US for further education. She earned her Master’s in public management and policy from North Carolina State University and moved to the University of Texas, Dallas, to pursue her doctorate in public policy and political economy.  During her doctoral studies, her research has focused on maternal and child health outcomes in the context of low and middle income countries and applying geospatial techniques to target health intervention.
Her research has been featured in local media and newspapers such as the Daily Sun and The Business Line newspaper. She was also featured twice on the UT Dallas News Center for her publication in the field of occupational health and on the use of spatial approach towards improving health policy in developing countries.

While a novice researcher in the field of tobacco, Priyanka is excited to be a part of CTCRE.  During her fellowship she is eagerly looking forward to applying her training to better understand the geography of tobacco sales, consumption, and heterogeneity in policy implementation and outcomes.

Julie Wang, PhD

Postdoctoral Scholar

Julie Wang received a PhD from the Joint Doctoral Program in Public Health at UC San Diego and San Diego State University with a focus in Health Behavior and an MPH in Global Health at the George Washington University in Washington, DC. Her research interests include behavioral interventions in smoking cessation, physical activity, and dietary behavior; theory-based intervention strategies for health behavior change including self-regulatory techniques; objective measures of health behavior; and technology-based intervention modalities including mHealth and other digital health applications. 

As part of her dissertation work, she conducted a randomized controlled trial that examined the utility of a wearable sensor/device (Fitbit One) and SMS text-messaging prompts to promote physical activity in overweight and obese adults.

At CTCRE (and in partnership with the Division of Cardiology), she is conducting a randomized controlled trial to test the effects of a cigarette reduction intervention using novel technology for smoking cessation among smokers enrolled in the Health eHeart Study (https://www.health-eheartstudy.org/). Her research goals include investigating novel technologies with the potential for widespread public appeal and optimizing the efficacy/effectiveness of these technologies to promote health behavior change at the population level. 

Shannon Watkins, PhD

Postdoc Scholar

Shannon Lea Watkins received a PhD in Public Affairs from the School of Public and Environmental Affairs at Indiana University (2015) and a BPhil in Political Science and History from the University of Pittsburgh (2009). Her dissertation focused on urban forests as a linked human-environment system and examined the environmental, social, and distributional effect of urban non-profit tree-planting programs. Shannon previously held a postdoctoral fellowship with SF BUILD at San Francisco State University, Department of Geography and Environment where she studied health inequities and social determinants of health.