Our Fellows

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.

Arthur Durazo, PhD

Postdoctoral Scholar

Arthur (Arturo) Durazo is a health psychologist with an emphasis on behavioral medicine, eHealth/mHealth interventions, and health equity. His research focuses on psychosocial factors that promote protective behaviors among those with disproportionate burdens of illness associated with membership in low socioeconomic and ethnic minority groups. His research, guided by self-regulation theory, examines how illness and risk beliefs, particularly those relating to fatalistic control beliefs, influence emotional reactions such as illness worry and, in turn, promote protective health behaviors (e.g., cancer screening, healthcare seeking, quit smoking). These findings are used to guide the development of health interventions to promote adaptive health decision making.

As a postdoctoral fellow at the UCSF CTCRE, Arturo Durazo plans to involve vulnerable populations and clinical groups, particularly cancer patients/survivors, to examine the relationship between their views on cancer, affect in response to disease, and tobacco use and cessation. These findings are to inform health communication interventions promoting smoking cessation in cancer patients and survivors.

Abra Jeffers, PhD

Postdoctoral Scholar

Abra Jeffers, PhD, has a doctorate in Management Science & Engineering from Stanford University focusing on statistical health care methods and applications. Her dissertation was on machine learning and epidemiological methods in the study of personal risk factors of cancers of the breast and prostate. Her research can be used to guide personalized health care strategies based on risk stratification. Simultaneously with her doctoral research, she worked on evaluating the cost-effectiveness of different substance abuse therapies at the Veterans Administration.  During her CTCRE fellowship, Abra would like to statistically evaluate the health effects from the legalization of recreational cannabis. She would like to gain more experience with epidemiological methods and machine learning techniques for these purposes. 

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.

Shannon Kozlovich, PhD

Postdoctoral

Shannon Kozlovich, PhD, has a doctorate in Pharmaceutical Sciences from Washington State University where her research focused on the impact of genotype and menthol on tobacco toxicity and carcinogenic effects. The work with menthol opened her eyes to the impact scientific evidence has on public policy, or rather, the impact it should have. Shannon has always been a strong and active community organizer with the ability to bring people together to make a difference and to make our community a more welcoming and inclusive place.  As a CTCRE postdoctoral fellow Shannon is interested in continuing her research with projects that may include tobacco dual use with marijuana and/or the use of tobacco during hormone replacement therapy within gender minority populations. She would like to gain training in pharmacokinetics and further explore tissue specific expression and activity of enzymes important in tobacco addiction, activation, and detoxification pathways, especially in those tissues that come in direct contact with main-stream, second-hand, and third-hand smoke.

Joanne Lyu, PhD

Postdoctoral Scholar

Joanne Lyu, PhD, received her PhD in Communication from The Chinese University of Hong Kong. Prior to joining CTCRE, she was an Assistant Professor at Macau University of Science and Technology, and most recently at The Hang Seng University of Hong Kong. During her doctoral study, Joanne won a Top Student Paper award in the Public Relations (PR) Division at the 2012 annual conference of International Communication Association (ICA). In 2017, as a principal investigator, she was awarded a Hong Kong government research grant. Joanne is excited to be a member of CTCRE. She is very much looking forward to studying the PR and marketing strategies used by the tobacco industry, and exploring the social, relational, and individual factors influencing smoking behavior and smoking cessation. Joanne is also eager to branch out into other research areas in tobacco education and control during her fellowship at CTCRE.

Julia Mcquoid, PhD

Postdoc Scholar

I am a health geographer interested in qualitative and mixed methods approaches to understanding relationships between people’s everyday environments and behaviors related to health and wellbeing. During my fellowship at the Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education at UCSF, I am researching 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. During my PhD I 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 Australia.  

Publications and other information at https://profiles.ucsf.edu/julia.mcquoid

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. 

Neiloy Sircar, JD, LLM

Postdoctoral Scholar

Neil Sircar, JD, LLM is a human rights lawyer specializing in global and public health, global governance, and health in humanitarian crises. He recently concluded a Fogarty Global Health Fellowship with the National Institutes for Health through the Northern Pacific Global Health Consortium at the University of Washington. He is principal investigator on a study for assessing the implementation of human rights-based approaches to HIV testing and notification in Kenya with the prominent Kenyan non-governmental organization Kenya Legal and Ethical Issues Network. His research focus is in further developing the legal dimensions to global health and in particular human rights-based approaches to health. With the UCSF Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education Neil intends to further explore rights-based approaches to international tobacco control with respect to laws, policies, practices, and litigation.

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.

Amit Yadav, PhD

Postdoctoral Scholar

Amit Yadav, PhD, received his Doctorate in Law with a focus on Public Health, Tobacco and International Trade and Investment Treaties from the National Law School of India University Bangalore, India. He has also completed MPhil and LLM from the National Law School of India University, Bangalore. Other Research and Leadership Trainings Completed by him include, Dissemination and Implementation Training for Waterpipe Research from the U.S. National Cancer Institute and American University of Beirut in Lebanon (2017), World Heart Federation Emerging Leaders Programme held in Bangalore (2016), Legal Training Programme from the McCabe Centre for Law and Cancer, Melbourne (2014, 2015 & 2018) and Global Tobacco Control Leadership Programme from the John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore (2011).