Our Fellows

Vuong Do, PhD

Postdoctoral Scholar

Vuong Do, PhD, received his doctorate in Public Health (Epidemiology) from the School of Public Health, Georgia State University. During his four years at Georgia State, he received the Second Century Initiative fellowship and worked as a graduate research assistant for faculty members of the tobacco control group. He was involved in multiple studies related to tobacco control, such as examining the effect of e-cigarette marketing exposure among American youth, factors associated with concurrent use behaviors of cigarettes and e-cigarettes, and the development of smoking cessation programs. His dissertation examined racial/ethnic disparities in tobacco use, marketing exposure, and the indirect effects of advertising exposure on subsequent use among youth. As a postdoctoral fellow at the CTCRE, Dr. Do will examine tobacco and cannabis co-use patterns among young adults, risk perceptions, and contextual factors to inform cessation programs. In addition, he is interested in studying tobacco and cannabis use and health disparities among racial/ethnic minority groups.

Dian Gu, PhD

Postdoctoral Scholar

Dian Gu, PhD, received her doctorate in Health Economics/Health Services Research from the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston. Along with her PhD study, she was a PhD trainee in MD Anderson Cancer Center. In that role, she gained experience in applying health economics to cancer research, collaborating on manuscripts with clinicians on multiple projects concerned with cancer patients’ healthcare utilization, expenditures, and health outcomes.

After finishing her PhD, she joined the Institute for Health & Aging at the University of California, San Francisco in 2019. In the work here, she mainly performs data analyses and collaborates on manuscripts with professors on a wide range of tobacco economics research projects. For example, she analyzed the National Health Interview Survey (NHIS), Medical Expenditure Panel Survey data (MEPS) and California Health Interview Survey (CHIS) to evaluate the economic impact of a $2-per-pack cigarette tax increase due to Proposition 56 on smoking behaviors, healthcare costs, and the financial burden on low-income people in California.

As a postdoctoral fellow, Dr. Gu is interested in integrating both cancer and tobacco research. Her current research areas of interest include 1) estimating economic costs attributable to tobacco use of cancer and other tobacco-related illnesses; 2) examining the role of tobacco use in cancer prevention and development; 3) evaluating the economic impact of different tobacco control policies on the financial burden on vulnerable populations.

Deanna Halliday, PhD

Postdoctoral Scholar

Deanna M. Halliday, PhD, received her doctorate in Psychological Sciences (Health Psychology) from the University of California, Merced under the mentorship of UCSF alumna Dr. Anna Song. Prior to joining the CTCRE, she was awarded a TRDRP pre-doctoral fellowship for her dissertation work on tobacco and cannabis co-use. Her work examines the multi-level factors that contribute to tobacco and cannabis use spanning from internal psychological factors to social and community-level factors. Dr. Halliday hopes to further explore the phenomena of co-use in under-resourced, rural, or otherwise vulnerable communities.

Eileen Han, PhD

Postdoctoral Scholar

Eileen Han, PhD, received her doctorate in Communication from the Annenberg School for Communication, University of Pennsylvania. During and after her PhD studies, she mainly conducted qualitative research about social media, with a focus on collective memory and social activism. She published a book about social media and collective memory in China, which was an expansion of her dissertation research. Since then, she has been expanding her research to look at social media in many other contexts, including health and medicine, in which she is primarily interested in the use and understanding of expertise and authority in the digital age. Her current research mainly focuses on the public discourses on social media about health issues, including how Twitter users talk about doctors and the medical community during the COVID-19 pandemic. This year, she has also received a MS degree in Information from the University of Michigan, where she had trainings in programming, data analysis, natural language processing and machine learning. 

Dr. Han is very excited to join the fellowship program at CTCRE, where she would like to combine her qualitative and computational skills to explore promising topics in the tobacco regulatory field. She will focus on how the public discussions on major social media platforms about new tobacco products and personal experiences could inform policymaking and regulation. She is also interested in looking at different types of authorities and expertise in this process. She would also like to study various forms of texts related to tobacco marketing and control. 

Mark Hawes, PhD, MSSW

Postdoctoral Scholar

Mark Hawes, MSW, PhD, received his doctorate in Social Work from Washington University in St. Louis, Brown School of Social Work where he was funded by the NIMH as a T32 Pre-Doctoral Fellow. During his time at the Brown School, he was affiliated with the Center for Mental Health Services Research, worked on projects aiming to reduce health inequities among people with serious mental illness, and co-taught a gradate course on behavioral health policy and services. Mark’s recent work focused on understanding how tobacco smoking and substance use impacted outcomes in a healthy lifestyle intervention among people living in supportive housing. He wants to continue working to eliminate health inequities among people experiencing homelessness and those living in supportive housing by integrating health care services and increasing access and quality of tobacco and substance use treatment services. Mark’s research interests stem from his experience working as a hospital social worker on inpatient medical and psychiatric units, as well as in the emergency department. Mark holds Bachelor and Master of Social Work degrees and is a licensed clinical social worker.

Sabrina Islam, PhD, MS

Postdoctoral Scholar

Sabrina Islam, PhD received her doctorate in Public Health (Social and Behavioral Sciences) with a Graduate Certificate in Gender, Sexualities, and Women’s Studies from the University of Florida. Prior to joining the CTCRE in August 2022, she completed a training fellowship in prevention science and alcohol research at the University of California, Berkeley. Dr. Islam is interested in qualitative and mixed-methods approaches to studying differential patterns of risk associated with substance use and structural levels of stigma among sexual and gender minority populations. Her most recent published work pivots towards young people who co-use tobacco, cannabis, and alcohol.

Dan Kabella, PhD

Postdoctoral Scholar

Danielle Kabella, PhD received a doctorate in Human and Social Dimension of Science and Technology at Arizona State University's School for the Future of Innovation. Their doctoral research offers an ethnographic study that makes visible alternative strategies Chicanx communities use to articulate place-based drug recovery futures in New Mexico. They have co-developed and implemented ways of connecting their scholarship to broader and diverse audiences. Their work was featured on The Dirt Podcast and has been recognized by the ASU Social Justice Spotlight Award. During their time at ASU, they co-taught courses on Substance Abuse and Addictive Behaviors, Decolonized Collaborative Online International Learning (DCOIL), and Sociology. They were a DEI Inclusive Teaching Fellow where they helped to adapt DCOIL tools for graduate Global Technology and Development courses. 

As a member of the STS Borderlands Laboratory, Dr. Kabella has carried out experimental multimedia archival and digital ethnography to investigate border technologies in the Mexican Borderlands. At the Mind Research Network, Kabella worked on an interdisciplinary project that developed a framework to understand neurodevelopmental and social effects of substance use and pregnancy. 

As a Opioid Industry Documents Archive (OIDA) postdoctoral fellow, Kabella plans to conduct research that enables scrutiny and analysis of the manifestation of place and race in the wider context of corporate and regulatory practice. Taking seriously the methodological approach of archiving as a human right, they will explore community-led knowledge production strategies in leveraging OIDA.  Dr. Kabella is an advocate for fellow survivors and families directly impacted by punitive drug policies and is deeply committed to reducing harm and achieving racial and health equity.

Peter Kovacs, PhD

Postdoctoral Scholar

Peter Kovacs, PhD, received his doctorate in Radio-Television-Film from the University of Texas at Austin. His research interest is the intersection between the history of audio-visual mass media and marketing communication. Dr. Kovacs' first book, Big Tobacco and American Broadcasting, 1923-1971, is slated for publication by UT Press. At UCSF, he intends to study the contemporary promotional practices of the US tobacco oligopoly home and abroad, focusing on the industry's effort to adapt its time-tested communication strategies to a radically new media environment. Beyond his fellowship, Dr. Kovacs intends to remain in academia to teach students about the economic, cultural and ethical dilemmas of commodity promotion.

Karla Llanes, PhD

Postdoctoral Scholar

Karla Llanes, PhD, received her doctorate in Health Psychology at the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP). During her PhD training, she worked for A Smoke Free Paso del Norte, a west Texas, southern New Mexico, and Juarez, Mexico regional initiative targeting tobacco control in adolescents and adults. She has also taught several Statistics courses and Motivation and Emotion courses at the University of Texas at El Paso. Her research interests are in judgment and decision-making processes in the context of health-related decisions (e.g., vaccination decisions, driving under the influence of alcohol, marijuana use, and novel tobacco use). Her goal is to identify judgment biases that distort risk communications and risk perceptions and, eventually, impact individuals' decisions to engage in health-threatening and health-promoting behaviors. She currently studies individual’s motivation for initiating and continuing drug use.

As a postdoctoral fellow, Dr. Llanes plans on continuing her research investigating predictors of drug use, drug use initiation, and cessation. She is particularly interested in investigating risk factors associated with tobacco use, novel tobacco use, and co-use (e.g., e-cigarette and alcohol use). Specifically, she would like to identify why individuals make harmful health decisions. By understanding what leads to harmful real-life decisions, then she can help develop interventions that may help people change for the better.

Divine Darlington Logo, PhD

Postdoctoral Scholar

Divine Logo, PhD, received his doctorate in Public Health from the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST). For his dissertation, he developed and evaluated a teacher-led intervention to prevent tobacco use among junior high school students in the Upper East Region of Ghana, a region identified as a priority for tobacco control efforts due to high prevalence rates. During his PhD studies, at the School of Public Health, he coordinated various studies for the school, including the Tobacco Control Capacity Program (TCCP), focusing on smoke-free policies and illicit tobacco trade.

 As a Health Research Officer at the Ministry of Health, Dr. Logo has acquired broad experience in tobacco control research, having led the Global Youth Tobacco Surveys (GYTS) among Junior High Schools in Ghana, and contributed to various projects.

Dr. Logo's recent work has focused on the WHO-FCTC Project 2030. This project led to the development and launched of a 5 year (2023-2028) a National Tobacco Control Strategy to accelerate tobacco control in Ghana; supported the passage and implementation of the Excise Amendment Act, 2023 (Act 1093) that introduced the mixed taxation system (specific and advalorem) on all tobacco and tobacco products and the implementation of the illicit tobacco protocol.

At the Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education (CTCRE), Dr. Logo's research interests include investigating tobacco industry marketing strategies targeting vulnerable youth in low-resource settings, and their impact on tobacco use and public health. Seeking to inform effective policies and interventions to protect young people's health. He also seeks training in tobacco cessation strategies and policies to integrate smoking cessation models into primary health services in Ghana. Additionally, he aims to enhance his skills in assessing data on the tobacco industry to better understand their interferences in developing countries.

Seyed Mehrdad Mohammadi, MD

Postdoctoral Scholar

Mehrdad Mohammadi, MD, MPH, MA in Law and Diplomacy received his credentials in medicine, public health, law and development economics from Tehran University, Tufts University and Harvard University. He has been an adjunct professor at the School of Public Health at Tehran University teaching Justice and Public Health Law. Working with the WHO, Dr. Mohammadi has advised the Ministry of Health on International Health Regulations and the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC). This includes projects on tobacco content and emission regulation (FCTC Articles 9 and 10), tobacco products plain packaging (FCTC Articles 11 and 13), NGO advocacy (FCTC Articles 4.7 and 12.e), smoke-free cities and campuses (Article 8), liability of the tobacco industry (FCTC Article 19), and participation in COP9 in 2021. He has founded the NGO titled An Iran Immune to Tobacco (IMAD).

Jelena Mustra Rakic, PhD

Postdoctoral Scholar

Jelena Mustra Rakic, PhD, received her PhD in Biochemical and Molecular Nutrition from Tufts University in Boston. Her dissertation was focused on elucidating the effect and mechanisms of the naturally occurring carotenoid, lycopene, on chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, lung carcinogenesis and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. The important finding from her PhD implicated smoking-related alterations in lipid metabolism as one of main pathways leading to chronic inflammation and lung diseases development. As a postdoctoral fellow at the Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education, Dr. Mustra Rakic is interested in exploring the effects of tobacco smoking and/or vaping on biochemical properties of lipids and lipoproteins that contribute to excessive inflammation, and the risk of chronic diseases, particularly cardiovascular disease and cancer.  

Vira Pravosud, PhD

Postdoctoral Scholar

Vira Pravosud, PhD, received her doctorate in Epidemiology and Biostatistics from the University of Kentucky. Having obtained an undergraduate degree in Social Work & Sociology and a Master’s degree in Healthcare Management and Administration from the National University of Kyiv-Mohyla Academy in Kyiv, Dr. Pravosud came to the U.S. in 2014 as a Fulbright Scholar from Ukraine pursuing more expertise in public health research. Her dissertation focused on examining whether the use of social-networking and dating online platforms can facilitate engagement in HIV-related risk behaviors among young adult men who have sex with men. During her doctoral program, Dr. Pravosud also had the opportunity to conduct studies assessing respiratory health outcomes, including chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, lung cancer, and nontuberculous mycobacterial lung infection.

As a postdoctoral fellow, Dr. Pravosud’s research agenda included assessment of health impacts of novel tobacco products (e-cigarettes and heated tobacco products). Additionally, she is interested in digital usage for prevention of novel tobacco products consumption, especially among youth and adolescents. She is currently appointed as an Assistant Research Specialist at the San Francisco VA Medical Center.

Allison Temourian, PhD

Postdoctoral Scholar

Allison A. Temourian, PhD, received her doctorate in Psychological Sciences (Health Psychology) from the University of California, Merced under the mentorship of Drs. Anna V. Song and Anna E. Epperson. Prior to joining the CTCRE, Allison worked extensively with the Nicotine and Cannabis Policy Center to examine 1) cognitions as they relate to addictive behavior and 2) antecedents to health risk behaviors with an emphasis in dual use of tobacco products and co-use of cannabis and tobacco. As a postdoctoral fellow at the CTCRE, Dr. Temourian aims to continue her dissertation work validating her novel scale assessing perceptions of nicotine addiction that align with the clinical dimensions of tobacco use disorder. In addition, she is interested in continuing to examine the longitudinal relationship between tobacco and cannabis using nationally representative data.