The Center faculty come from all four UCSF schools and conduct research and teaching in every aspect of tobacco control, from efforts by the tobacco industry to manipulate international politics to the molecular biology of nicotine addiction.


Priyanka Vyas, PhD

Postdoc Scholar
Cardiovascular Research Inst

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.

Richard Wang, MPH

research associate

Yingning Wang, PhD

Assistant Professor
Institute for Health & Aging

Dr. Wang is a health economist with research interest in economic analysis of tobacco use behaviors and economic evaluation of tobacco control policies.

Shannon Watkins, PhD

Postdoc Scholar
Institute for Health & Aging

Shannon Lea Watkins is a scholar of public affairs whose work aims to illuminate social and structural barriers that individuals face in achieving their full health potential to inform efforts to promote health equity. Her current work investigates patterns of tobacco initiation, product change, and cessation among youth and young adults, with a particular focus on the role of additive flavors in tobacco initiation, use, and tobacco-related health disparities.

Justin White, PhD

Assistant Professor
Institute for Health Policy Studies

Justin White, Ph.D., is Assistant Professor of Health Economics in the UCSF School of Medicine, with joint appointments in the Philip R. Lee Institute for Health Policy Studies and the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics. He is also an affiliate of the Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education, the Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center, and the Institute for Global Health Sciences at UCSF.

Prescott Woodruff, MD, MPH


Research program includes clinical and basic science approaches to study the effects of cigarette smoke on lung inflammation. He is also the Principal Investigator on the NIH-funded Spiromics Project and a Co-investigator on the COPD Clinical Research Network. Dr. Woodruff received his B.A, from Wesleyan University in 1989, received his M.D. degree from the Columbia College of Physicians and Surgeons in 1993, and completed Internal Medicine residency training at the Massachusetts General Hospital.

Amit Yadav, PhD

Postdoctoral Scholar
Cardiovascular Research Inst

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.

Tingting Yao, PhD

Assistant Professor
Institute for Health & Aging

Dr. Yao's research focuses on the economic impact of tobacco products and marijuana. Her current studies include estimating the impact of price on the demand for cigarettes and e-cigarettes and for cigarettes and marijuana. Her previous research include estimating the impact of price on the demand for cigarettes and the economic costs of secondhand smoke (SHS) exposure in U.S. and China. She also analyzed cigarette purchasing behaviors among smokers in China.

Valerie Yerger, MA, ND

Associate Professor
Social Behavioral Sciences

Valerie B. Yerger, ND is a licensed naturopathic doctor and Associate Professor in Health Policy at the University of California, San Francisco. She is a former Health Disparities Scholar of the National Institutes of Health. The overarching goal of Dr. Yerger’s work is to frame the disproportionate burden of tobacco among marginalized communities as a social injustice and to inform public health policies so they effectively reach and engage these communities.