THS Faculty

Neal L. Benowitz, MD

Professor of Medicine and Bioengineering & Therapeutic Sciences
Chief, Division of Clinical Pharmacology
Principal Investigator, California Consortium on the Health Effects of Thirdhand Smoke
University of California, San Francisco

Dr. Benowitz’s research focuses understanding constituents of and mechanisms by which tobacco that contribute to human disease, including measurement and interpretation of biomarkers in relation to health effects of second and thirdhand tobacco smoke exposure.


Laura A. Gundel, Ph.D.

Staff Scientist, Indoor Environment Group
Energy Technologies Area, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
Scientific Coordinator and Co-PI, California Consortium on the Health Effects of Thirdhand Smoke

Dr. Gundel works with Dr. Benowitz to lead and facilitate strong coordination, collaboration and productivity throughout the multi-disciplinary Consortium. Her research at Berkeley Lab focuses on the physical chemistry that drives the dynamic behavior of toxicants indoors, particularly secondhand and thirdhand smoke. She also develops new instrumentation and methods for monitoring and characterizing complex mixtures of air pollutants. Long before the Consortium began she spearheaded the groundbreaking measurements of surface-bound nicotine that laid the foundation for investigating how SHS ages into THS and reacts with indoor pollutants.


Hugo Destaillats, Ph.D.

Staff Scientist and Deputy Group Leader
Indoor Environment Group
Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

Dr. Destaillats’ research area is the chemistry of the built environment. The aim of his research is to understand sources, fate and transport of indoor pollutants. Dr. Destaillats is developing and characterizing air cleaning and other novel indoor pollution remediation technologies. He is leading Consortium efforts in the chemical characterization of thirdhand smoke.


Bo Hang, Ph.D.

Staff Scientist
Biological Systems & Engineering Division
Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

Dr. Hang's research interest is in understanding the biological effects of exposure to thirdhand smoke (THS) and related mechanisms using NexGen risk assessment approaches, including delineating THS genotoxic effects using in vitro assays, identifying novel biomarkers of THS exposure such as DNA adducts and gene expression alterations, and investigating THS impact on health in mouse models and human cohort studies.


Eunha Hoh, Ph.D., MSES

Associate Professor
Graduate School of Public Health
San Diego State University

Dr. Hoh’s research interests focus on the investigation of diverse environmental pollutants in the environment and their impact on human health. Her current research projects focus on ocean and human health and environmental exposure to tobacco smoke residue (thirdhand smoke) and tobacco product waste. Chemicals of interest are known toxic organic pollutants such as persistent organic pollutants (POPs) and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), tobacco smoke residues (thirdhand smoke components) and waste components, as well as potentially toxic brominated/chlorinated flame retardants, their degradation products, and other emerging contaminants. Dr. Hoh developed a non-targeted analytical approach for discovery of novel contaminants in the environments. She is working on further development of the non-targeted analytical approach and its application towards various types of samples for environment monitoring, food safety, and environmental exposure including exposure to thirdhand smoke and tobacco product waste. Most of her work involves the application of chromatography and mass spectrometry.


Melbourne F. Hovell, Ph.D.

Center for Behavioral Epidemiology and Community Health
Distinguished Professor

Graduate School of Public Health
Division of Health Promotion and Behavioral Science
San Diego State University

Dr. Hovell is a Behavioral Epidemiologist and Professor in the Graduate School of Public Health, with doctoral training in applied behavior analysis, child development and postdoctoral training in epidemiology. He serves as a faculty collaborator in SDSU/UCSD Doctoral programs, one in Clinical Psychology and the others in Health Behavior (Public Health), Epidemiology, and Global Health. He is the founding Director of the Center for Behavioral Epidemiology and Community Health (CBEACH) and has over 30 years of experience conducting epidemiological, clinical, and community trials with the common feature of determining the etiological factors of health behaviors, which has led to the emerging multi-level Behavioral Ecological Model (BEM). He has served as PI and Co-I for over 83 NIH and other federal, state, and foundation-funded intervention studies, the majority of which have been conducted with children, adolescents, women, minorities, and immigrants.  He is highly knowledgeable and experienced in tobacco control, measuring SHS, and in reducing children’s SHS exposure. He has also been awarded 17 Fellowship and Training grants through various awarding agencies to the benefit of over 43 recipients, including a T32 (NIGMS) pre-doctoral training grant designed to prepare behavioral scientists with biomedical expertise for multidisciplinary research. He has mentored over 40 graduate trainees and postdoctoral fellows, 18 international trainees from 15 Countries and 10 Sabbatical scholars from 7 countries; mentoring over 200 pre-doctoral and post-doctoral MPH students. Currently his studies focus on engineering social contingencies to sustain healthy lifestyle practices and use of real time measurement technology to inform real time interventions.



Peyton Jacob, III, Ph.D. 

Research Chemist
Departments of Psychiatry and Medicine

Division of Clinical Pharmacology
Laboratory Director, Tobacco Biomarkers Core
UCSF Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center
University of California, San Francisco

Dr. Jacob has carried out research on tobacco pharmacology and toxicology at UCSF for over 30 years. His has conducted seminal research on the metabolism of tobacco alkaloids and development of biomarkers of exposure to carcinogens and other toxic substances. He has expertise in the development of methods for quantitative analysis organic small molecules, in particular tobacco alkaloids and their metabolites, therapeutic drugs, and toxic substances. He has developed methods for the synthesis of analytical standards and stable isotope-labeled internal standards for mass spectrometric methods, and labeled compounds for human metabolic studies. He is the Director of the THS Exposure Assessment Analytical Chemistry Laboratory of the California Consortium on Thirdhand Smoke, where he and his laboratory team work with the investigators of the other subprojects to assist in the identification of THS components in samples from their studies, develop novel quantitative analytical methods for biomarkers and tracers to measure exposure to THS, and provide a resource to the other subproject investigators for quantitative analysis of biofluid samples from people and animals exposed to THS, and other samples from their studies, such as cell preparations and samples from other in vitro studies, house dust, samples from surfaces or from chamber studies, for the measurement of biomarkers and tracers of thirdhand smoke. 


Manuela Martins-Green, Ph.D.

Professor of Cell Biology
Laboratory of Wound Healing Biology

Department of Cell Biology and Neuroscience
University of California, Riverside

Using an animal model system that mimics exposure of humans to Third-Hand Smoke (THS), Dr. Martins-Green has shown that exposure to THS toxins causes numerous health problems in mice, including liver damage and alterations to lipid metabolism that lead to fatty liver disease.  Another consequence of THS exposure is high blood sugar and increase of insulin in the blood that, together, lead to the development of insulin resistance which is characteristic of type 2 diabetes.  She has also shown that THS exposure causes inflammation in the lungs and changes in proteins circulating in the blood that reflect a generalized inflammatory condition.  THS exposure also causes delayed healing of skin wounds, an observation that has implications for the healing of surgical wounds in smokers and those living in homes of smokers.  Finally, Dr. Martins-Green has shown that THS exposure causes changes in behavior such as increased anxiety and hyperactivity.


Georg E. Matt, Ph.D.

Professor and Chair
Department of Psychology

College of Sciences
San Diego State University

Dr. Matt’s research focuses on the protection of nonsmokers from exposure to tobacco smoke toxicants. He studies the complex and dynamic mixtures of tobacco smoke compounds in field settings and the human behavior associated with smoke exposure. Dr. Matt has led and worked in interdisciplinary and multi-institutional research teams to investigate tobacco smoke pollutants, exposure, and behavioral correlates of exposure in private homes, private cars, hotels, rental cars, and a casino. This work has contributed to the discovery of residual tobacco smoke pollutants (thirdhand smoke) left behind in virtually all indoor environments where tobacco has been smoked regularly and a better understanding of the multiple pathways through which nonsmokers may be exposed to these pollutants. The goal of this research is to identify new opportunities and to develop more effective strategies for protecting nonsmokers from the consequences of persistent tobacco smoke toxicants.


Penelope J.E. Quintana, Ph.D., MPH

Professor and Graduate Advisor for MPH/MS
Graduate School of Public Health

San Diego State University

 Dr. Quintana has a research focus on assessing and controlling environmental exposures to children and vulnerable populations at the US-Mexico border. She has demonstrated the presence of third-hand smoke toxicants in house dust and on surfaces in real world environments, including homes, cars and hotels. House dust and surfaces present a special exposure risk to young children, and she has studied second and thirdhand tobacco smoke exposures through dermal and urinary biomarkers in young children exposed to THS. Dr. Quintana is a Scientific Guidance Panel member for the California Environmental Contaminant Biomonitoring Program.


Jonathan M. Samet, M.D.

Distinguished Professor and Flora L. Thornton Chair
Department of Preventative Medicine

Keck School of Medicine
University of Southern California
Director, USC Institute for Glabal Health

Dr. Samet’s research has been focused on many aspects of tobacco control, including the adverse health effects of tobacco use, tobacco control policy, and the global tobacco epidemic.  His research on thirdhand smoke focuses on population risk and control measures.


Suzaynn F. Schick, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor
Division of Occupational and Environmental Medicine

University of California, San Francisco

Dr.  Schick is an environmental scientist who studies the health effects of air pollutants.  She published some of the first data showing that the respiratory toxicity of secondhand smoke is greater than that of the smoke that smoker inhale and that the chemical compounds in secondhand smoke can react to create new, potentially more carcinogenic compounds.  Dr. Schick has created a state-of-the-art secondhand and thirdhand smoke exposure system that reproduces the physical and chemical changes that occur after smoke is released into indoor environments.  Using this system, she has shown that the majority of the particulate material, nicotine, tobacco-specific nitrosamines and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in secondhand smoke deposit on indoor surfaces before they can be removed by ventilation.  Dr. Schick’s laboratory produces standardized thirdhand smoke samples for research in laboratories around the world.  She studies the cardiovascular and respiratory effects of exposure to secondhand cigarette smoke, thirdhand cigarette smoke and wood smoke in human subjects.


Prue Talbot, Ph.D.

Professor of Cell Biology
Director of the UCR Stem Cell Center and Core

Director of the Inland Empire Stem Cell Consortium
Department of Cell Biology and Neuroscience
University of California, Riverside

Dr. Talbot’s laboratory studies the effect of tobacco products/residues, including thirdhand smoke and electronic cigarettes, on human health. She uses human embryonic stem cells to determine how in utero exposure to nicotine and other chemicals in tobacco products/residues alter prenatal development. Dr. Talbot also uses a variety of in vitro assays, including live cell imaging coupled to video bioinformatics analysis, to screen chemicals in tobacco products/residues for cytotoxicity and genotoxicity. The overall goal of Dr. Talbot’s research is to contribute to a better understanding of how THS affects adult and neonatal health.


Heather Wipfli, Ph.D.

Associate Professor, Preventive Medicine and International Relations
Keck School of Medicine of USC
University of Southern California

Dr. Wipfli’s research area is in community outreach and policy translation. She has conducted research on exposure to tobacco smoke in public places and homes in over 30 countries. The aim of her research within the consortium is to design studies that will inform emerging policy discussions and provide insight into the appropriate regulatory paths to take given the emerging evidence on the potential harm of THS.