Photo of Jessica Barrington-Trimis

Jessica Barrington-Trimis, Ph.D

Director and Assistant Professor of Preventive Medicine
Soto Street Building 312G

Dr. Barrington-Trimis is an epidemiologist and Assistant Professor of Preventive Medicine at the University of Southern California, and faculty member in the USC Health, Emotion, and Addiction Laboratory, the USC Institute for Addiction Science, the USC Institute for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention Research, and the USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center. After receiving her BA in Philosophy and English (creative writing) from Bucknell University (2007), Dr. Barrington-Trimis joined Teach for America, earning an MA in Education (2009), while teaching high school chemistry in Los Angeles. Dr. Barrington-Trimis left her teaching position to earn an MS in Global Medicine (2010), and her PhD in Epidemiology (2014). From 2014-2016, Dr. Barrington-Trimis completed a postdoctoral fellowship in the FDA and NIH-supported USC Tobacco Center of Regulatory Science (TCORS), and in January 2017 accepted a faculty position at USC.

Dr. Barrington-Trimis' research focuses on investigation of the rapidly changing tobacco, alternative tobacco, and cannabis landscape. Her work aims to identify intra-individual psychological, behavioral, and social processes associated with nicotine and cannabis product use in adolescence and early adulthood, and to elucidate the behavioral consequences (e.g., transition to more harmful patterns of substance use) and physiological consequences (e.g., adverse respiratory health effects of e-cigarette use) of varying patterns of cannabis and nicotine product use in adolescence.

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Junhan Cho, Ph.D

Assistant Professor of Research
Soto Street Building 302-2

Dr. Junhan Cho is Director of Methodology and Statistics for USC HEAL in the Keck School of Medicine at the University of Southern California (USC). He received his B.S. in the department of Housing and Interior Design and M.A. in the Department of Child and Family Studies at Yonsei Univerity in South Korea. Before joining USC Health, Emotion, & Addiction Laboratory (USC HEAL), he completed a doctoral program in the department of Human Development and Family Science at the University of Georgia (UGA) and worked at the UGA Center for Family Research (CFR). During the doctoral program, he engaged in data management of longitudinal research projects and conducted several studies focusing on psychosocial mechanisms of youth risk behaviors. In his dissertation, he examined multiple genetic moderation processes linking community disadvantage to youth risk behavior through protective parenting practices. As a postdoctoral scholar at CFR, he also investigated family- and community-level social determinants of engagement in the Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting program. In 2016, Dr. Cho joined the USC HEAL, and his current research interests include longitudinal developmental patterns of adolescent substance use associated with psychological disorders.

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Rob McConnell, M.D.

Professor of Preventive Medicine
Soto Street Building 230D

Dr. Rob McConnell is a physician and environmental epidemiologist, and Professor of Preventive Medicine. He directs the NIH/Environmental Protection Agency-supported Southern California Children's Environmental Health Center. He has studied the effects of air pollution on children's health, including the development of asthma and lung function deficits, and early markers for cardiovascular disease. Dr. McConnell has investigated susceptibility to the effects of environmental exposures conferred by psychosocial stress and social factors, exercise, genetics and co-exposures associated with housing conditions. He has interest, in addition, in the development of methods for estimating the burden of disease associated with near-roadway air pollution and for assessing exposure in environmental epidemiology. Currently funded research is focused on environmental determinants of autism and of obesity and its metabolic consequences in children; on respiratory hazards of e-cigarette use; and on the determinants of tobacco product use as a project director in the USC Tobacco Center for Regulatory Science. He co-directs the NIEHS T32 training program in environmental genomics and the Career Development Program of the NIEHS-supported Southern California Environmental Health Sciences Center. Prior to coming to USC, he directed a World Health Organization regional environmental health center for Latin America and the Caribbean. Dr. McConnell is a member of EPA's Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee (CASAC) Particulate Matter Panel. He is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

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Adam Leventhal, Ph.D.

Professor of Preventive Medicine and Psychology
Soto Street Building 302C

Adam Leventhal, Ph.D., Professor of Preventive Medicine and Psychology at the University of Southern California Keck School of Medicine and USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center, is an addiction psychologist and public health scientist. He is the Founding Director of the USC Health, Emotion, & Addiction Laboratory (USC-HEAL;, a group of five faculty investigators and 20 staff and trainees who study the causes, consequences, treatment, and prevention of addiction and mental illness across the lifespan. Having been awarded more than $32M in grant funding from the NIH and other agencies, USC-HEAL's current areas of focus are: (1) adolescent and young adult use of tobacco, cannabis, and opioids; (2) the co-occurrence of addiction and mental illness; (3) the development of new medications to promote smoking cessation; (4) science to inform public policies for regulating tobacco and other consumer products; and (5) cancer and cardiovascular disease prevention. Dr. Leventhal has authored over 200 peer-reviewed scientific articles, including publications in JAMA, New England Journal of Medicine, and other journals. His work has been covered by the Associated Press, NBC Nightly News, New York Times, and other media outlets. Dr. Leventhal is active in policy arenas, having served on expert panels on the health effects of e-cigarettes and tobacco products for the National Academy of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine and the US Surgeon General. He is an elected fellow of the American Academy of Health Behavior and American Psychological Association and recipient of awards for early and mid-career contributions to science and mentoring. His personal interests include running, playing guitar, watching football, and spending time with friends and family.

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Jennifer Unger, Ph.D.

Professor of Preventive Medicine
Soto Street Building 302P

Dr. Unger is a Professor of Preventive Medicine. Her research interests include psychological, social, and cultural influences on health-risk and health-protective behaviors in diverse populations.

Photo of Nancy Boley Cruz

Nancy Boley Cruz, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Clinical Preventive Medicine
Soto Street Building 312C

Tess Boley Cruz, PhD, MPH, CHES, is a clinical assistant professor in preventive medicine at the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California. For the past 12 years, she has been involved in research projects and teaching at the master's and undergraduate levels in health education, communications and health disparities. She serves as the co-principal investigator of the Tobacco Education and Material Lab (TEAM Lab), providing special expertise on materials development and evaluation. She served as the first director of the new Master of Public Health Program (MPH) at USC and currently serves as director of the Health Communications Track in the MPH program. Dr. Cruz provides the core MPH course on health promotion theory, and a course on public health communications with an emphasis on tailoring strategies and materials to help priority populations. In her undergraduate teaching, her courses have included a focus on race and gender issues in public health and on adolescent health. Her research focuses on health communications, disparities, and tobacco control, with projects on countering tobacco marketing, and reducing menthol smoking among African-Americans. Dr. Cruz earned her MPH from California State University and her PhD from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst

Photo of Lorraine Kelley-Quon

Lorraine Kelley-Quon, M.D., MSHS

Assistant Professor of Surgery and Preventive Medicine
Children's Hospital Los Angeles

Dr. Lorraine Kelley-Quon is an Assistant Professor of Surgery and Preventive Medicine at Children's Hospital Los Angeles (CHLA) and the University of Southern California. She obtained her B.S. in Biochemistry and Cell Biology at the University of California, San Diego and completed her M.D. and General Surgery training at the University of California, Los Angeles followed by a fellowship in Pediatric Surgery at Nationwide Children's Hospital at The Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio. During residency, she completed the Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholars Program and obtained a Master's in Health Services Research from the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health.

Dr. Kelley-Quon's research interests include identifying and eliminating health care disparities for children, optimizing pediatric surgical health care delivery and translating health services research into health policy. In partnership with HEAL, she is developing a pilot project to explore postoperative opioid use in adolescents and identify predictors of use, abuse, diversion, and conversion to chronic use. Her goal is to create physician decision support tools to optimize opioid prescribing for children and to inform policy makers of prudent initiatives regarding pediatric opioid legislation.

Photo of Kiros Berhane

Kiros Berhane, Ph.D.

Professor of Preventive Medicine
Soto Street Building 202C

Dr. Berhane is a Professor in the Division of Biostatistics, and Director of Graduate Programs in Biostatistics and Epidemiology. He obtained his B.Sc. from Addis Ababa University (Ethiopia), majoring in statistics, M.Sc. degree in statistics at University of Guelph (Canada), Ph.D. degree in biostatistics at University of Toronto (Canada), and a postdoctoral fellowship at Johns Hopkins University (Baltimore, MD). His main research interests are in the development of statistical methods for environmental research, and their application to examination of health effects of air pollution, occupational exposures and climate change. His research is funded via grants from the NIH, US-EPA, HEI and the Canadian IDRC. He is an elected fellow of the American Statistical Association. He is a member of the US-EPA Science Advisory Board, Health Effects Institute Review Committee, and the Biostatistical Methods and Research Design [BMRD] Study Section of the NIH.


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Jessica Braymiller, Ph.D

Postdoctoral Scholar
Soto Street Building

Dr. Jessica Braymiller is a Postdoctoral Scholar with USC Health, Emotion, and Addiction Laboratory (HEAL) and the Department of Preventive Medicine at the University of Southern California. Before joining HEAL, she received her B.A. in Psychology from Mercyhurst University (2014) and her MS and PhD in Biobehavioral Health from Penn State University (2016, 2019). Dr. Braymiller's research focuses identifying and explaining population-level patterns of nicotine and cannabis product use during adolescence and early adulthood, with a specific focus on the use of novel delivery systems and alternative tobacco products (e.g., vaping). She is interested in understanding transitions in patterns of nicotine and cannabis use as individuals age, as well as differences in patterns of use across historical time. Dr. Braymiller is also interested in the integration of advanced statistical methodology (e.g., Latent Class Analysis, Latent Transition Analysis, Time-Varying Effect Modeling) with the study of substance use behaviors over time. The ultimate goal of her work is to inform regulatory policy for tobacco and cannabis products.

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Evan Krueger, Ph.D

Postdoctoral Scholar
Soto Street Building

Dr. Evan Krueger is a Postdoctoral Scholar with the Health, Emotion, & Addiction Laboratory (HEAL) at the USC Keck School of Medicine. Broadly, his research addresses the social and interpersonal determinants of minority health, with a focus on understanding disparities in social stress, mental health, and addiction among sexual and gender minority populations. He is especially interested in understanding how social environments predispose some populations to use substances more heavily than others, and in factors contributing to resilience. Ultimately, the goal of Dr. Krueger's research is to inform policies and interventions that improve health equity. Prior to joining HEAL, Dr. Krueger completed his PhD in Community Health Sciences at the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health (2019). His dissertation focused on identifying differences in mental health status, substance use, and resilience across diverse sexual orientation groups and on understanding the social mechanisms underlying those group differences. Dr. Krueger also holds an MPH from the USC Keck School of Medicine (2011) and an MSW from the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs (2019), where he completed clinical training with adults experiencing mental health and substance use disorders at the Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health, and with older adults at the Greater Los Angeles VA.

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Mariel Bello, M.A.

Doctoral Student in Clinical Science
(323) 442-2598
Clinical Sciences Center 270

Mariel Bello is a doctoral student in the USC Clinical Science program and a current National Science Foundation predoctoral fellow. She received her B.S. in Psychology cum laude at the University of California, Riverside in June 2013. During her undergraduate career, she became the Founder and former President of a nationally-recognized student organization called Healing Highlanders at UCR, which was dedicated to providing students in recovery from addictive behaviors and disorders with emotional support and a wide range of campus and community services. Before starting graduate school, she worked as a Project Specialist at USC-HEAL for 3 years, where she led the Southern California Tobacco Addiction Phenotype Project (SC-TAPP).

Her research interests include investigating the etiology and underlying mechanisms of substance use disorders among underserved populations and the development of novel, culturally-tailored evidence-based treatment programs to effectively treat substance use and psychiatric disorders in disadvantaged, minority groups. She is also particularly interested in examining prescription drug abuse, cultural factors, as well as racial/ethnic, socioeconomic, mental health, and gender-related health disparities implicated in the progression across the substance use trajectory (i.e., initiation, escalation/progression, maintenance, and cessation/relapse). She is currently being funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) Graduate Research Fellowship. Aside from research, she enjoys reading, sketching, arts & crafts, hiking, and spending time with her friends and family.

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Samantha Cwalina

Doctoral Student
Teaching Assistant
Clinical Science Annex 220

Sam graduated from the University of Pittsburgh in 2014 with a B.S. in Psychology, where she conducted high-impact research on nicotine reduction paradigms in rodent and human subjects. Currently in her third year at USC, she works with fellow tobacco regulatory scientists to inform tobacco-related policy decisions that will reduce the number of preventable deaths, diseases, and addictions attributable to tobacco use in the United States.

Photo of Esthelle  Ewusi Boisvert

Esthelle Ewusi Boisvert

Doctoral Student in Clinical Sciences
Soto Street Building

Esthelle Ewusi Boisvert is a doctoral student in Clinical Science in USC's Department of Psychology. She received her B.A. in Psychology (Honours) from Concordia University in Montreal, Canada, in May 2016, as well as her Certificate in Substance Abuse Counselling from the University of Montreal in December 2016. Broadly, Esthelle is interested in the etiology and treatment of addiction, especially when comorbid with other psychiatric disorders. She is also interested in examining the factors that contribute to the initiation and maintenance of substance use. Outside of doing science, Esthelle likes to go for runs, cook good meals in the least amount of time possible, explore microbreweries, and attend free concerts!

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Afton Kechter, M.S.

National Cancer Institute Predoctoral Fellow
Soto Street Building

Afton Kechter is a doctoral student in Health Behavior Research in the Department of Preventive Medicine of the Keck School of Medicine. She received her B.S. in Dietetics and Psychology from Bradley University with honors in May 2013. She received her M.S. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from Syracuse University with honors in May 2015. Afton's research interests focus on (1) examining mechanisms of maladaptive behaviors, (2) examining mechanisms of efficacious interventions, and (3) translating and disseminating in real-world settings. She is currently funded by the National Cancer Institute T32 pre-doctoral training fellowship. In her free time, Afton enjoys outdoor adventures with her dog, eating with family and friends, and practicing yoga.

Photo of Annemarie Kelleghan

Annemarie Kelleghan, M.A.

Doctoral Student in Clinical Sciences

Annemarie Kelleghan is a dual degree student at USC working on her doctorate in the Clinical Science program and her MPH in biostatistics and epidemiology. She received her B.A. degrees in Psychology and in Human Biology & Society at the University of California, Los Angeles. Prior to starting grad school, Annemarie worked as a research associate at the UCLA Integrated Substance Abuse Program where she helped develop an intervention for parents of substance abusing adolescents. She also assisted in conducting research and implementation projects on the use of a smartphone apps as a treatment tool for young adult methamphetamine users. Her current research focuses on understanding the psychosocial functioning of adolescents and emerging adults. Additionally, she is interested in understanding how social factors and psychosocial stress impact psychopathology and health behaviors including substance use.

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Chris Rogers

Doctoral Student
Teaching Assistant

Chris is a first year PhD student in the Health Behavior Research program. He earned his MPH in Applied Epidemiology from California State University, Northridge. He is currently working with Dr. Jenifer Unger, seeking to inform policy decisions related to tobacco and marijuana use, with current projects assessing the effects of adverse childhood experiences, financial strain, and discrimination. Because of his background as an Emergency Medical Technician, Chris also works with data related to prehospital care policy and emergency preparedness and is working to identify knowledge gaps related to children with special health care needs.

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Kelsey Simpson, M.A.

Doctoral Student
Soto Street Building

Kelsey Simpson is a 2nd year doctoral student in the Health Behavior Research Ph.D. program at the Keck School of Medicine of USC. Prior to entering her Ph.D. program, Kelsey received an MA in Clinical Psychology from California State University, Northridge (Spring 2016). There, she worked as Lab Coordinator of a neuropsychology lab that focused on the neuropsychological, cognitive, and psychosocial consequences of HIV infection. Prior to her enrollment at USC, Kelsey worked as an Interventionist on a community-based RCT testing the efficacy of a behavioral intervention on reducing injection initiation risk behaviors among people who inject drugs. Kelsey's primary research interests are grounded in investigating the underlying mechanisms of addictions in diverse and marginalized populations. Additionally, she is interested in program evaluation and intervention development to address health-related disparities and prevention from further risk behaviors in substance using populations.

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Daniel Soto

Project Manager
SSB 302L

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Lauren Whitted, M.A., CCRP

Project Manager
Clinical Science Center 271

Lauren graduated from Duke University with a BS in Psychology with a Neuroscience concentration and a BA in Biology. As an undergraduate, she gained pivotal experience in psychology research working with participants diagnosed with borderline personality disorder with comorbid opiate addiction. While completing her MA in Psychology at Pepperdine University, Lauren realized that she wanted to pursue a career in psychology research. Prior to joining the USC HEAL, she coordinated numerous research projects, grant-funded programs, and industry-sponsored studies at Children's Hospital Los Angeles, the University of California Los Angeles, and Duke University. In her role as the Project Manager for the USC HEAL, Lauren is responsible for supervising operations for various USC HEAL research projects. When she's not at HEAL, you can find Lauren enjoying coffee on the weekends, baking, reading, and spending time with her friends and her dog. her dog.

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Monica Pattarroyo

Project Specialist- Administrative
SSB 310-05

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Jennifer Zelaya

Project Specialist- Administrative
SSB 318-10

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Carmen Josephine Harr

Project Assistant
Clinical Science Annex 220

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Sara Schiff, B.S.

Project Assistant
CSC 271

Sara Schiff graduated with a B.S. in Psychology and a minor in Mathematics at Tufts University in June 2018. As an undergraduate, Sara researched how young children understand the causes and effects of emotion with Dr. Paul Muentener. Sara joined the HEAL team in June of 2018, and currently manages projects investigating youth and young adult substance use and experiences. She plans on pursuing a doctoral degree in Clinical Psychology for the fall of 2020, where she hopes to research factors and mechanisms related to mental health in prison systems. Within that domain, she is particularly interested in (1) how prison conditions exacerbate existing mental health conditions and (2) the dearth of mental health programs within the prison system. In her free time, she enjoys attending theater, discovering new podcasts, and scouring LA for the best food.

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Feifei Liu

Statistician I
Clinical Science Annex 220

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Javier Diaz

Programmer Analyst II

Photo of Gregory Wilkerson

Gregory Wilkerson

Programmer Analyst II
SSB 312N

Photo of Nausheen Wakhlu

Nausheen Wakhlu

Undergraduate Research Assistant
Clinical Science Center 270

Nausheen is currently a junior at the University of Southern California studying Psychology and Spanish. She hopes to attend medical school and pursue child psychiatry in the future. She is involved in USC's Interhealth Council, Kicks for Kids, and the Red Cross Club. For fun she enjoys running, reading, and exploring LA.

Photo of Francesca Keogh-Clark

Francesca Keogh-Clark

Student Worker
Clinical Science Center 270

Francesca Keogh is an undergraduate studying Health Promotion and Disease Prevention and pursuing a minor in Nonprofits, Philanthropy, and Volunteerism with the Keck School of Medicine. Her plan is to eventually attend medical school with a potential specialty in pediatric oncology. Francesca is also a member of Keck Student Ambassadors, and is the president of USC Global Medical Brigades, which plans trips to developing countries to encourage the development of health care systems and the prioritization of health. Francesca enjoys scuba diving, and playing field hockey on the club team at USC.