Research Summary

My cancer-related research focuses on the prevention of tobacco-related cancer. Tobacco is responsible for 35% of cancer deaths, and my work aims to understand the strategies used to promote tobacco uptake and continued use by the tobacco industry, and how to counter-engineer these strategies to improve tobacco control and cancer prevention programs and policies. I am recognized internationally as an expert in tobacco marketing strategies targeting specific audiences, particularly young adults and women, and the use of social culture in tobacco marketing and counter-marketing campaigns. I am the Principal Investigator of two major grants funded by the National Cancer Institute: a U01 project evaluating novel interventions to prevent tobacco use among young adults in bars and nightclubs, and an R01 study of smokeless tobacco and electronic cigarette marketing and counter-messaging. I am also the Co-investigator on the UCSF FDA Tobacco Center of Excellence on Regulatory Science (TCORS) with Dr. Stanton A Glantz and Dr. Neal Benowitz. I am also the Director of the Postdoctoral Fellowship Training Program at the Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education since 2005. I have supervised over 56 postdoctoral fellows as director (19 as primary or secondary mentor), 20 predoctoral students and 4 junior academic faculty. I have over a decade of experience as a mentor in a wide variety of disciplines including social and behavioral science, communication, anthropology, history, economics, clinical medicine, sociology, and health education, and I have been repeatedly nominated for teaching and mentoring awards.

Research Funding

  • July 1, 2016 - June 30, 2021 - Postdoctoral training in tobacco control, Principal Investigator. Sponsor: NIH/NCI, Sponsor Award ID: T32CA113710
  • September 1, 2009 - July 31, 2020 - Understanding Smokeless Tobacco and Electronic Cigarette Marketing, Principal Investigator. Sponsor: NIH/NCI, Sponsor Award ID: R01CA141661
  • August 27, 2012 - February 28, 2017 - Addressing disparities in chronic disease with a teen and young adult focus, Co-Investigator. Sponsor: NIH/NIMHD, Sponsor Award ID: P60MD006902
  • August 4, 2011 - July 31, 2016 - Countering Young Adult Tobacco Marketing in Bars, Principal Investigator. Sponsor: NIH/NCI, Sponsor Award ID: U01CA154240


Harvard & Radcliffe Colleges, A.B., 1990, History and Science
University of California San Francisco School of Medicine, M.D., 1996, Medicine
University of California Berkeley School of Public Health, M.P.H., 2000, Interdisciplinary Public Health
University of California San Francisco Center for AIDS Prevention Studies, Postdoctoral Research Fellowship, 1999-2002, media interventions, social marketing

Honors & Awards

  • 1986
    National Merit Scholar
  • 1987
    Detur Prize, Harvard University
  • 1986-1990
    John Harvard Scholarship, Elizabeth Cary Agassiz Scholar, Harvard University
  • 1990
    Phi Beta Kappa, Harvard and Radcliffe Colleges, Harvard University
  • 1991-1996
    Regent's Scholar, University of California San Francisco
  • 2004
    Stewart Trust Research Award, Univ of California San Francisco Comprehensive Cancer Center
  • 2005
    Most important and influential papers in Tobacco Control. Three papers voted by peers into the top ten in youth and tobacco advertising categories
  • 2005
    Outstanding Mentorship Award. Nominee. Postdoctoral Scholar's Association, University of California San Francisco
  • 2007
    Robert H. Crede Awards. Nominated both for excellence in Research and Clinical Care
  • 2008
    Robert H. Crede Awards. Nominated both for excellence in Research and Teaching
  • 2008
    Best Young Clinician-Investigator Award. Society for General Internal Medicine California/Hawaii Region
  • 2009
    Robert H. Crede Awards. Nominated both for excellence in Research and Clinical Care

Selected Publications

  1. Maddox R, Ling PM, Hardy BJ, Daube M Under the influence.  View on PubMed
  2. Watkins SL, Karliner-Li P, Lee YO, Koester KA, Ling PM A mixed-methods study to inform the clarity and accuracy of cannabis-use and cannabis-tobacco co-use survey measures.  View on PubMed
  3. Holmes LM, Thrul J, Warren NK, Ling PM Local variation in cannabis use patterns among young adults in the San Francisco Bay Area.  View on PubMed
  4. Hoek J, Gendall P, Eckert C, Louviere J, Ling P, Popova L Analysis of on-pack messages for e-liquids: a discrete choice study.  View on PubMed
  5. Halpern-Felsher B, Vallone D, Hair E, Ling P, Song AV, Bondy ML, Boykan R The Authors Respond.  View on PubMed
  6. Thrul J, Gubner NR, Nguyen N, Nguyen C, Goodell EA, Holmes LM, Vandrey RG, Ling PM Perceived reward from using cigarettes with alcohol or cannabis and concurrent use: A smartphone-based daily diary study.  View on PubMed
  7. Kim M, Watkins SL, Koester KA, Mock J, Kim HC, Olson S, Harvanko AM, Ling PM Unboxed: US Young Adult Tobacco Users' Responses to a New Heated Tobacco Product.  View on PubMed
  8. Nguyen N, Holmes LM, Kim M, Ling PM Using Peer Crowd Affiliation to Address Dual Use of Cigarettes and E-Cigarettes among San Francisco Bay Area Young Adults: A Cross Sectional Study.  View on PubMed
  9. Li Z, Benowitz-Fredericks C, Ling PM, Cohen JE, Thrul J Assessing young adults' ENDS use via Ecological Momentary Assessment and a Smart Bluetooth enabled ENDS device.  View on PubMed
  10. Vogel EA, Guillory J, Ling PM Sponsorship Disclosures and Perceptions of E-cigarette Instagram Posts.  View on PubMed
  11. Watkins SL, Thrul J, Max W, Ling PM Real-World Effectiveness of Smoking Cessation Strategies for Young and Older Adults: Findings From a Nationally Representative Cohort.  View on PubMed
  12. Nguyen N, McQuoid J, Neilands TB, Dermody SS, Holmes LM, Ling PM, Thrul J Same-day use of cigarettes, alcohol, and cannabis among sexual minority and heterosexual young adult smokers.  View on PubMed
  13. Pasetes SV, Ling PM, Apollonio DE Cognitive performance effects of nicotine and industry affiliation: a systematic review.  View on PubMed
  14. Watkins SL, Thrul J, Max W, Ling PM Cold Turkey and Hot Vapes? A National Study of Young Adult Cigarette Cessation Strategies.  View on PubMed
  15. Lewis MJ, Ackerman C, Ling P 'Being politically active does not have to be difficult.' A content analysis of tobacco industry-sponsored advocacy websites.  View on PubMed
  16. Vyas P, Ling P, Gordon B, Callewaert J, Dang A, Smith D, Chan B, Glantz S Compliance with San Francisco's flavoured tobacco sales prohibition.  View on PubMed
  17. Holmes LM, Llamas JD, Smith D, Ling PM Drifting Tobacco Smoke Exposure among Young Adults in Multiunit Housing.  View on PubMed
  18. Toledo G, McQuoid J, Ling PM "It's Not Too Aggressive": Key Features of Social Branding Anti-Tobacco Interventions for High-Risk Young Adults.  View on PubMed
  19. Ling PM, Lisha NE, Neilands TB, Jordan JW Join the Commune: A Controlled Study of Social Branding Influencers to Decrease Smoking Among Young Adult Hipsters.  View on PubMed
  20. Kim M, Olson S, Jordan JW, Ling PM Peer crowd-based targeting in E-cigarette advertisements: a qualitative study to inform counter-marketing.  View on PubMed

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