Research Summary

I study the health effects of air pollution in human subjects. I focus on the chemistry and toxicity of smoke and on how exposure to cigarette smoke can cause heart and lung disease. My analysis of tobacco industry research showed that sidestream cigarette smoke (the primary constituent of secondhand cigarette smoke) is more toxic than the smoke that smokers inhale and that secondhand smoke becomes more toxic as it ages.

I have published three controlled human exposure studies on the health effects of secondhand cigarette smoke which show that:
1. A single 30-minute exposure to fresh sidestream cigarette smoke, at 350 micrograms of particles per cubic meter, decreases flow-mediated dilation of the brachial artery and increases plasma VEGF and endothelial progenitor cell motility. (These changes can increase the risk of heart attack.)
2. For each increase in SHS exposure by 100 μg/m3 particles, the absolute maximal percent brachial artery flow-mediated dilation was reduced by 0.67%. (Even a little smoke can increase the risk of heart disease.)
3. A single 30-minute exposure to aged cigarette smoke, at 1000 μg/m3 particles, increases nasal congestion in healthy human subjects. (Nasal congestion can lead to sinus infections.)

My research on the chemistry and toxicity of cigarette smoke has helped define a new health risk from smoking: thirdhand cigarette smoke. Thirdhand smoke is the tiny droplets of oils and waxes (tar) that stick to surfaces, like walls, furniture, clothing and hair. Thirdhand smoke cannot be removed by ventilation. Many of the toxins and carcinogens in smoke linger for days, months and years after the cigarettes are gone. My laboratory is funded by the California Tobacco-Related Disease Research Program to study how humans absorb thirdhand smoke from the environment.

I am also studying the effects of cannabis use on air quality in public places and the chemistry and toxicity of cannabis product emissions like dab aerosol.

I am member of the California Thirdhand Smoke Consortium, the UCSF Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center and the UCSF Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education. My goals are to understand how smoke causes heart attacks and respiratory disease and to educate society on the true impact that air pollution has on human health.

Research Funding

  • August 1, 2015 - July 31, 2017 - Acute Cardiopulmonary Effects of Controlled Exposure to Wood Smoke, Principal Investigator. Sponsor: NIH/NIEHS, Sponsor Award ID: R21ES024878
  • August 1, 2015 - July 31, 2017 - Acute Cardiopulmonary Effects of Controlled Exposure to Wood Smoke, Principal Investigator. Sponsor: NIH/NIEHS, Sponsor Award ID: R21ES024878
  • August 1, 2015 - July 31, 2017 - Acute Cardiopulmonary Effects of Controlled Exposure to Wood Smoke, Principal Investigator. Sponsor: NIH/NIEHS, Sponsor Award ID: R21ES024878
  • August 1, 2015 - July 31, 2018 - Acute Cardiopulmonary Effects of Controlled Exposure to Wood Smoke, Principal Investigator. Sponsor: NIH, Sponsor Award ID: R21ES024878


University of Washington    B.S.    1986-1989    Cell and Molecular Biology
University of California, San Francisco    Ph.D.    1991-2001    Biomedical Science
University of California, San Francisco    Postdoc    2002-2006    Public Health
University of California, San Francisco    Postdoc    Feb 2006-Sept 2007    Inhalation Toxicology

Honors & Awards

  • 1991
    National Science Foundation Predoctoral Fellowship

Selected Publications

  1. Snijders AM, Zhou M, Whitehead TP, Fitch B, Pandey P, Hechmer A, Huang A, Schick SF, de Smith AJ, Olshen AB, Metayer C, Mao JH, Wiemels JL, Kogan SC In utero and early-life exposure to thirdhand smoke causes profound changes to the immune system.  View on PubMed
  2. Pozuelos GL, Jacob P, Schick SF, Omaiye EE, Talbot P Adhesion and Removal of Thirdhand Smoke from Indoor Fabrics: A Method for Rapid Assessment and Identification of Chemical Repositories.  View on PubMed
  3. Sarker AH, Trego KS, Zhang W, Jacob P, Snijders AM, Mao JH, Schick SF, Cooper PK, Hang B Thirdhand smoke exposure causes replication stress and impaired transcription in human lung cells.  View on PubMed
  4. Whitlatch A, Schick S Thirdhand Smoke at Philip Morris.  View on PubMed
  5. Xu EG, Richardot WH, Li S, Buruaem L, Wei HH, Dodder NG, Schick SF, Novotny T, Schlenk D, Gersberg RM, Hoh E Assessing Toxicity and in Vitro Bioactivity of Smoked Cigarette Leachate Using Cell-Based Assays and Chemical Analysis.  View on PubMed
  6. Jaques, PA, Zalay, M, Huang, A, Jee, K, Schick, SF. Proceedings of the 15th Conference of the International Society of Indoor Air Quality & Climate, Philadelphia, PA, USA July 22 to 27, 2018  View on PubMed
  7. Pozuelos GL, Kagda MS, Schick S, Girke T, Volz DC, Talbot P Experimental Acute Exposure to Thirdhand Smoke and Changes in the Human Nasal Epithelial Transcriptome: A Randomized Clinical Trial.  View on PubMed
  8. Lee WH, Ong SG, Zhou Y, Tian L, Bae HR, Baker N, Whitlatch A, Mohammadi L, Guo H, Nadeau KC, Springer ML, Schick SF, Bhatnagar A, Wu JC Modeling Cardiovascular Risks of E-Cigarettes With Human-Induced Pluripotent Stem Cell-Derived Endothelial Cells.  View on PubMed
  9. Conklin DJ, Schick S, Blaha MJ, Carll A, DeFilippis A, Ganz P, Hall ME, Hamburg N, O'Toole T, Reynolds L, Srivastava S, Bhatnagar A Cardiovascular injury induced by tobacco products: assessment of risk factors and biomarkers of harm. A Tobacco Centers of Regulatory Science compilation.  View on PubMed
  10. Gotts JE, Chun L, Abbott J, Fang X, Takasaka N, Nishimura SL, Springer ML, Schick SF, Calfee CS, Matthay MA Cigarette smoke exposure worsens acute lung injury in antibiotic-treated bacterial pneumonia in mice.  View on PubMed
  11. Hang B, Wang Y, Huang Y, Wang P, Langley SA, Bi L, Sarker AH, Schick SF, Havel C, Jacob P, Benowitz N, Destaillats H, Tang X, Xia Y, Jen KY, Gundel LA, Mao JH, Snijders AM Short-term early exposure to thirdhand cigarette smoke increases lung cancer incidence in mice.  View on PubMed
  12. Schick SF, Blount BC, Jacob P, Saliba NA, Bernert JT, El Hellani A, Jatlow P, Pappas RS, Wang L, Foulds J, Ghosh A, Hecht SS, Gomez JC, Martin JR, Mesaros C, Srivastava S, St Helen G, Tarran R, Lorkiewicz PK, Blair IA, Kimmel HL, Doerschuk CM, Benowitz NL, Bhatnagar A Biomarkers of exposure to new and emerging tobacco delivery products.  View on PubMed
  13. Hang B, Snijders AM, Huang Y, Schick SF, Wang P, Xia Y, Havel C, Jacob P, Benowitz N, Destaillats H, Gundel LA, Mao JH Early exposure to thirdhand cigarette smoke affects body mass and the development of immunity in mice.  View on PubMed
  14. Jacob P, Benowitz NL, Destaillats H, Gundel L, Hang B, Martins-Green M, Matt GE, Quintana PJ, Samet JM, Schick SF, Talbot P, Aquilina NJ, Hovell MF, Mao JH, Whitehead TP Thirdhand Smoke: New Evidence, Challenges, and Future Directions.  View on PubMed
  15. Wang X, Derakhshandeh R, Liu J, Narayan S, Nabavizadeh P, Le S, Danforth OM, Pinnamaneni K, Rodriguez HJ, Luu E, Sievers RE, Schick SF, Glantz SA, Springer ML One Minute of Marijuana Secondhand Smoke Exposure Substantially Impairs Vascular Endothelial Function.  View on PubMed
  16. Bahl V, Johnson K, Phandthong R, Zahedi A, Schick SF, Talbot P From the Cover: Thirdhand Cigarette Smoke Causes Stress-Induced Mitochondrial Hyperfusion and Alters the Transcriptional Profile of Stem Cells.  View on PubMed
  17. Xu B, Chen M, Yao M, Ji X, Mao Z, Tang W, Qiao S, Schick SF, Mao JH, Hang B, Xia Y Corrigendum: Metabolomics reveals metabolic changes in male reproductive cells exposed to thirdhand smoke.  View on PubMed
  18. Liu J, Wang X, Narayan S, Glantz SA, Schick SF, Springer ML Impairment of Endothelial Function by Little Cigar Secondhand Smoke.  View on PubMed
  19. Bahl V, Weng NJ, Schick SF, Sleiman M, Whitehead J, Ibarra A, Talbot P Cytotoxicity of Thirdhand Smoke and Identification of Acrolein as a Volatile Thirdhand Smoke Chemical That Inhibits Cell Proliferation.  View on PubMed
  20. Bahl V, Shim HJ, Jacob P, Dias K, Schick SF, Talbot P Thirdhand smoke: Chemical dynamics, cytotoxicity, and genotoxicity in outdoor and indoor environments.  View on PubMed

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