Current Projects

VASP (Vaping and Smoking Project): A controlled evaluation of abstinence-induced withdrawal and motivation to vape/smoke among daily ENDS users vs. cigarette smokers.

Withdrawal is considered a major feature of nicotine/tobacco addiction and a key challenge to quitting smoking and/or electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS). However, little is known about nicotine withdrawal in ENDS users or its role in driving product use. This project systematically and comprehensively characterizes withdrawal among daily vapers compared to daily smokers, filling gaps in our understanding of ENDS dependence/abuse liability and contributing to the development of therapies.

Funded by NIH R01DA054276, 2022-2027. For more info, visit the VASP Project page.

FRIENDS: Automatic detection of vaping rate and patterning in the lab and the natural environment using Flexible, Robust Instrumentation of Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems.

FRIENDSOur ability to accurately characterize and non-obtrusively track ENDS puff behavior is quite limited. To overcome this barrier, this research uses a novel Flexible Robust Instrumentation of ENDS (FRIENDS) monitor to assess puff behavior in the lab and natural environment. We aim to advance our understanding of ENDS use behavior, make available to the field a validated, inexpensive, and accurate method for future studies, and guide the development of improved self-report assessments.

Funded by NIH R01CA266170, 2022-2027. For more info, visit the FRIENDS project page.

EVarQuit: Extinguishing cigarette smoking via extended pre-quit varenicline. 

Cigarette smoking remains the leading cause of death in the US. We aim to improve cessation rates obtained with varenicline, the best cessation agent available, by a simple but theory-based manipulation: increasing the duration of pre-quit varenicline treatment from 1 to 4 weeks. Positive results of this randomized clinical trial can be readily applied to reduce the public health burden caused by smoking, and the mechanistic data collected in the study will refine theory and guide development of new therapies.

Funded by NIH R01CA206193, 2016-2022. For more info, visit the EvarQuit Project Page.

Current Collaborations

Development of strategies to reduce the impact of the relative age effect on kindergarteners with ADHD

Following treatment development activities, this study will randomly assign incoming kindergarteners with elevated ADHD symptoms and young for the grade to kindergarten as usual or a school-based intervention to attenuate the impact of being young for the grade with ADHD-related behaviors. This study holds substantial public health benefit as it will address an area of ADHD impairment that occurs during a key developmental transition. The present study will inform the approach used in future policy modifications and clinical trials. The Hawk lab is primarily responsible for the repeated assessment of hypothesized cognitive mediators of the intervention.

Funded by NIH R34MH122212, 2020-2024. PI: Gregory Fabiano.

Development of negative valence measures

The NIMH Research Domain Criteria (RDoC) represents a breakthrough framework for understanding the etiology of mental disorders, but it has no clinical traction at present. Of the RDoC units of analysis, self-report measures can be most feasibly implemented in a clinic, but many self-reports for RDoC’s Negative Valence Systems (NVS) constructs have psychometric shortcomings and lack normative data. We seek to develop psychometrically sound, brief, and validated self-report measures (questionnaires and interviews) of each NVS construct with strong normative data, contributing to advancements in psychiatric research, diagnosis, and intervention. The Hawk lab (together with the Nelson lab at Stony Brook) will collect ERP, startle, and behavioral data from 300 participants from the community and mental health settings to allow a neuropsychometric cross-validation of the self-report measures.

Funded by NIH R01MH122537, 2020-2025. PIs: Leonard Simms and Roman Kotov.