Investigators

Senior Research Scientist

Marielle C. Brinkman is the Battelle TCORS Program Manager and has over 24 years of experience designing, coordinating, and managing large- and small-scale human exposure field and laboratory studies. As a Senior Research Scientist at Battelle, she has developed novel real-time techniques to measure and compare smoker’s exposures to different tobacco products based on particle size measurement, collection, and chemical speciation and smoking topography, including potential reduced exposure, smokeless tobacco, little cigar, electronic cigarette, and waterpipe products. Brinkman has served as a co-investigator and project manager on several National Institutes of Health (NIH) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) funded human exposure assessment studies to characterize trace-level VOCs, semivolatile organic compounds (SVOCs), and particle size distribution in mainstream and sidestream tobacco smoke and human exhaled breath. She obtained her B.S in Chemistry from the University of Illinois, is the author and the co-author of more than 30 journal articles and reports, and has delivered numerous lectures on human exposure topics.


Principal Research Scientist

Dr. Buehler holds a Ph.D. in Environmental Chemistry, with more than 10 years of experience in areas of analytical and environmental chemistry, as well as human exposure assessment. She has been involved in evaluating, validating, and applying various methods for monitoring human exposure to toxic semi-volatile organic pollutants including polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), tobacco-specific nitrosamines (TSNAs), nicotine, cotinine, pesticides, and PCBs. Dr. Buehler has been involved in different human exposure and related studies evaluating semi-volatile organic compounds (SVOCs) and related compounds in a variety of sample matrices, including indoor and outdoor air, hand wipes, house dust, food preparation surface wipes, food, and beverages, and has been involved in methods development activities involving the unique matrices used in human exposure monitoring. This has included participating in and leading the coordination of field studies to determine young children’s exposure to pesticides and other persistent pollutants. She also led efforts on two National Children’s Study (NCS) formative research projects to determine levels of pesticides and phthalates in breast milk. She has worked extensively with evaluating PAHs, pesticides, and PCBs in ambient air, analyzing the samples from various sites under strict QA/QC guidelines. She has also performed extensive data analysis on these data results, including evaluating up to ten years of concentration data for spatial and temporal trends at multiple sites using time series analysis and other statistical techniques to better define the variability associated with the data and to help understand the behavior of these pollutants in the atmosphere. Dr. Buehler has also applied her environmental and analytical chemistry experience to the field of tobacco chemistry. She served as a principal investigator (PI) on a CDC study to explore the adsorption of nicotine to hair from second hand smoke (SHS), with the purpose of examining the influences of external exposures of human hair to SHS on internal, systemic deposition. Dr. Buehler currently serves as the PI on an NIH grant evaluating the measurement and uptake of carcinogens by smokers of menthol vs. non-menthol cigarettes using cigarettes that are equivalent except for menthol content. She is also co-investigator on three NIH grants, leading the analytical methods evaluation of SVOCs and TSNAs in smokeless tobacco products and user saliva as well as different tobacco-smoke related matrices from various tobacco products, including little cigars and electronic cigarettes.


Research Professor

Pamela Clark serves as Director for the University of Maryland/Battelle TCORS, leads the Administrative Core and serves as the Principal Investigator on the project to examine consumer acceptability of new and manipulated tobacco products through traditional subjective measurements and objective measurements of neurocognitive function (Research Project 2). Dr. Clark is a Research Professor at the University of Maryland, School of Public Health. She has over 20 years of research experience in tobacco control, which includes numerous NCI, NIDA and CDC grants. She has experience managing complex studies with a broad range of methods and transdisciplinary teams, across multiple organizations. Her research focus is on alternative tobacco/nicotine products, and her emphasis is on projects that inform public health policy.

Dr. Clark received her Ph.D. in Epidemiology from University of South Florida. She is co-author of 3 book and author or co-author of more than 100 journal articles, conference presentations, book chapters, reports, and abstracts.


Research Assistant Professor

Raul Cruz-Cano is statistician for the Data and Statistical Core of TCORS. He provides statistical analysis expertise for TCORS research projects. Dr. Cruz-Cano is Research Assistant Professor in the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics at the University Of Maryland School Of Public Health. He earned a B.S. in Computer Engineering from University of Chihuahua, an M.S in Statistics from University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP) and a Ph.D. in Computer Engineering from University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP). After obtaining his Ph.D., he was hired as a Post-Doctoral Researcher for the Bioinformatics Program of UTEP. He later became an Assistant Professor of Computer Science at Texas A&M University-Texarkana from 2007 to 2009 before beginning his employment at the University of Maryland.


Research Leader

Sydney Gordon serves as co-Director for the University of Maryland/Battelle TCORS and leads the Product Characterization and Manipulation Core (Core B), designed to identify, quantify, and/or manipulate the characteristics of selected tobacco products. Dr. Gordon is a Research Leader at Battelle, Columbus, and has over 45 years of professional experience in physical science research and project management. He has conducted many studies for the U.S. Government and has considerable experience developing, refining, evaluating, and applying methods, procedures, and approaches for conducting and managing large human exposure research projects. In the field of tobacco exposure, Dr. Gordon has directed several programs and played a major role in the technical effort to develop and apply innovative methods to characterize trace-levels of smoke-related volatile organic compounds in mainstream tobacco smoke and human exhaled breath for exposure assessment purposes.

Dr. Gordon received his D.Sc. in Physical Chemistry from the University of Pretoria, South Africa. He is co-author of one book and author or co-author of more than 130 journal articles, conference presentations, book chapters, reports, and abstracts.


Research Leader

Courtney Granville is a board-certified toxicologist with a focus on environmental toxicology and public health. As a study director at Battelle since 2010 she has worked on improving the knowledge base around the toxicity of high volume chemicals such as industrial solvents, plasticizers and flame retardants, neutraceutical agents, vector-modified stem cells with application for gene therapy, and tobacco products including conventional cigarettes, smokeless tobacco, and electronic nicotine delivery systems. Dr. Granville is the Primary investigator the TCORS project examining exposures to HPHCs in a variety of new and manipulated tobacco products and assessing human use behaviors and exposures (Research Project 1).

Prior to joining Battelle, Dr. Granville trained at the National Cancer Institute in Bethesda, MD where she spent five years focused on mechanisms of tobacco-related lung carcinogenesis and the chemoprevention of lung cancer. She has a strong background in signal transduction, mouse models of lung cancer, chemoprevention and the pre-clinical development of molecularly targeted therapeutics. She has authored several research articles in peer-reviewed journals including several reviews and a section of the Surgeon General’s report on smoking and health. Dr. Granville earned a B.S. in Biology from Yale College, an M.S. in Public Health (Environmental Health Science) from the University of North Carolina, and a Ph.D. in Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics from George Washington University.


Principal Research Scientist

Theodore Klupinski, a Principal Research Scientist at Battelle, is a chemist with 19 years of experience in analytical chemistry, environmental chemistry, and organic chemistry. Dr. Klupinski has led or contributed to several Battelle studies on identifying distinguishing compounds or signature analytical data from complex samples, including non-combusted tobacco and chemically treated soils. His other research at Battelle has included environmental fate testing and method development for the detection of target compounds from environmental samples. In his Ph.D. dissertation, he characterized the chemical reactivity of the nitroaromatic pesticides trifluralin and pentachloronitrobenzene in wetland sediments. Dr. Klupinski has extensive experience in the application of liquid chromatography (LC) and gas chromatography (GC) for either quantitative or qualitative analysis. He also has expertise in using mass spectrometry, NMR spectroscopy, and infrared spectroscopy for determining the structures of organic compounds.


Assistant Professor

Craig McDonald’s research is focused on the neural bases of feature-based attention and perceptual decision-making. He also is studying the effects of nicotine exposure on neurocognitive functioning, with a particular focus on how executive control is affected in those who smoke. He is also interested in developing a biomarker for liability to nicotine addiction and tobacco product acceptability. Dr. McDonald’s research takes advantage of electroencephalography (EEG), and more recently, fMRI, to characterize the neural underpinnings of executive function and visual cognition.


Principal Research Scientist

For more than 30 years Dr. Mikheev worked in aerosol science studying various aspects of aerosol formation, characterization, and delivery. This includes aerosol generation of the complex chemical mixtures (organic and inorganic compounds, liquid and dust particles, vapors, mainstream and sidestream tobacco smoke), inhalation exposure leadership on various types of studies (aerosol, vapor, tobacco smoke and nano-particles) funded by NIH and internal Battelle programs as well as serving as a PI or key researcher on academic and DOE funded studies. Majority of in-vivo studies were conducted under GLP and FDA regulations.

At his current position Dr. Mikheev is responsible for development of advanced methods of tobacco smoke characterization including aerosol-vapor mixtures produced by electronic nicotine delivery devices. As the additional critically important skills and expertise that Dr. Mikheev brings to Battelle are fundamental knowledge and vast experience in computer modeling and experimental design of the aerosol generation (new particle formation) and characterization for the systems based on heating followed by quick cooling principle (same that is used for electronic cigarettes).

Prior to joining Battelle in December 2005, Dr. Mikheev spent 4 years with InnovaTek Inc. developing and testing methods of bio-aerosol sampling and characterization, 3 years with Pacific Northwest National Laboratory as a faculty appointment working on experimental modeling of atmospheric nucleation, and 18 years with Institute for Inorganic Chemistry working on different aspects of aerosol generation.

Dr. Mikheev earned an MS in Physics (Chemical Physics) from Novosibirsk State University in 1980 and Ph.D. in Physics (Physical Chemistry) from Institute of Inorganic Chemistry in 1994.


Assistant Professor

Dr. Emmanuel F. Mongodin is currently an Assistant Professor the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at the University of Maryland School of Medicine (SOM) and the Institute for Genome Sciences (IGS). Dr. Mongodin received his Ph.D from the University of Reims-Champagne Ardenne in France in 2000, where he studied the interactions between Staphyloccus aureus and the human respiratory epithelium. He then completed a postdoctoral training in the laboratory of Dr. Gordon Archer (VCU, Richmond, VA) carrying out research focused on the mechanisms of acquisition of antibiotic resistance in Staphylococcus aureus and epidermidis, using both comparative genomics and transcriptomics (expression profiling using microarrays) approaches. In 2002, Dr. Mongodin joined The Institute for Genome Research (TIGR; Rockville, MD) as a Staff Scientist and later the J. Craig Venter Institute, where he participated in and led numerous genome-sequencing projects such as Borrelia sp., Campylobacter sp., Listeria monocytogenes, Staphylococcus aureus and Staphylococcus epidermidis, and developed a strong expertise in genomics, comparative genomics as well as metagenomics.

Dr. Mongodin's primary research interests focus on the application of microbial genomics, comparative genomics and metagenomic approaches to the study of host-bacteria interactions and the microbial populations colonizing the human body. His current research projects include 1) the role of the human microbiome associated with S. aureus colonization of the anterior nares, and more specifically the effects of decolonization regimens ; 2) the study of the oral microbiome and its role in oral diseases such as periodontal and endodontic disease ; 3) the role of the bacterial communities associated with cigarettes, smokeless tobacco products, new and emerging nicotine delivery products, and their effect on the oral microbiome of tobacco users.


Associate Professor

Amy R. Sapkota is currently an Associate Professor in the Maryland Institute for Applied Environmental Health at the University of Maryland, School of Public Health. She also holds a joint appointment in the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics. Dr. Sapkota received a PhD in Environmental Health Sciences from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, and an MPH in Environmental Health Sciences from the Yale School of Public Health. She completed post-doctoral fellowships at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and the Environmental Microbial Genomics Group within Le Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique in Lyon, France. Dr. Sapkota's research interests lie in the areas of environmental microbiology, environmental microbial genomics, exposure assessment and environmental epidemiology. Her projects focus on evaluating the complex relationships between environmental exposures and human infectious diseases. Current projects include: 1) exploring the microbiota of cigarettes, smokeless tobacco products, new and emerging nicotine delivery products and environmental tobacco smoke, as well as the oral microbiome of tobacco users and non-users by utilizing next generation sequencing technologies; 2) evaluating the prevalence of bacterial pathogens, as well as total bacterial diversity, in reclaimed wastewater used for spray irrigation by using next generation sequencing technologies and culture-based approaches; and 3) evaluating socioeconomic and environmental disparities in the risk of Campylobacter, Salmonella, Shigella and E. coli infections in the U.S.


Associate Research Scientist

Dr. Selengut is leading the web interface, data coordination, and database design and management efforts of the UMd TCORS. He gained his experience in Bioinformatics and databases through his work at the J. Craig Venter Institute (JCVI, formerly TIGR, The Institute for Genomic Research). While there he helped develop the TIGRFAMs library of protein HMMs and the Genome Properties project, the PPP and SIMBAL phylogenetic profiling methods, and was involved in numerous genome sequencing and annotation projects. Dr. Selengut is currently an Associate Research Scientist at the Center for Bioinformatics and Computational Biology (CBCB) within the University of Maryland's Institute for Advanced Computer Studies (UMIACS).