Laboratory Director

Paul Harrell, PhD

Assistant Professor

Community Health & Research, a division of EVMS Pediatrics

Williams Hall
855 W. Brambleton Ave.
Norfolk, VA 23501
Office: 757.446.6047

  • PhD, Behavior, Cognition, and Neuroscience (Psychology), American University
  • BS, Psychology, University of Maryland, College Park
  • Postdoctoral Fellowship, Drug Dependence Epidemiology, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health
  • Postdoctoral Fellowship, Behavioral Oncology, Moffitt Cancer Center


Substance use is driven by a variety of factors, from "cells to society." Dr. Harrell's laboratory investigates a wide spectrum of these factors, from human behavioral pharmacology to cognition, affect, and sociocultural influences. Current research focuses on tobacco use and how to address e-cigarette use ("vaping"). Projects include examination of beliefs ("expectancies") about vaping as well as real-time laboratory assessment of responses to smoking and vaping.

Effects of Nicotine Salt Aerosol on Cigarette Smokers (2019-2020)

Center for the Study of Tobacco Products (CSTP) Pilot Grants Program

PI: Paul Harrell, PhD

This grant compares the effects of cigarette smoking, protonated nicotine ("salt") aerosol, and unprotonated nicotine aerosol on nicotine delivery, nicotine craving and other outcomes in cigarette smokers.

A Social Ecological Approach to Alternative Tobacco Education (2018-2021)

Virginia Foundation for Healthy Youth

Role: Co-Investigator

PI: Kelli England, PhD

This grant uses a community-engaged research process to understand what information is currently being used in local community settings related to Electronic Nicotine Delivery System (ENDS) education for teens, to what degree that information is evidence-based, and if the information being used for education is engaging and effective with teens.

Smoking Cessation Self-Help for Dual Users of Tobacco Cigarettes and E-cigarettes (2015-2020)

National Institute on Drug Abuse - R01DA037961

Role: Co-Investigator April-July, 2015, changed to Consultant Role due to new institutional affiliation

PI: Thomas Brandon, PhD

This project develops and tests a self-help intervention to assist dual users to quit tobacco smoking and e-cigarette use. My role in this project is in questionnaire development and analyses of mechanisms of change.

Marijuana Use and Marijuana Possession Arrests: Have Changes in Marijuana Policy affected Disparities between Blacks and Whites? (2018-2020)

National Institute on Drug Abuse - NIDA R03DA046757

Role: Co-Investigator

PI: Andrew Plunk, PhD

This grant compares states that have implemented a marijuana policy to a "synthetic control": state constructed from outcomes and covariates from states without a policy to determine if legalization and decriminalization policies have led to reductions in adolescent arrests, if there are differences based on race or sex, and whether differences in marijuana use at the state level account for arrest disparities.

Assessing the Impact of Smoke-free Public Housing on Smoking Behavior, Environmental Tobacco Smoke, Third-hand Smoke, Other Tobacco Use, and Smoking Related Disparities (2016-2019)

Housing and Urban Development Healthy Homes Research Program

Role: Co-Investigator

PI: Andrew Plunk, PhD

This grant examines smoking behaviors and environmental outcomes among public housing communities before and after mandated smoke-free public housing.

Adolescent Beliefs about E-cigarettes: Measure Development to Understand and Reduce Youth Initiation (2016-2018)

Virginia Foundation for Healthy Youth

PI: Paul Harrell, PhD

This grant expands on the NIH R03 (see below) to adapt and test a measure of beliefs about the effects of using e-cigarettes ("e-cigarette expectancies") for adolescents.

Measure Development for Prediction of E-cigarette Initiation (2015-2018)

National Cancer Institute - NCI R03CA195124

PI: Paul Harrell, PhD

This grant received a perfect score (10) on its second submission and received a (delayed) funding offer from FDA/NCI from its first submission. This project uses qualitative and quantitative methods to develop an expectancy measure for e-cigarettes. This involves focus groups among young adults, qualitative analysis using a constant comparative framework, input from an expert panel using the Delphi method, survey administration, and data analysis using Confirmatory Factor Analysis and Item Response Theory.

  1. Harrell, P.T., Brandon, T.H., Will, K.E., Barnett, T.E., Brockenberry, L.O.*, Simmons, V.N., & Quinn, G.P. (in press). Vaping expectancies: A qualitative study among young adult non-users, smokers, vapers, and dual users. Substance Abuse: Research and Treatment.
  2. Plunk, A.D., Peglow, S.L., Harrell, P.T., & Grucza, R.A. (in press) Youth and adult cannabis possession arrests following cannabis decriminalization and legalization. JAMA Pediatrics.
  3. Martinez, U., Martinez-Loredo, V., Simmons, V.N, Meltzer, L.R., Drobes, D.J., Brandon, K.O., Palmer, A.M., Eissenberg, T., Bullen, C.R., Harrell, P.T., & Brandon, T.H. (in press). How does smoking and nicotine dependence change after onset of vaping? A retrospective analysis of dual users. Nicotine & Tobacco Research. PMID: 30883640.
  4. Juliano, L.M., Kardel, P.G., Harrell, P.T., Meunch, C., &. Edwards, K.C. (in press). Investigating the role of expectancy in caffeine withdrawal using the balanced placebo design. Human Psychopharmacology: Clinical and Experimental. PMID: 30861208.
  5. Soule, E., Plunk, A.D., Harrell, P.T., Hayes, R., & Edwards, K.C. (in press). Longitudinal analysis of associations between reasons for electronic cigarette use and change in smoking status among adults in the Population Assessment of Tobacco and Health Study. Nicotine & Tobacco Research. PMID: 30698815.
  6. Brandon, K. O., Simmons, V. N., Meltzer, L. R., Drobes, D. J., Martínez, Ú., Sutton, S.K., Palmer, A. M., Bullen, C. R., Harrell, P.T., & Brandon, T. H. (2019). Vaping Characteristics and Expectancies are Associated with Smoking Cessation Propensity among Dual Users. Addiction, 114 (5), 896-906. PMID: 30644627.
  7. Harrell, P.T., & Eissenberg, T.E. (2018). Automated dripping devices for vapers: RDTA’s, bottomfeeders, squonk mods, and dripboxes. Tobacco Control, 27 (4):480-482. PMID: 28735274. PMCID: PMC5826899.
  8. Fowler, C.D., Gipson, C.D., Kleykamp, A., Rupprecht, L.E., Harrell, P.T., Rees, V.W., Gould, T.J., Oliver, J., Bagdas, D., Damaj, M.I., Schmidt, H., Duncan, A., & De Biasi, M. (2018). Basic science and public policy: Informed regulation for nicotine and tobacco products. Nicotine & Tobacco Research, 20 (7), 789-799. PMID: 29065200. PMCID: PMC5991436.
  9. Harrell, P.T., Naqvi, S., Plunk, A.D., Ji, M., & Martins, S.S. (2017). Patterns of youth tobacco and polytobacco usage: The shift to alternative tobacco products. American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse, 43 (6), 694-702. PMID: 27668320. PMCID: PMC5440212.
  10. Meltzer, L. R., Simmons, V. N., Sutton, S. K., Drobes, D. J., Quinn, G. P., Meade, C. D., Unrod, M., Brandon, K. O., Harrell, P.T., Eissenberg, T., Bullen, C. R., & Brandon, T. H. (2017).  A randomized controlled trial of a smoking cessation self-help intervention for dual users of tobacco cigarettes and e-cigarettes: Intervention development and research design. Contemporary Clinical Trials, 60, 56-62. PMID: 28648969. PMCID: PMC5559662.
  11. Harrell, P.T., Lin, H., Park, J.Y., Blank, M., Drobes, D.J., & Evans, D.E. (2016). Dopaminergic genetic variation moderates effect of nicotine on cigarette reward. Psychopharmacology, 233 (2), 351-360. PMID: 26497691. PMCID: PMC5808950.
  12. Brandon, T.H., Simmons, V.N., Sutton, S.K., Unrod, M., Harrell, P.T., Meade, C.D., Craig, B.M., Lee, J., & Meltzer, L.R. (2016). Extended self-help for smoking cessation: A randomized clinical trial. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 51 (1), 54-62. PMID: 26868284. PMCID: PMC4914420.
  13. Piñeiro, B., Correa, J.B., Simmons, V.N., Harrell, P.T., Menzie, N.S., Meltzer, L., Unrod, M., & Brandon, T.H. (2016). Gender differences in use and expectancies of e-cigarettes: Online survey results. Addictive Behaviors, 52, 91-97. PMID: 26406973. PMCID: PMC4644488.
  14. Plunk, A.D., Agrawal, A., Harrell, P.T., Tate, W.F., Will, K.E., Mellor, J.M., & Grucza, R.A. (2016). The impact of adolescent exposure to medical marijuana laws on high school completion, college enrollment, and college degree completion. Drug and Alcohol Dependence, 168 (1), 320-327. PMID: 27742490. PMCID: PMC5123757.
  15. Scherer, M., Harrell, P.T., Canham, S., Trenz, R.C., & Latimer, W.W. (2016). An exploration of alcohol use severity and route of drug administration among persons that use heroin and cocaine. Substance Abuse, 37 (2): 343-348. PMID: 26566678.
  16. Simmons, V.N., Quinn, G.P., Harrell, P.T., Meltzer, L.R., Correa, J.B., Unrod, M., & Brandon, T.H. (2016). E-cigarette use in adults: A qualitative study of users’ perceptions and future use intentions. Addiction Research & Theory, 24 (4), 313-321. PMID: 27725794. PMCID: PMC5055066.
  17. Harrell, P.T., Simmons, V.N., Piñeiro, B., Correa, J.B., Menzie, N.S., Meltzer, L., Unrod, M., & Brandon, T.H. (2015). E-cigarettes and expectancies: Why do some users keep smoking? Addiction, 110 (11), 1833-1843. PMID: 26173651. PMCID: PMC4609252.
  18. Harrell, P.T., Marquinez, N.S., Correa, J.B., Meltzer, L.R., Unrod, M., Sutton, S.K., Simmons, V.N., & Brandon, T.H.  (2015). Expectancies for cigarettes, e-cigarettes, and nicotine replacement therapy among e-cigarette users ("vapers"). Nicotine & Tobacco Research, 17 (2), 193-200. PMID:25168035. PMCID: PMC4438353.
  19. Cantrell, J., Ganz, O., Ansetti-Rothermel, A., Harrell, P., Kreslake, J., Xiao, H., Peason, J., Vallone, D., & Kirchner, T. (2015). Cigarette price variation around high schools: Evidence from Washington, DC. Health and Place, 31, 193-198. PMID: 25560754.
  20. Knowlton, A.R., Nguyen, T.Q, Robinson, A.C., Harrell, P.T., & Mitchell, M.M. (2015). Pain symptoms predict opioid use among vulnerable persons with HIV: An exploratory study with implications for palliative care and opioid abuse prevention. Journal of Palliative Care, 31 (4), 228-233. PMID: 26856123. PMCID: PMC4778742.
  21. Peters, E.N., Harrell, P.T., Hendricks, P.S., O’Grady, K.E., Pickworth, W.B., & Vocci, F.J. (2015). Electronic cigarettes in adults in outpatient substance use treatment: Awareness, perceptions, use, and reasons for use. American Journal of Addictions, 24 (3), 233-239. PMID: 25809200.
  22. Scherer, M., Harrell, P., & E. Romano. (2015). Marijuana and other substance use among motor vehicle operators: A Latent Class Analysis. Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs, 76 (6), 916-923. PMID: 26562599. PMCID: PMC4712660.
  23. Harrell, P.T., Simmons, V.N., Correa, J.B., Padhya, T.A., & Brandon, T.H. (2014). Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems ("E-cigarettes"): Review of safety and smoking cessation efficacy. Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery, 151 (3), 381-393. PMID: 24898072. PMCID: PMC4376316.
  24. Harrell, P.T., Mancha, B., Martins, S.S., Mauro, P.M., Scherer, M., Kuo, J., Bolla, K.I., & Latimer, W.W. (2014). Cognitive performance profiles by latent classes of drug use. The American Journal on Addictions, 23 (5), 431-439. PMID: 24628774. PMCID: PMC2188732.
  25. Pacek, L.R., Harrell, P.T., & Martins, S.S. (2014). Cigarette smoking and drug use among a nationally representative sample of HIV-positive individuals. The American Journal on Addictions, 23, 582-590. PMID:25065609. PMCID: PMC4872701.
  26. Unrod, M., Simmons, V.N., Sutton, S.K., Meltzer, L.R., Harrell, P.T., Meade, C.D., Craig, B.M., Lee, J., & Brandon, T.H. (2014). A randomized clinical trial of self-help intervention for smoking cessation: Research methods and baseline results. Contemporary Clinical Trials, 38 (2), 284-290. PMID: 24865525. PMCID: PMC4104245.
  27. Brown, Q., Linton, S., Harrell, P.T., Mancha, B., Alexandre, P., & Eaton, W. (2014). The influence of religious attendance on smoking. Substance Use and Misuse, 49 (11), 1392-1399. PMID: 24827865. PMCID: PMC4144863.
  28. Keen, L., Khan, M., Clifford, L., Harrell, P.T., & Latimer, W.W. (2014). Injection and non-injection drug use and infectious disease in Baltimore city: Differences by race. Addictive Behaviors, 39 (9), 1325-1328. PMID: 24837755. PMCID: PMC4078397.
  29. Harrell, P.T., Trenz, R.C., Martins, S.S., & Latimer, W.W. (2013). A latent class approach to treatment readiness corresponds to a transtheoretical ("Stages of Change") model. Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment, 45(3): 249-256. PMID:23706606 PMCID: PMC3968940.
  30. Milam, A.J., Furr-Holden, C.D.M., Harrell, P., Ialongo, N., Leaf, P.J. (2013). Off-Premise alcohol outlets and substance use in young and emerging adults. Substance Use & Misuse, 49 (1-2), 22-29. PMID: 23909579.
  31. Trenz, R.C., Scherer, M., Duncan, A., Harrell, P.T., & Latimer, W.W. (2013). Latent class analysis of polysubstance use, sexual risk behaviors, and infectious disease among South African drug users. Drug and Alcohol Dependence, 132(3): 441-448. PMID: 23562370. PMCID: PMC4191842.
  32. Scherer, M., Trenz, R.C., Harrell, P., Mancha, B.E., Altintoprak, E., & Latimer, W.W. (2013). Desistance from problematic alcohol use without treatment among active heroin and cocaine users. Addiction Research & Theory, 21 (3): 227-234.
  33. Scherer, M., Trenz, R.C., Harrell, P.T., Mauro, P., & Latimer, W.W. (2013). The role of drinking severity on sex risk behavior and HIV exposure among illicit drug users. The American Journal on Addictions, 22, 239-245. PMID: 236176865. PMCID: PMC4582662.
  34. Harrell, P.T., Mancha, B., Petras, H., Trenz, R.C. & Latimer, W.W. (2012). Latent classes of heroin and cocaine users predict unique HIV risk factors. Drug and Alcohol Dependence, 122 (3), 220-227. PMID: 22030276. PMCID: 3309123.
  35. Harrell, P.T., Trenz, R.C., Scherer, M., Ropelewski, L.R, & Latimer, W.W. (2012). Cigarette smoking, illicit drug use, and routes of administration among recent heroin and cocaine users. Addictive Behaviors, 37 (5), 678-681. PMID: 22305644. PMCID: PMC3307903.
  36. Harrell, P.T., & Juliano, L.M. (2012). A direct test of the influence of nicotine response expectancies on the subjective and cognitive effects of smoking. Experimental and Clinical Psychopharmacology, 20 (4), 278-286. PMID: 22708609.
  37. Milam, A.J., Furr-Holden, C.D.M, Harrell, P.T., Whitaker, D.E., & Leaf, P.J. (2012). Neighborhood disorder and juvenile drug arrests: A preliminary investigation using the NIfETy instrument. The American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse, 38 (6): 598-602. PMID: 22783825. PMCID: PMC4392401.
  38. Juliano, L.M., Huntley, E.D., Harrell, P.T., & Westerman, A.T. (2012). Development of the Caffeine Withdrawal Symptom Questionnaire: Caffeine withdrawal symptoms cluster into 7 factors. Drug and Alcohol Dependence, 124, 229-234. PMID: 22341956.
  39. Trenz, R.C., Harrell, P., Scherer, M., Mancha, B., & Latimer, W.W. (2012). A model of school problems, academic failure, alcohol initiation, and the relationship to adult heroin injection. Substance Use and Misuse, 47 (10), 1159-1171. PMID: 22621313.
  40. Trenz, R.C., Scherer, M., Harrell, P.T., Zur, J., Sinha, A., & Latimer, W.W. (2012). Early onset of drug and polysubstance use as predictors of injection drug use among adult drug users. Addictive Behaviors, 37 (4), 367-372. PMID: 22172686. PMCID: PMC3288417.
  41. Trenz, R.C., Pacek, L., Scherer, M., Harrell, P., Zur, J., & Latimer, W.W. (2012). Prevalence of Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV), risk behavior, and recent substance use in a sample of urban drug users: Findings by race and sex. World Journal of AIDS, 2, 183-193.
  42. Branson, C., Clemmey, P., Harrell, P., Subramaniam, G., & Fishman, M. (2012). Post-treatment polysubstance use and heroin relapse among adolescents following residential treatment. Journal of Child and Adolescent Substance Abuse, 21 (3), 204-221.
  43. Harrell, P.T., Montoya, I.D., Preston, K.L., Juliano, L.M., & Gorelick, D.A. (2011). Cigarette smoking and short-term addiction treatment outcome. Drug and Alcohol Dependence, 115 (3), 161-166. PMID: 21163592 PMCID: PMC3080462.
  44. Juliano, L.M., Fucito, L.M., & Harrell, P.T. (2011).  The influence of nicotine dose and nicotine dose expectancy on the subjective and cognitive enhancing effects of cigarette smoking. Experimental and Clinical Psychopharmacology, 19 (2), 105-155. PMID: 21463067. PMCID: PMC3660849.
  45. Harrell, P.T., & Juliano, L.M. (2009). Caffeine expectancies influence the subjective and behavioral effects of caffeine. Psychopharmacology, 207 (2), 335-342. PMID: 19760283.
  46. Subramaniam, G., Harrell, P., Huntley, E., & Tracy, M. (2009). Beck Depression Inventory for depression screening in substance abusing adolescents. Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment, 37 (1), 25-31. PMID: 19339144.

Book chapters

Martins, S.S., Lee, G.P., Storr, C., Harrell, P., & Sanchez, Z. (2013). Hallucinogens. In P.M. Miller (Ed.), Principles of Addiction: Comprehensive Addictive Behaviors and Disorders. Vol. 1. Access Online via Elsevier, 2013. Oxford: Academic Press.

Commentaries and reports

  1. Harrell, P.T. (2018). The changing landscape of youth tobacco research: An interview with Dr. Pallav Pokhrel, Ph.D. Drug and Alcohol Dependence, 188 (1), 45-46.
  2. Harrell, P.T., & Fu, H. (2016). Commentary on Betts et al. (2016): Polysubstance use and opioid substitution therapy among people who inject drugs. Addiction, 111 (7), 1224-1225. PMID: 27273387.
  3. Plunk, A.D., & Harrell, P.T. (2016). Barriers to research using controlled drugs are not created equal. American Journal of Bioethics 16 (4), 54-56. PMID: 26982926.
  4. Harrell, P., Kearley, B., & Nemes, S. (2010). Maryland Tobacco Quitline Comprehensive Evaluation Report. Report to Maryland State Government on Free and Clear, a national tobacco quitline.

Lab People and Photos

Members of the Behavioral Epidemiology and Pharmacology Laboratory pose for a photo under a tree outside Williams Hall.

Current lab members include Laurel Brockenberry, Gabriella Atwood (not pictured), Deepal Patel (not pictured), Jade Johnson, Tori Murray and Sat Paul Singh.

Graduate students - VCPCP Clinical Psychology, PhD

Laurel Brockenberry headshot

Laurel Brockenberry, MS

(August 2016 - Present)

MS, Old Dominion University
BS, College of William and Mary

MPH practicum students

Danielle Sasso, MPH

(November 2016 - May 2017)

MPH, Eastern Virginia Medical School
BS, Hawaii Pacific University

Leigh Sitler, MPH

(November 2015 - May 2016)

MPH, Eastern Virginia Medical School
BA, College of William and Mary

Research nurse

Gabriella Atwood, LPN

LPN, Okaloosa Applied Technology Center
BS(c), Old Dominion University

Research staff

Deepal Patel, MPH

(April 2018 - Present)

MPH, Eastern Virginia Medical School
BA, Virginia Tech

Jacob Smith, MPH

(January 2017 - October 2017)

Bryanna Vesely, MPH

(November 2015 - July 2016)

DPM, Western University of Health Sciences, Class of 2020
MPH, Eastern Virginia Medical School
BS, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

Summer Scholars

Samantha Valera headshot

Samantha Valera

(May 2019 - August 2019)

Allegheny College

Emily Breeding

(May 2019 - June 2019)

MD, Eastern Virginia Medical School, Class of 2022
BA, University of Virginia

Research volunteers

Jade Johnson

(January 2019 - Present)

Tori Murray

(May 2019 - Present)

Sat Paul Singh headshot

Sat Paul Singh

(May 2019 - Present)

Jenny Tennell headshot

Jenny Tennell

(January 2019 - May 2019)

BS, Old Dominion University
AS, Tidewater Community College

Jillian Phillips headshot

Jillian Phillips

(June 2018 – December 2018)

MS, Radford University, Class of 2021
BS, Old Dominion University
AS, Thomas Nelson Community College

Kendall Walton

(February 2018 - May 2018)

Lauren Marshall

(February 2016 - September 2016)

Thomas Small

(February 2016 - May 2016)