Newswise — Andrea Villanti, PhD, MPH, will be joining the Rutgers Center for Tobacco Studies as the deputy director in January 2022. She will also join the Rutgers School of Public Health as an associate professor in the Department of Health Behavior, Society, and Policy.

Villanti’s research examines young adult tobacco use, particularly the predictors and patterns of use and interventions to reduce tobacco use. She also has expertise in translational research to improve tobacco control policy and program decision-making, including tobacco regulatory science. Her work focuses on the design, collection, and analysis of population survey data and conducting experiments and intervention trials in large, online samples. Currently, Villanti’s National Institutes of Health-funded research projects include testing a nicotine corrective messaging intervention and evaluating state-level policy and communication efforts to prevent substance use in youth and young adults.

In her role as deputy director, Villanti will oversee the office that supports research development and provide guidance and support to facilitate, nurture, and advance the research program at the Rutgers Center for Tobacco Studies. 

“Dr. Villanti is one of the key leaders in our field,” says Cristine Delnevo, director of the Rutgers Center for Tobacco Studies. “Her value to Rutgers extends beyond her own research and she will undoubtably make meaningful contributions to the mentoring of our junior faculty. Our Center, which is a leading tobacco research center, just got a whole lot stronger with the recruitment of Dr. Villanti.  We are beyond ecstatic for her to join us.”

Villanti is also an active member of the Society for Research on Nicotine and Tobacco, where she served as the co-chair of their program committee and secured NIH and FDA funding to increase the tobacco regulatory science content at the society’s annual meeting. She has also received the society’s early career investigator award.  

“Dr. Villanti is a wonderful addition to our school, growing our expertise in tobacco research and our efforts to eradicate tobacco use, which continues to undermine the health of many populations both domestically and globally,” says Perry N. Halkitis, dean of the Rutgers School of Public Health.

“We are fortunate to be able to recruit Dr. Villanti to the Rutgers School of Public Health,” says Paul Duberstein, chair of the Department of Health Behavior, Society, and Policy. “She is a well-respected scholar and educator whose tobacco-related work intersects with the department’s growing portfolio in population mental health, expertise in health policy, and commitment to social justice.”

Villanti earned her Master of Public Health degree from the Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University and her doctoral degree from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

She is currently an associate professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Vermont Larner College of Medicine and previously served as the Director for Regulatory Science and Policy, Schroeder Institute for Tobacco Research and Policy Studies at Truth Initiative in Washington, D.C. 

“I am thrilled to join my long-time collaborators in the Center for Tobacco Studies and to contribute to team science with our incredible faculty and staff,” says Villanti. “Tobacco use remains the greatest epidemic of our time and our approach to research is not ‘science as usual’ – we share a sense of urgency to keep pace with trends in tobacco use and inform efforts to reduce tobacco use in our communities, local and global.”


About the Rutgers Center for Tobacco Studies 

For nearly two decades, the Rutgers Center for Tobacco Studies has worked to promote and elevate research in tobacco use, policy, and marketing for the benefit of peer researchers, practitioners, and policy makers. Their mission is to enhance the evaluation and surveillance of tobacco control as well as industry initiatives and strategies, by conducting research studies, that include primary and secondary data collection and analysis and qualitative and quantitative methods, and to translate and disseminate findings to program planners and policy makers. Their team of researchers conducts applied research of high quality, integrity, and innovation. Follow the Center for Tobacco Studies on Twitter.


About the Rutgers School of Public Health

The Rutgers School of Public Health is New Jersey’s only accredited school of public health that seeks to improve health and prevent disease in diverse populations in New Jersey and around the world through educating students to become well-qualified and effective public health leaders, researchers, and practitioners; conducting research to advance public health science and policies; and providing service programs that promote population and individual health. Visit us at and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn to learn how we're "keeping the ‘public’ in public health.”