Who We Are

Principal Investigator

Matthew Kirkpatrick, Principle Investigator

Dr. Kirkpatrick is an Assistant Professor of Research in the Department of Preventive Medicine in the Keck School of Medicine at the University of Southern California. He earned his B.A. in Religious Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and his PhD in Experimental Psychology at Columbia University. He completed a postdoctoral fellowship in Neuropsychopharmacology at the University of Chicago.

Dr. Kirkpatrick works in collaboration with scientists at all career levels – from senior faculty to undergraduate research assistants – and uses behavioral pharmacology, Ecological Momentary Assessment, and survey methods to examine the complex, bi-directional interactions between social contexts, social behavior, and drug use. He has scientific expertise in a wide range of drugs, including amphetamines, MDMA, alcohol, tobacco, and cannabis. Dr. Kirkpatrick is committed to conducting research that will inform more just and rationale drug policies and will lead to more effective drug treatments for individuals and families that may develop drug-related problems.

Matthew Kirkpatrick, PhD
Associate Professor of Research Population and Public Health Sciences
About Matthew Kirkpatrick, PhD

Dr. Kirkpatrick's research uses laboratory psychopharmacology, Ecological Momentary Assessment, and survey methods to focus on how drug use - both normal and problematic - functions in social contexts. His work examines the acute and residual effects of a range of psychoactive drugs (including alcohol, nicotine, and amphetamines) in ethnically diverse populations of both current drug abusers and healthy normal volunteers, and under various laboratory and naturalistic conditions. His current interests focus on: (1) the complex bi-directional interactions between acute drug effects and social settings, and how these interactions contribute to the rewarding effects of drugs; and (2) how friends and family can either help or hinder quit attempts (especially cigarette smoking quit attempts). Overall, this multidisciplinary approach carries direct clinical relevance as it will improve our understanding of drug use, which will help to develop novel treatments for those who wish to quit.

Doctoral Students

Esthelle Ewusi Boisvert
Doctoral Student
About Esthelle Ewusi Boisvert

Esthelle Ewusi Boisvert is a doctoral student in Clinical Science in USC's Department of Psychology. She received her B.A. in Psychology (Honours) from Concordia University in Montreal, Canada, as well as her Certificate in Substance Abuse Counselling from the University of Montreal in 2016. She recently received her M.A. in Clinical Science from USC. A consistent theme of Esthelle's research training has been interdisciplinary work pertaining to drug use and drug policy across the fields of fundamental and clinical psychology, public health and sociology. She is interested in examining factors that lie at the intersection of individual-level beliefs, and systemic racism, in the context of drug policy. Specifically, Esthelle is interested in the idea that benevolent racism (at the individual and systems-levels) upholds the current Drug War, and would like to investigate factors that would lead to more just drug policies. Outside of doing science, Esthelle likes to find different (safe!) biking routes around LA, cook good meals in the least amount of time possible, explore microbreweries, and attend free concerts!

Shirlene Wang
Doctoral Student
About Shirlene Wang

Shirlene is a 4th year PhD student in the Health Behavior Research Program at USC. After receiving her B.A. in Psychology and Medicine, Health, and Society from Vanderbilt University, she has been conducting research testing approaches to increasing physical activity, improving diet, smoking cessation, and treatment adherence using wearable devices and apps. Her current research focuses on increasing engagement and improving the quality of longitudinal data collected using ecological momentary assessment (EMA). She has worked with the DUB Lab since 2019 analyzing data from the SCOR and SYNC studies. The first smoking study Shirlene designed involved daily counts of the number of cigarette butts in a Wendy's parking lot.

Research Staff

Lucy Schuler
Project Assistant
About Lucy Schuler

Lucy Schuler graduated from UC Berkeley in 2021, receiving a B.A. in Psychology (Highest Honors) and Linguistics. At Berkeley, Lucy was a research assistant in the Language and Cognitive Development Lab. Her senior honors thesis examined the role of financial stressors associated with the COVID-19 pandemic on children's language environments and exposure. As a project assistant in the DUB Lab, her main work is on the Smoking Cessation in Sexual Minority Couples Study. Outside of research, Lucy enjoys going on walks with her dog, discovering new podcasts, and exploring all over Los Angeles.

Research Assistants

Madeline Ta
Student Worker, Research
About Madeline Ta

Madeline Ta is an undergraduate at the University of Southern California pursuing a B.S. in Health Promotion and Disease Prevention and a minor in Economics. At USC, Madeline is a tutor for Student Athlete Academic Services. She is also a member of the USC Women's Club Volleyball team and Vietnamese Student Association. In her free time, Madeline enjoys cooking, hiking and spending time with friends and family. 

Anna Miner
Student Worker, Research
About Anna Miner

Anna Miner is an undergraduate at the University of Southern California pursuing a B.S. in Health Promotion and Disease Prevention and a minor in Addiction Science, set to graduate in 2024. At USC, Anna is a senior health educator within Peer Health Exchange, an organization that provides a skills-based health curriculum to students in under-resourced high schools. Anna also develops content for USC Kidney Disease Screening and Awareness Program, a club which offers kidney health screenings and education to the surrounding Los Angeles community. She is also involved with neonatal research at Children's Hospital Los Angeles and type 2 diabetes research within the environmental health division of the Keck School of Medicine, USC. In the future, Anna hopes to obtain her MPH at USC. In her free time, Anna volunteers in the disaster management sector of the American Red Cross and enjoys spending time with her friends and family.

Desiree Adamos
Student Research Assistant
About Desiree Adamos

Desiree is an undergraduate student majoring in Biological Sciences and minoring in Public Health at the University of Southern California, set to graduate in 2026. At USC, Desiree currently participates on a hip-hop based dance team on campus. In the future, Desiree is interested in exploring the fields of microbiology, public health, and healthcare. Outside of academics, Desiree enjoys dancing, hiking, and exploring her hometown, San Diego. 

Frequent Collaborators

David Black, PhD, MPH
Associate Professor of Population and Public Health Sciences
campus (mindful.usc.edu)|https://mindful.usc.edu
global (goAMRA.org)|https://goAMRA.org
About David Black, PhD, MPH

Dr. Black an Associate Professor of Preventive Medicine at the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California in Los Angeles. He is also a member of the USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center and Associate Director of Education for the USC Center for Mindfulness Science. His research had been funded by university, private, and federal grants for over 17 years. He as authored and co-authored over 75 peer-reviewed articles in journals including JAMA Internal Medicine, JAMA Pediatrics, Cancer, Pediatrics, American Journal of Public Health, Behaviour Research and Therapy, and Psychosomatic Medicine. Dr. Black began his early career in the health sciences and earned a Master of Public Health degree and directed his first grant-funded human subjects research study prior to finishing his masters thesis. He trained as a NIH National Cancer Institute predoctoral fellow for five years at the USC Institute for Prevention Research, where he latter earned his Ph.D. The focus of his doctoral training was in substance misuse prevention and addictions research. He had self-studied contemplative theory and practices over the previous decade, and realized an opportunity to merge his passion for the contemplative studies with his training in the health sciences. He continued advanced training as a NIH National Institute on Aging postdoctoral fellow at the University of California at Los Angeles Cousins Center for Psychoneuroimmunology. He focused his research effort on conducting a randomized controlled trial to test the impact of mindfulness training on sleep and inflammation in older adults with sleep problems. He went on to articulate a novel conceptual model to illustrate how mindfulness training exerts biological influence from brain to body using a genomic signal transduction framework with downstream biological impact on sympathetic nervous system activity, release of norepinephrine at nerve terminals, activation of b-adrenergic receptors on adjacent cells, and the cAMP/PKA signaling pathway that ultimately regulates gene expression by stimulating transcription factors, particularly those associated with the propagation of inflammation in peripheral blood. He recently completed a NIH NIDA R01 randomized controlled trial testing mindfulness training added to residential treatment for substance use disorder. He is currently co-PI of a clinical trial testing an app-based mindfulness training for smoking cessation that recruits smokers from across the state of California. He enjoys mentoring undergraduate and graduate students, was awarded the 2015 USC Mentoring Award for graduate students from the Center for Excellence in Teaching. He enjoys spending time with his family in nature, fly fishing, camping, and reading.

Raina Pang, PhD
Associate Professor of Research Population and Public Health Sciences
About Raina Pang, PhD

Broadly speaking my research interest lies in understanding sex/gender differences and women specific factors in addiction. As part of these efforts, I have completed a postdoctoral fellowship investigating the interactive role of menstrual cycle and nicotine on response inhibition and smoking behavior using laboratory based behavioral pharmacology. Currently, I am PI on a five year study aimed at understanding within and between subject effects of ovarian hormones on mood and smoking behavior across the menstrual cycle using ecological momentary assessment.