Amanda Anderson is a Community Program Specialist for the University of Minnesota's Tobacco Research Programs. Amanda is a graduate of the University of Minnesota with a BA in Psychology and has been working in the field of nicotine and tobacco dependence since 1994. Amanda has coordinated numerous Smoking Cessation and Harm Reduction Trials and has spent over 25 years treating smokeless tobacco and cigarette users.
Andrew Egbert is a Research Coordinator for the University of Minnesota’s Tobacco Research Program. He received a B.A in Psychology in 2013 from Gettysburg College. Prior to joining the Tobacco Research Program, Andy coordinated Screening, Brief Intervention, and Referral to Treatment (SBIRT) research, related to underage drinking in minority communities outside Washington DC.
MacKenzie Differding is a Research Coordinator for the University of Minnesota's Tobacco Research Programs. She received a Bachelor of Science in Psychology from the University of Minnesota in 2020. MacKenzie’s roles on the research team are to assist with recruiting for Dr. Dorothy Hatsukami’s CENIC study and coordinating Dr. Dana Carroll’s pilot study on educational messaging for low nicotine cigarettes.
Laura Garcia Pimentel
Laura Garcia Pimentel is a Clinical Research Coordinator for the University of Minnesota's Tobacco Research Programs. She received a Bachelor of Arts in biology from St. Olaf College in 2020. Prior to joining the Tobacco Research Programs, she worked as a Bilingual Clinic Assistant and as a Research Assistant assisting with studies focused on gastrointestinal diseases.
Katherine (Kat) Harrison, MPH
Katherine (Kat) Harrison has been working as a study coordinator for Tobacco Research Programs since 2010. Her work at the University of Minnesota has included research related to the use of exercise and relaxation as a smoking cessation tool. She completed her Masters of Public Health 2008. Before working with the University of Minnesota's Tobacco Research Programs, Kat worked as an epidemiologist in both Maine and the City of Baltimore.
Joni Jensen, MPH
Joni Jensen is the Tobacco Research Programs Clinic Manager. She is responsible for the administration of Dr. Dorothy Hatsukami and Dr. Stephen Hecht's research projects and is also responsible for regulatory oversight. She has worked in the tobacco research area for the past 25 years. Please contact her with any questions or concerns about the Tobacco Research Programs projects or staff.
Nya Jock is a Clinical Research Coordinator for the University of Minnesota's Tobacco Research Programs. She received a B.S. in Cognitive Sciences with a discipline in Biology from Minnesota State University, Mankato. Prior to joining the Tobacco Research Programs, she worked in healthcare as well as research focusing on thyroid insufficiencies.
Laura Maertens, PhD
Laura Maertens is a Research Program Manager. She received her PhD in Pharmaceutics from the University of Minnesota. Her research has focused on investigating the lung metabolism of tobacco specific compounds and the role of DNA damage in cancer formation. In 2016, she began managing and coordinating human studies investigating the DNA damaging effects of alcohol. She currently assists multiple faculty within the Masonic Cancer Center with the setup, organization, and coordination of their studies.
Brittany Niesen is a research coordinator for the University of Minnesota’s Tobacco Research Programs. She received her BA in Anthropology in 2012 from the University of Minnesota and has been working in research for over 12 years. Brittany has been with the tobacco research team since 2013. She has completed certifications for the Association of Clinical Research Professionals, Phlebotomy Techniques and Social Media Marketing and continues to attend seminars to further her knowledge in nicotine addiction.
Debbie Ng, MPH
Debbie Ng is a Research Coordinator at the University of Minnesota’s Tobacco Research Program. She received her MPH in Community Health Education at the University of Minnesota. Before joining the Tobacco Research Program, she worked in public health and clinical research studies in Minnesota, New York City, and Seattle. Areas of research included weight loss in adults, Type 2 diabetes in teenagers, Cystic Fibrosis in adults, and cognitive health evaluation of older adults.
Jane Schulz, MPH, RN, CNP
Jane Schulz has been working as an adult nurse practitioner in tobacco and cocaine use research since 2008. She has responsibility for the entrance and exit physical exams for study participants where the studies require them. She also assists our medical directors in review of the participants' charts and provides some required skills training and updates for staff. She has a master's degree in public health and has spent most of her career working in public health both clinically, primarily in primary care with under-served and under-insured populations, as well as in other areas of research particularly HIV/AIDS, STIs, and tuberculosis.
Lori Strayer, MPH, MS
Lori Strayer is a Research Fellow, and has been supporting cancer research with faculty in Epidemiology and recently Tobacco Research since 2006. She received degrees and worked in engineering prior to pursuing a Masters Degree in Public Health in Epidemiology. Lori's roles on the research team is to assist with regulatory requirements and data management.
Hanna Vanderloo, RN, MSN
Hanna Vanderloo is the Cancer Prevention and Control Program Manager. She is responsible for the oversight of several research projects including Dr Irina Stepanov's and Dr Stephen Hecht's projects. She has worked in clinical research for over thirteen years and joined the Tobacco Research Programs in 2017.