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$20M Federal Grant Renewed for Yale Tobacco Center of Regulatory Science

September 27, 2023

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) and U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have renewed a $20 million grant for the Yale Tobacco Center of Regulatory Science (TCORS).

Through this center, investigators will continue to examine the influence of flavors and other chemical additives on the appeal, use, and addictive potential of tobacco products, including newer products like e-cigarettes and nicotine pouches.

TCORS was formed at Yale in 2013 under an original $20 million, five-year federal grant and was then renewed for another five years in 2018.

The work at Yale provided science-based knowledge to the FDA and has been cited by the federal government to support the regulation of tobacco and nicotine products. The new grant is also for five years and is one of seven centers awarded by NIH and the FDA.

The Yale center is led by co-directors Suchitra Krishnan-Sarin, PhD, Albert E. Kent Professor of Psychiatry; and Stephanie O’Malley, PhD, Elizabeth Mears and House Jameson Professor of Psychiatry. The multidisciplinary research team includes experts in nicotinic receptor biology and pharmacology, flavor and irritant receptor biology and pharmacology, analytical chemistry, sensory perception, tobacco/nicotine use behaviors and addiction, adolescent tobacco use, qualitative and clinical trial methodology, and measurement and statistical analysis.

Yale scientists will conduct four projects under the new grant:

  • Project 1 will examine how odorless cooling additives, sweeteners, and sweet solvent humectants, as well as nicotine stereoisomers impact nicotine initiation, preference, reinforcement, and transitions in use from adolescence to adulthood.
  • Project 2 will determine if thresholds for nicotine reinforcement, discrimination, and subjective rewarding effects differ among adults who smoke cigarettes and if these thresholds are altered by exposure to sweeteners.
  • Project 3 will determine how novel nicotine forms (synthetic nicotine) and novel flavor additives (synthetic coolants) impact e-cigarette appeal and addiction potential among adults who use e-cigarettes and combustible tobacco products.
  • Project 4 will model potential regulations of cooling flavors and nicotine concentrations in non-combustible tobacco products (nicotine pouches, e-cigarettes) and examine their impact on adult’s ability to switch from smoking cigarettes to using less harmful, non-combustible products.

Other core faculty from Yale include Nii Addy, PhD; Krysten Bold, PhD; Tore Eid, MD, PhD; Lisa Fucito, PhD; Barry Green, PhD; Ralitza Gueorguieva, PhD; Grace Kong, PhD; Meghan Morean, PhD; Marina Picciotto, PhD; Mehmet Sofuoglu, MD, PhD; and Julie Zimmerman, PhD; as well as and Sven-Eric Jordt, PhD, from Duke University. Other key members from Yale include Deniz Bagdas, PhD; Steven Baldassarri, MD; Eugenia Buta, PhD; Danielle Davis, PhD; Hanno Erythropel, PhD; Sakinah Suttiratana, PhD; and Sairam Jabba, PhD, from Duke University.

Submitted by Christopher Gardner on September 27, 2023