We are a multidisciplinary team that examines the intersection between health behavior, mental health, and addiction.
We address essential questions, like:
  • 1. Why are some people more likely to use and abuse drugs?
  • 2. How do drugs alter the way we think, feel, and behave?
  • 3. What makes something addictive?
By answering these questions we can:
  • 1. Understand and reduce health disparities in cancer and other addiction-related diseases.
  • 2. Prevent and treat addiction and associated mental health problems.
  • 3. Identify the basic mechanisms of emotion and motivation.

Teenagers Who Try E-Cigarettes Are More Than Twice as Likely to Start Smoking

There is a lot of debate about the use of e-cigarettes, however longitudinal studies have provided evidence that adolescents who use e-cigarettes have an increased likelihood that they will then progress to smoking traditional cigarettes, as suggested by results from surveys following high school students in Hawaii conduced by Wills and colleagues. Such results are consistent with those from USC-HEAL lab's study conducted in Los Angeles High Schools.

Learn More

Junhan Cho, Ph.D. Parent and Youth Dopamine D4 Receptor Genotypes Moderate Multilevel Contextual Effects on Youth's Risk Behavior

Jan 22nd, 3:45 pm - 5:00 pm
SSB2 Room 2904
2011 N. Soto Street

See Flyer

Teen Smokers May Be Hard-Wired to Crave Cigarettes

Teen smokers might crave nicotine in part because their brains respond differently than adults to seeing people light up.

Learn More

Teens with Fewer Mental Health Issues Turn to E-Cigarettes

Adolescents with moderate emotional health problems do not smoke, but they may vape, USC-HEAL study finds. Surveyed teens who picked up vaping had emotional and behavioral problems that fell midway between smokers and teens who neither vaped nor smoked.

Learn More

Genes May Make It Harder for Some to Quit Smoking

A story by the American Cancer Society featured Adam Leventhal, PhD, associate professor and director of USC HEAL, on the role genetics play in tobacco addiction. "We need to have a better understanding of the biology of tobacco addiction, particularly in this high-priority population," Leventhal said.

Learn More

Healthy Debate

New Beginnings: Better Vagal Maneuvers for Arrhythmias and eCigarettes in Adolescents

Learn More

Teens who use e-cigarettes may be transitioning to tobacco products, research shows

A multi-university team led by Keck Medicine of the University of Southern California (USC) researchers has found, for the first time, that using or “vaping” of electronic cigarettes is associated with a propensity to start smoking cigarettes or other, harmful tobacco products.

Learn More

HEAL Seminar Series: Mark Kaplan
Acute use of alcohol and suicide: Lessons Learned from national postmortem data

Become a research volunteer and participate in our studies!
Click below to see how you can get involved

Support innovative research that impacts the health of our communities and the next generation of scientists!
Your gift will help support HEAL's research efforts.