Team Members                             

Research Projects 






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Principal Investigator

Michael Businelle, PhD

Co-Director of the Oklahoma Tobacco Research Center, Director of the mHealth Shared Resource at the Oklahoma Tobacco Research Center at the Stephenson Cancer Center, Associate Professor, Department of Family and Preventive Medicine

Michael Businelle was recruited to the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center in 2015 to develop and direct the Stephenson Cancer Center Mobile Health (mHealth) Shared Resource. The mHealth resource is staffed by 4 programmers, a program manager, and a research technician. The InsightTM platform enables researchers to rapidly create mobile applications that can utilize ecological momentary assessments (EMA) and sensor data (i.e., activity monitor, mobile carbon monoxide monitor, e-cigarette device) to identify environmental, cognitive, affective, physiological, and behavioral antecedents of cancer risk behaviors (e.g., smoking, heavy alcohol use, poor diet / inactivity / obesity, etc.) and deliver context-specific adaptive interventions in real-time. The mHealth resource currently supports over 30 studies (15 NIH funded, 2 studies collected data outside the US – Cambodia, and Scotland).

Since 2011, Dr. Businelle has been the PI on 11 intervention studies that have been funded by the NIH, ACS, and internal funds and he has a strong publication record (i.e., over 115 peer reviewed publications) in the areas of smoking cessation, health disparities, and mHealth. Ten of these studies include collection of EMA data to identify mechanisms of health risk behaviors in socioeconomically disadvantaged samples. This information has been used to develop novel interventions that automatically tailor treatment content based upon an individual’s current symptoms/needs. In upcoming studies, Dr. Businelle plans to integrate real-time wearable sensor data (e.g., smoking, eating, drinking gestures) to inform intervention algorithms.

Postdoctoral Research Fellows

Emily Hébert, DrPH

Emily T. Hébert, DrPH is a postdoctoral research fellow at the Oklahoma Tobacco Research Center at the Stephenson Cancer Center. Emily earned her DrPH in Health Promotion and Behavioral Sciences from the University of Texas School of Public Health. Her dissertation focused on the use of ecological momentary assessment to measure real-time tobacco marketing and message exposure among young adults. Her current research interests include the use of technology for health promotion, tobacco prevention and cessation, ecological momentary assessment, and the role of social media in tobacco marketing and health communication.

Karen Ra, PhD

Chaelin Karen Ra, PhD is a postdoctoral research fellow at the Oklahoma Tobacco Research Center at the Stephenson Cancer Center. Karen earned her PhD in Health Behavior Research at the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California. Her dissertation was on “Affect, Digital Media Use, Physical Activity, and ADHD in Youth” using intensive longitudinal data. Karen is interested in mental health and cancer prevention using mobile health technology.

Research Staff

Subekchhya Aryal

Sponsored Program Coordinator

Subekchhya Aryal joined the Oklahoma Tobacco Research Center in spring of 2019 and is the sponsored project coordinator for Michael Businelle’ s projects. After earning her bachelor’s degree in Biology from Cameron University in 2011, she worked in a clinical laboratory as a Histotechnologist for 3 years before going back to school for a master’s degree. She earned Masters of Science degree in Public Health from the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center in 2015. During her graduate studies, she worked on several research studies examining physical and chemical properties of electronic cigarettes.


Before joining OTRC, she worked as an IRB administrator where she provided administrative oversight and coordination of biomedical and clinical research involving human subjects. She has knowledge of, and experience in, applicable federal and state policies and regulations regarding research compliance and ethical human participant research practices. Subekchhya is interested in research studies focusing on attitudes, barriers and facilitators to tobacco prevention and cessation.

Rachel Moisiuc

Research Program Coordinator

Rachel joined the Oklahoma Tobacco Research Center after receiving her bachelor of science from the University of Houston. Her initial fascination with the structure and function of the mind prompted her to major in biology and psychology. During her studies, she was exposed to the field of research and its medical applications. Here at OTRC, she can witness those applications first-hand and impact lives.

Joseph J.C. Waring

Research Project Coordinator 

Joseph joined the Oklahoma Tobacco Research Center in the summer of 2017 after receiving a Bachelor of Public Health from the University of Kentucky. Originally from Long Island, NY, Joe's interest in smoking cessation developed while he was volunteering in a kidney transplantation center in New York City. His research interests include smoking cessation interventions among those waiting for organ transplants and interventions using mobile technology. 

Tanushri Bhushan

Research Assistant

Tanushri Bhushan joined Oklahoma Tobacco Research Center in the spring of 2019 as a research assistant after receiving a Master of Public Health (MPH) degree in epidemiology from the University of North Texas Health Science Center (UNTHSC). Tanushri has worked on multiple research projects at UNTHSC focused on behavior modifications to increase self-efficacy and physical activity to decrease stress among graduate students. Also researched the role of EDNRB for early prediction of hypoxia in patients with Sickle cell anemia (SCA). Her current research interests include behavior treatments targeting impulsivity and decision- making capacity using mobile-based technology among chronic smokers and technology-based health promotion.


LaQuita McDade

Research Technician

LaQuita McDade joined Oklahoma Tobacco Research Center in summer 2019. She received her Bachelors of Arts in Psychology from the University of Texas at Dallas (UTD) where she completed undergraduate research at the UTD Center for Brain Health. Previous research focus was on the physiological effects of anorexia nervosa and its co-morbidities. Her current research interest include the behavioral and physiological determinants of disease including smoking related illnesses and obesity.