General Research InterestNicotine dependence; cigarette smoking topography; factors influencing nicotine metabolism; effects of menthol on smoke constituent exposure including nicotine, cotinine, and carbon monoxide, and carcinogens tobacco specific nitrosamines and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons; focus on these factors among African Americans and Caucasians; and possible impact of bitter taste phenotype on oral nicotine replacement therapy. Her research is primarily conducted in The Ohio State University Clinical Research Center.
Research DescriptionKaren Ahijevych, PhD, FAAN, Professor and Associate Dean for Academic Affairs in the College of Nursing, has a research program focused on the biobehavioral aspects of nicotine dependence and health disparities related to cigarette smoking. Her research has been funded by the National Institute of Drug Abuse (R29, R01, R21). Her work examines biological and behavioral components of nicotine dependence and exposure to smoke constituents. Biomarkers include serum nicotine and cotinine (the proximate nicotine metabolite), carbon monoxide in exhaled air, menthol glucuronide, tobacco specific nitrosamines, and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons. Behavioral aspects of interest include smoking topography or the unique individual cigarette puffing pattern, beliefs and attitudes about smoking consequences, perceived stress, and depression. Her most recent work focuses on personalizing smoking cessation treatment with a pre-clinical study examining the effect of bitter taste phenotype on oral nicotine replacement nonadherence. Taste receptor genotyping is also included in this study. African Americans represent one-half of the sample in her studies and characterization of the unique effects of menthol cigarettes is work for which she is known internationally. Her work has been published in interdisciplinary journals including Addictive Behaviors; Pharmacology, Biochemistry and Behavior; and Nicotine & Tobacco Research. Her interdisciplinary team includes co-investigators in the OSU Colleges of Pharmacy and Public Health, as well as a taste expert at Rutgers University.