Primary Research Focus
Dr. Selya’s main research track seeks to understand the etiology of smoking and addiction among youth. She is especially interested in the role of early-emerging nicotine dependence, which can occur soon after smoking initiation and even before daily smoking habits develop. She is also interested in the hereditary and/or environmental mechanisms by which risk factors act to increase smoking behavior, particularly maternal smoking and prenatal tobacco exposure.
A second major focus of Dr. Selya’s research the drastic increase in electronic cigarette use over recent years, and understanding how that impacts conventional cigarette use, either positively or negatively.
Dr. Selya also studies the unique role of nicotine dependence in exacerbating smoking-related health outcomes, beyond the risk conveyed by objective smoking behavior alone.
Finally, Dr. Selya is involved in several other interdisciplinary projects in which she analyzes administrative health data in order to develop data-driven improvements in healthcare delivery at Sanford.
Her current research projects include:
- Pathways of prenatal tobacco exposure on youth smoking behavior.
- Electronic cigarettes’ impact on conventional smoking behavior.
- Health outcomes associated with nicotine dependence, independently of smoking behavior.
- Smoking and unplanned medical visits among patients with diabetes.
About the Selya Lab
Lab Projects and News
Etiology of Smoking and Nicotine Dependence
Dr. Selya uses path analysis to examine potential mediators of the relationship between maternal smoking (both lifetime smoking status and prenatal tobacco exposure) and youth smoking. Potential mediators include both hereditary factors (genetics, personality traits, initial subjective smoking experiences) as well as environmental ones (access to cigarettes, parental attitudes and rules about smoking).
She uses system dynamics simulation modeling that (1) incorporates known causes of smoking and replicates historical trends in smoking behavior, and (2) analyzes possible preventive efforts (policies, interventions, etc).
E-Cigarettes’ Impact on Conventional Smoking
Dr. Selya uses propensity score modeling to examine the effect of e-cigarettes on conventional smoking, after robustly accounting for pre-existing risk factors.
Nicotine Dependence and Smoking-Related Health Outcomes
Researchers examine the effects of nicotine dependence (a psychological construct capturing addiction) on health outcomes, even after controlling for smoking history (objective behavior). Current health outcomes being analyzed are diabetes, osteoporosis, and periodontal disease.
Data-Driven Health Care Delivery Improvements
Using machine learning to develop a model predicting which patients with diabetes are at risk for an unplanned medical visit. Analyze the predictive model to identify potential intervention or treatment targets.