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Melissa Blank, PhD

Assistant Professor of Psychology

Melissa Blank

(304) 293-8341



Graduate Training

Biological Psychology, Virginia Commonwealth University


Moffitt Cancer Center, Behavioral Oncology

Lab website:

Research Interests 

Dr. Blank’s research aims to identify the primary determinants and consequences of smoking behavior using human models of drug dependence. Dependent measures typically include toxicant exposure (carbon monoxide, nicotine, carcinogens), genetic substrates (nicotinic receptor polymorphisms), topography of use (puffing behavior, frequency of consumption), cardiovascular response (heart rate, blood pressure), and subjective ratings (product acceptability, withdrawal suppression). Currently, Dr Blank is conducting research into the use of alternative tobacco products, such as cigars, smokeless tobacco, and waterpipes and the evaluation of novel tobacco products marketed as a means to reduce smoking-related harms.

Lab Personnel

Nicholas Felicione
Behavioral Neuroscience Graduate Student

Jonathan Stoltman
Behavioral Neuroscience Graduate Student

Ilana Haliwa
Behavioral Neuroscience Graduate Student



  • Ozga JE, Felicione NJ, Elswick D, Blank MD (2017 in press). Acute effects of snus in never tobacco users: A pilot study. The American Journal of Drug & Alcohol Abuse. PMID: 27929684
  • Blank MD, Ferris KA, Metzger A, Gentzler A, Duncan C, Jarrett T, Dino G. (2017). Physical activity and quit motivation moderators of adolescent smoking reduction. American Journal of Health Behavior, 41(4), 419-427.


  • Blank MD, Breland A, Cobb CO, Spindle T, Ramôa C, Eissenberg T. (2016). Clinical laboratory evaluation of electronic cigarettes: methodological challenges. Tobacco Regulatory Science, 2(4), 426-439.
  • Blank MD, Breland A, Enlow PT, Duncan C, Metzger A, Cobb CO (2016). Measurement of smoking behavior: comparison of self-reports, returned cigarette butts, and toxicant levels. Experimental & Clinical Psychopharmacology, 24(5), 348-355. PMID: 27347741
  • Nasim A, Guy M, Soule E, Cobb CO, Blank MD, Eissenberg T (2016). Characteristics and patterns of Black&Mild use among African American smokers. Nicotine & Tobacco Research, 18(5), 842-849. PMID: 26615202
  • Harrell PT, Lin HY, Park JY, Blank MD, Drobes DJ, Evans DE (2016). Dopaminergic genetic variation moderates the effect of nicotine on cigarette reward. Psychopharmacology, 233(2), 351-360. PMID: 26497691
  • Blank MD, Cobb CO, Eissenberg T, Nasim A. (2016). Acute effects of “hyping” a Black & Mild cigarillo. Nicotine & Tobacco Research, 18(4), 460-469.


  • Blank MD, Eissenberg T. (2015). Commentary on Brose et al (2015). Protecting individual and public health by regulating electronic cigarette nicotine delivery . Addiction, 110(7), 1169-70.
  • Chen X, Aggen SH, Chen J, Li L, Kendler K, Blank MD, Eissenberg T. (2015). Genetic risks to nicotine dependence predict negative mood and affect in current non-smokers . Scientific Reports, 5, 9521.
  • Cobb CO, Blank MD, Morlett A, Shihadeh A, Jaroudi E, Karaoghlanian N, Kilgalen B, Austin J, Weaver MF, Eissenberg T. (2015). Comparison of puff topography, toxicant exposure, and subjective effects in low- and high-frequency waterpipe users: a double-blind, placebo-control study. Nicotine & Tobacco Research, 17(6), 667-674.
  • Nasim A, Blank MD, Cobb CO, Eissenberg T. (2015). Adolescent former cigarette smokers’vulnerability to other tobacco products. Journal of Child & Adolescent Substance Abuse, 24(2), 113-118.
  • Cobb CO, Nasim A, Jentink K, Blank MD. (2015). The role of caffeine in the alcohol consumption behaviors of college students. Substance Abuse, 26, 1-9.

  • Grant Funding

    NIDA (R03 DA037583) Dual cigarette and SLT use: behavior patterns and toxicant exposure Start Date: July, 2014. Duration: 2 years. Principal Investigator.

    Centers for Disease Control U48: WV Prevention Research Center Start Date: September, 2014.Duration: 5 years. Co-Investigator.

    WVU Senate Grant Influence of ECIGs on Smokers’ Choice to Make a Quit Attempt Start Date: July, 2014. Duration: 1 year. Principal Investigator. 

    WVU Behavioral Medicine and Psychiatry Award ECIGs for Smoking Cessation among Opioid Dependent Individuals in Treatment Start Date: April, 2014. Duration: 1 year. Co-Principal Investigator

    NIDA (F31 DA018447) National Service Research Award Does puff topography measurement alter smoking behavior? Start Date: September, 2004. Duration: 3 years. Principal Investigator.