Biobehavioral Health Alumni Profile: Richard J. O'Connor, Ph.D.

picture of Tamara Baker


B.S. 1999, Psychology, The George Washington University
Ph.D. 2004, Biobehavioral Health, The Pennsylvania State University

On the Ph.D. program, in his words:

“Overall, BBH was a great experience for me. I enjoyed gaining a breadth of knowledge in multiple areas relevant to health, and to this day I still apply elements of health education, physiology, and genetics that I learned in BB H to my present research. It was also a very relaxed atmosphere that promoted camaraderie and did not foster competition among students.”

Current areas of professional interest are:

Tobacco control and public health; Tobacco product design and its influence on use behaviors; Unobtrusive and minimally invasive methods for assessing tobacco exposure and harm; Health communications

Current Position

Assistant Member & Assistant Professor of Oncology
Department of Health Behavior
Division of Cancer Prevention and Population Sciences
Roswell Park Cancer Institute
Buffalo, NY

Doctoral Thesis

Refinement and application of unobtrusive methods for assessing behavioral blocking of filter vents on low tar cigarettes.

Brief Description: Thesis described the development of a digital imaging system for the detection of filter vent blocking on Ultra-Light cigarettes. Five studies compared color and black-and-while imaging methods to human ratings in terms of accuracy, sensitivity, and specificity. The color system was shown to be superior for the detection of at least 50% vent blocking.

Ph.D. advisor

Dr. Lynn T. Kozlowski