Rebecca Ashare

PhD

Rebecca Ashare.

Rebecca Ashare

PhD

Rebecca Ashare

PhD

Research Interests

Substance use in medical (HIV, cancer) and psychiatric (depression, serious mental illness) comorbidities; cannabis use for symptom management; serious illness communication

Education

  • PhD, University at Buffalo, SUNY

About

My research takes an interdisciplinary approach to understanding substance use among individuals with medical and psychiatric comorbidities. Most recently, this work has focused on three areas: (1) the mechanisms and outcomes of tobacco use among people with HIV (PWH); (2) digital interventions for smoking cessation among individuals with serious mental illness; and (3) the intersection of cannabis and opioid use for symptom management.  

My work in tobacco use and HIV evaluates the mechanisms and outcomes of tobacco use among PWH, a population with disproportionately high smoking rates. Coupled with the widespread use of antiretroviral therapy, PWH actually lose more life years to tobacco use than to HIV. I have three current research projects that address this problem from three perspectives to better understand: (1) the mechanisms that underlie high smoking rates; (2) why existing treatments are less effective and relapse rates are higher among PWH; and (3) how HIV and smoking may act synergistically and ultimately lead to worse clinical outcomes including cancer and impaired immune function. These translational studies incorporate biological (e.g., nicotine metabolism, inflammation), behavioral, and cognitive assessments address these questions. 

I am also collaborating with investigators at Duke University on a multi-site clinical trial to evaluate the effectiveness of a mobile health application (i.e., smartphone app) for smoking cessation among individuals with serious mental illness. We are collaborating with outpatient psychiatry clinics at ECMC on this trial.  

Other research interests include several aspects of cannabis use in the context of comorbid medical conditions. Specifically, these projects focus on: (1) whether cannabis may help to reduce opioid use for managing pain among cancer patients; (2) evaluating perceptions and patterns of cannabis use among cancer patients; and (3) clinician attitudes and knowledge about medical cannabis.

Selected Publications

  • Worster B, Smith, K., Ashare, R., Hajjar, E., Garber, G., Kelly, E. Clinician Attitudes, Training, and Beliefs about Cannabis: An Interprofessional Assessment. Cannabis and Cannabinoids Research, in press. 
  • Czuczman C, Thompson M, Wileyto EP, Schnoll R, Metzger D, Leone F, Mounzer K, Gross R, Ashare RL: No differences in delay discounting between smokers with and without HIV. Psychopharmacology. Psychopharmacology 238(2): 529-537, Feb 2021 
  • Rosoff-Verbit Z, Logue-Chamberlain E, Fishman J, Audrain-McGovern J, Hawk L, Mahoney M, Mazur A, Ashare R: The Perceived Impact of COVID-19 among Treatment-Seeking Smokers: A Mixed Methods Approach. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 18(2): 505, Jan 2021. 
  • Ghura S, Gross R, Jordan-Sciutto K, Dubroff J, Schnoll R, Collman RG, Ashare RL: Bidirectional Associations among Nicotine and Tobacco Smoke, NeuroHIV, and Antiretroviral Therapy. Journal of Neuroimmune Pharmacology 15(4): 694-714, Dec 2020. PMCID: PMC7383218 
  • Ashare RL, Wileyto EP, Logue-Chamberlain E, Gross R, Tyndale RF, Lerman C, Hawk LW, Jr., Cinciripini PM, George TP, Lubitz SF, Schnoll RA: Patterns of Lapses and Recoveries During a Quit Attempt using Varenicline and Behavioral Counseling among Smokers with and without HIV. Psychology of Addictive Behaviors Jul 2020 
  • Thompson, M. ,  Schnoll, R.,  Serrano, K.,  Leone, F.,  Gross, R.,  Collman, R. G.,  Ashare, R. L.: The effect of varenicline on mood and cognition in smokers with HIV. Psychopharmacology (Berl) 237(4): 1223-1231, Apr 2020. PMCID: PMC7125016 
  • Ashare, R. L., Thompson, M., Serrano, K., Leone, F., Metzger, D. S., Frank, I., Gross, R., Hole, A., Mounzer, K., Weisbrot, J., Collman, R. G., Wileyto, E. P., Schnoll, R.: A Placebo-Controlled Randomized Clinical Trial Testing the Efficacy and Safety of Varenicline for Smokers with HIV. Drug and Alcohol Dependence 200: 26-33, July 2019. 
  • Ashare RL, Thompson M, Leone F, Metzger D, Gross R, Mounzer K, Tyndale R, Lerman C, Mahoney MC, Cinciripini P, George TP, Collman R & Schnoll RA. : Differences in the rate of nicotine metabolism among smokers with and without HIV. AIDS 33(6): 1083-1088, May 2019. 
  • Harrison JD, Dochney JA, Blazekovic S, Leone F, Metzger D, Frank I, Gross R, Hole A, Mounzer K, Siegel S, Schnoll RA, Ashare RL.: The nature and consequences of cognitive deficits among tobacco smokers with HIV: a comparison to tobacco smokers without HIV. Journal of Neurovirology 23(4): 550-557, Aug 2017. PMCID: PMC5623102 
  • Miglin R, Kable JW, Bowers ME, Ashare RL.: Withdrawal-Related Changes in Delay Discounting Predict Short-Term Smoking Abstinence. Nicotine and Tobacco Research 19(6): 694-702, Jun 2017. PMCID: PMC5423100 
  • Ashare RL, Kimmey BA, Rupprecht LE, Bowers ME, Hayes MR, Schmidt HD.: Repeated administration of an acetylcholinesterase inhibitor attenuates nicotine taking in rats and smoking behavior in human smokers. Translational Psychiatry 6: e713, 2016.