Graduate Students


 Courtney A. Motschman, M.A.

Courtney image

Courtney is a 6th year Ph.D. student in the clinical psychology program. Broadly, her research interests include understanding the cognitive and motivational processes involved in the etiology and manifestation of addictive disorders. More specifically, she is interested in mechanisms that underlie the maintenance of substance dependence (e.g., cognition, craving, dysregulation of emotion) and factors that may contribute to the development of substance use disorders (e.g., substance-related expectancies). Her dissertation is examining the effects of smoking and alcohol cues on cue specific and cross-cue elicited craving, drug-seeking, and consumption behaviors.

Before joining the Smoking Research Lab, Courtney graduated from the University of Wisconsin – Madison with a B.S. in psychology in 2008. As a post-baccalaureate research assistant at UW-Madison, she conducted research on the anxiolytic effect of alcohol on anxiety (i.e. stress response to uncertain threat), but not fear (i.e. response to certain threat) under the direction of Dr. John Curtin. She also worked as a teaching assistant for an experimental psychology course at UW.

Courtney enjoys spending time boating/fishing, cooking, grilling outside, and dancing. She loves attending festivals and concerts located in the Buffalo area during the summer and fall months.

Courtney greatly appreciates the collaborative atmosphere engendered by the UB clinical faculty. She believes that one of the greatest assets of the program is the breadth of the research conducted on addictions both within and outside of the university (e.g., The Research Institute on Addictions, RIA). Courtney especially values Dr. Tiffany’s regard of graduate students as junior-colleagues and his openness to cultivating graduate students’ individual research interests.


Bradford, D. E., Motschman, C. A., Starr, M. J., Korhumel, R. A., & Curtin, J. J. (2017). Alcohol’s effects on emotionally motivated attention, defensive reactivity, and subjective anxiety during uncertain threats. Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, nsx095.

Motschman, C. A., Gass, J. C., Wray, J. M., Germeroth, L. J., Schlienz, N. J., Munoz, D. A., Moore, F. E., Rhodes, J. D., Hawk, L. W., & Tiffany, S. T. (2016). Selection criteria limit generalizability of smoking pharmacotherapy studies differentially across clinical trials and laboratory studies: A systematic review on varenicline. Drug and Alcohol Dependence, 169, 180-189.

Motschman, C. A., & Tiffany, S. T. (2016). Cognitive regulation of smoking behavior within a cigarette: Automatic and nonautomatic processes. Psychology of Addictive Behaviors, 30(4), 494-499.

Gass, J. C., Motschman, C. A., & Tiffany, S. T. (2014). The relationship between craving and tobacco use behavior in laboratory studies: A meta-analysis. Psychology of Addictive Behaviors, 28(4), 1162-1176.


Ashley N. Dowd, B.A.

Ashley Dowd

Ashley is a 3rd year Ph.D. student in the clinical psychology program. Her research interests include investigating the underlying mechanisms of addiction (e.g., craving) and relevant clinical implications. During her graduate school career thus far, she has focused on electronic cigarette use; specifically, she and her colleagues have developed a questionnaire to assess vaping craving and she has investigated the relative reward value of tobacco cigarettes compared with electronic cigarettes using a cue reactivity paradigm. She is also currently collaborating with a high school in the implement an e-cigarette psychoeducation class for adolescents.

Before joining the Smoking Research Lab, Ashley worked with Dr. Bradley Donohue at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. She assisted in research on a new alcohol/drug intervention for use in the collegiate athletic population. This research gave her the opportunity to conduct her own study, assist in writing a manuscript and, more generally, discover how much she enjoyed research.

In her free time, she likes to explore the Buffalo area, hike, and spend time with her kitty, Prince.

One of the biggest draws to joining the University at Buffalo and the Smoking Research Lab for Ashley was the welcoming atmosphere she encountered. She truly feels that the faculty care about her progress in the program and want her to reach her full potential. Dr. Tiffany is friendly and encouraging, which, along with his credentials and immense research experience, makes him an extremely desirable mentor. Since beginning at the University at Buffalo, she has had the opportunity to participate in a diverse range of experiences that have helped her grow as a clinical researcher.


Donohue, B., Dowd, A., Philips, C., Plant, C. P., Loughran, T., & Gavrilova, Y. (2016). Controlled evaluation of a method to assist recruitment of participants into treatment outcome research and engage student-athletes into substance abuse intervention. Journal of Clinical Sport Psychology, 10(4), 272-288.



Jennifer M. Betts, B.S.

jen_website_photoJennifer is a 2nd year Ph.D. student in the clinical psychology program. Her research interests broadly include the cognitive and affective factors involved in the development and maintenance of substance dependence. Additionally, she hopes to research relapse prevention and mechanisms of treatment for smoking cessation.

Before joining the Smoking Research Lab, Jennifer graduated with a B.S. in psychology from Tufts University in 2014. For two years after graduation, she worked as a clinical research assistant at the Brain Imaging Center of McLean Hospital, an affiliate of Harvard Medical School in Belmont, MA.  While there, she assisted with projects studying the neurological and cognitive bases of cocaine and nicotine dependence using multi-modal neuroimaging.

Outside of the lab, Jennifer enjoys reading, watching Netflix, baking desserts for her friends, swimming, sailing, and hiking.

Jennifer appreciates the welcoming and friendly environment of the entire clinical psychology program and faculty. Above all, she values Dr. Tiffany’s dedication to his graduate students and his support of their individual research interests and career development.




Janes, A. C., Betts, J., Jensen J. E., & Lukas, S. E. (2016). Dorsal anterior cingulated glutamate is associated with engagement of the default mode network during exposure to smoking cues. Drug and Alcohol Dependence., 167, 75-81.



Former Ph.D. and Master’s Students:

Julie C. Gass, Ph.D., Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Buffalo VA Center for Integrated Healthcare

Lisa J. Germeroth, Ph.D., Postdoctoral Scholar, University of Pittsburgh, Cardiovascular Behavioral Medicine

Jennifer M. Wray, Ph.D., MIRECC Postdoctoral Fellow, Center for Integrated Healthcare, VA Western NY Healthcare System

Deonna M. Coleman, M.A., Research Specialist, University at Buffalo