Graduate Students

Ashley N. Dowd, M.A., T.T.S.

ashley website 1

Ashley is a 6th year Ph.D. student in the clinical psychology program. She is currently on internship at the University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center – Substance Use track. 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. For example, she and her colleagues 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 also collaborated with high schools in the area to implement an e-cigarette psychoeducation class for adolescents. She is currently working on her dissertation which is evaluating self-report measures, respiration metrics, and various puff topography variables during in-vivo e-cigarette use.

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 cat, Prince.

Ashley enjoys the welcoming atmosphere fostered by the Smoking Research Lab and UB clinical psychology program. 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.


Dowd, A., & Tiffany, S. (2018) A Comparison of Tobacco and Electronic Cigarette Reward Value Measured During a Laboratory Cue-Reactivity Task: The Validation of the Choice Behavior Under Cued Conditions (CBUCC) Procedure for Concurrent Conventional and Electronic Cigarette Users. Nicotine & Tobacco Research.

Dowd, A. N., Motschman, C. A., & Tiffany, S. T. (2018). Development and validation of the Questionnaire of Vaping Craving. Nicotine and Tobacco Research, nty046,

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 is a 5th year Ph.D. student in the clinical psychology program. Her primary research interest is understanding the motivational factors related to drug addiction, with a specific focus on craving and reward functioning in nicotine dependence. She has published research comparing craving and reward valuation of cigarette and food, as well as the effect of acute smoking abstinence on these variables. A recent project is a meta-analysis on cue reactivity in tobacco cigarette smokers. She is involved in a randomized clinical trial for smoking cessation, and hopes to help improve such treatments through understanding treatment mechanisms. Her dissertation is examining contextual factors that distinguish between the use tobacco and electronic cigarettes in dual users.

Before joining the Smoking Research Lab, Jen 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. Her supervisors were Dr. Amy Janes in the Functional Integration of Addiction Research Lab, and Drs. Scott Lukas and Yasmin Mashhoon in the Behavioral Psychopharmacology Research Lab.

Outside of the lab, Jen enjoys reading, watching Netflix, hiking, sailing, guessing the plot of Hallmark movies within the first few minutes, and trying to convince Ashley’s cat to like her.

Jen 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.

Selected Publications:

Betts, J. M., Dowd, A. N., Forney, M., Hetelekides, E., & Tiffany, S. T. (2020). A Meta-Analysis of Cue Reactivity in Tobacco Cigarette Smokers. Nicotine & Tobacco Research,

Betts, J.M. & Tiffany, S. T. (2019). Comparing the reward value of cigarettes and food during tobacco abstinence and nonabstinenceDrug and Alcohol Dependence, 204, 107475. 

Janes, A.C, Zegel, M., Ohashi, K., Betts, J., Molokotos, E., Olson, D., Moran, L., & Pizzagalli, D.A. (2018). Nicotine normalizes cortico-striatal connectivity in non-smoking individuals with major depressive disorder. Neuropsychopharmacology, 1-7.

Mashhoon, Y., Betts, J., Farmer, S.L., & Lukas, S.E. (2018). Early onset smokers exhibit greater P300 reactivity to smoking-related stimuli and report greater craving. Brain research, 1687, 173-184

Mashhoon, Y., Betts, J., Farmer, S.L., & Lukas, S.E. (2018). Early onset tobacco cigarette smokers exhibit deficits in response inhibition and sustained attention. Drug and Alcohol Dependence, 184, 48-56.

Moran, L.V., Betts, J., Ongur, D., & Janes, A.C. (2017). Neural responses to smoking cues in schizophrenia. Schizophrenia Bulletin, 44(3), 525-534.

Janes, A. C., Betts, J., Jensen, J. E., & Lukas, S. E. (2016). Dorsal anterior cingulate 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

Courtney A. Motschman, Ph.D., Postdoctoral Fellowship, Alcohol and Addictions Research T32 (NIH/NIAAA), University of Missouri, Columbia

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