San Diego State University’s Measurement and Evaluation Group, or MERG, does just that–we measure and evaluate the environment and various factors in the environment, like tobacco. Our interdisciplinary group of researchers brings together skill sets ranging from public health and policy to psychology and communication. We place a big emphasis on community health, so there are many opportunities for study participation from the general public. Explore our current projects to find out how you can get involved!

Current Projects

Thirdhand Smoke Resource Center

Do you know what thirdhand smoke is? It’s the toxic residual chemicals from tobacco and cannabis smoking that can collect in places like your home and car. The Thirdhand Smoke Resource Center aims to inform and protect people from thirdhand smoke.

Tobaco Product Waste Reduction Project

We’ve all seen cigarette butts lying on the street or sidewalk. Cigarette butts, e-smoking pods, and cannabis trash can all contain cancer-causing chemicals. The Tobacco Product Waste Reduction Project helps communities reduce this harmful waste.

Tobacco, E-Cigarette, & Marijauna Project (TEM)

Do you live in multiunit housing, like an apartment or condominium complex? Your neighbor’s tobacco and cannabis smoke can travel from between units and affect your health. The Tobacco, E-Cigarette, & Marijuana Project surveys residents and samples their homes to better understand traveling toxic smoke.

Imperial Valley Youth for a Tobacco-Free Environment

SDSU has teamed up with Comite Civico del Valle (CCV) in Imperial County, CA to involve high schoolers in tobacco-related research and education. The Imperial Valley Youth for a Tobacco-Free Environment has produced a semester’s worth of tobacco education modules for public use.

Healthy Homes 5

Multiunit homes are especially susceptible to thirdhand tobacco smoke exposure, even if the current residents do not smoke. Healthy Homes 5 coordinates with mulitunit housing residents to collect thirdhand smoke samples from homes before and after remediation efforts.

Cincinnati – ADVOCATE

How does exposure to first-, second-, and thirdhand smoke compare when it comes to a child’s health? The Cincinnati – ADVOCATE project aims to find out by comparing the health and types of tobacco exposure of children.

Tobacco Product Waste White Paper

White papers are reports or guides intended to inform people about an issue. The Tobacco Product Waste White Paper project teams up with experts on tobacco and tobacco exposure to produce a white paper for policymakers and public health officials to work towards tobacco waste solutions in communities.


Don’t see what you’re looking for?

Community Partners


Ultimately, our research is for the benefit of the community. We value our community partners and work closely with them throughout multiple projects. You can see more about our community partners on each of their websites and social media, as well as on our project pages.

Meet our Researchers


Christopher Harrison, PhD

Associate Professor of Chemistry in SDSU’s Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry

Co-Investigator of MERG project studying thirdhand smoke

Read more about Chris

Euhna Hoh, PhD

Professor of Environmental Health at SDSU’s School of Public Health

Co-Investigator of the Thirdhand Smoke Resource Center

Read more about Euhna

Georg Matt, PhD

Professor of Psychology at
San Diego State University

Principal Investigator on MERG projects and Director of the Thirdhand Smoke Resource Center

Read more about Georg

Joseph Gibbons, PhD

Associate Professor of Sociology and Associate Director of SDSU’s Human Dynamics in the Mobile Age Center

Read more about Joe

Lydia Greiner, DrPH, APRN

Lecturer in Nursing at SDSU’s Imperial Valley Campus

Coordinator of MERG projects, including the Thirdhand Smoke Resource Center

Read more about Lydia

Melbourne Hovell, PhD, MPH

Division of Health Promotion and Behavioral Science
Adjunct Professor

Read more about Mel

Nathan Dodder, PhD

Research Scientist at the SDSU Research Foundation

Co-Investigator of a couple of MERG projects

Read more about Nathan

Nicolas Lopez-Galvez, PhD, MPH

Lecturer at SDSU’s School of Public Health

Project Coordinator for several MERG projects

Read more about Nicolas

Penelope (Jenny) Quintana, PhD

Professor of Public Health and Associate Director for Student Affairs
at SDSU’s School of Public Health

Lead Researcher with the Thirdhand
Smoke Resource Center

Read more about Jenny

Rachael Record, PhD

Associate Professor of Communication at SDSU’s College of Professional Studies & Fine Arts

Associate Director and Co-Investigator of the Thirdhand Smoke Resource Center

Read more about Rachael

Thomas Novotny, MD, MPH, DSc (Hon)

Professor Emeritus of Epidemiology and Biostatistics at the SDSU School of Public Health

Read more about Thomas

Meet our Team


Elizabeth Luna Tinoco (she/her)

B.S. Kinesiology from CSU Monterey Bay, 2015

MPH from San Diego State University (expected August 2021)

Read more about Elizabeth

Estela Delgado Rodriguez (she/her)

B.A. Healthcare Policy from Mount Saint Mary’s University

MPH/M.A. Latin American Studies from San Diego State University (expected summer 2023)

Read more about Estela

Jennifer Dill

B.S. Journalism from the University of Maryland

Community Outreach Coordinator for the Tobacco Product Waste Reduction Project

Read more about Jennifer

Jessica Pugel (she/her)

A.S. Natural Sciences from Sierra College, 2017

B.A. Psychology from Cal State Long Beach, 2019

M.A. Psychology from San Diego State University (expected May 2021)

Read more about Jessica

Leta Dickinson (she/her)

B.S. Environmental Science and Journalism double major from Northwestern University, 2019

MPH (expected 2023)

Read more about Leta

Lucia Alvarez-Malo Flores (she/her)

B.S. Communication from San Diego State University, 2019

MPH/M.A. in Latin American Studies (expected spring 2023)

Read more about Lucia here

Nalima Joshi (she/her)

B.S. Public Health from UC Irvine, 2017

MPH San Diego State University (expected spring 2021)

Read more about Nalima here

Rebeca Jiménez (she/her)

B.A. Psychology and Spanish from San Diego State University

Read more about Rebeca here

Sam Padilla (he/him)

B.A. Psychology from San Diego State University

Read more about Sam here