USC TCORS: Part of a National Mission

The FDA and NIH, as part of an on-going interagency partnership, awarded 9 Tobacco Centers of Regulatory Science (TCORS) grants in September 2018 to support research to inform the regulation of tobacco products. In this second round of funding, the TCORS 2.0 research centers will receive, in total, more than $151 million in grants for funding years 2018-2022. What scientists learn about tobacco through the TCORS program helps inform and assess FDA’s prior, ongoing, and potential regulatory activities. TCORS investigators also have the flexibility and capacity to respond to FDA’s research needs as issues are raised in today’s rapidly evolving tobacco marketplace.


What is Tobacco Regulatory Science?

Regulatory Science is the science of developing new tools, standards and approaches to assess the safety, efficacy, quality and performance of (mainly) FDA-regulated products. Similarly, Tobacco Regulatory Science (TRS) is the development and application of a scientific base that will guide the FDA’s efforts in the drafting and implementation of regulations on the manufacture, marketing and sale/distribution of the variety of tobacco products, with the goal of protecting public health. TRS, especially with respect to the roles and responsibility of the TCORS does not include an advocacy role. In other words, TCORS are not funded to implement tobacco control activities, but rather to provide scientific evidence to guide the FDA’s decision-making process. USC TCORS’ aims listed on our ‘About: Overview’ page identifies the ways in which we direct our specific research to inform tobacoo regulation.

Our Structure

Three major cores and four research projects constitute the proposed TCORS.

The Administrative Core provides a structural organization to facilitate administrative and scientific oversight as well as timely and efficient communication and integrative links among all Cores and Projects. It will also serve as the direct recipient of input from the National Tobacco regulatory Science Network, which we define as FDA Center for Tobacco Products staff, NIH/TRSP program staff, Center for Coordination of Analytics, Science, Enhancement, and Logistics (CASEL), and other TCORSs, and External Advisory Board (EAB).

USC TCORS org chart


Soto St. Building

The facilities that support USC-TCORS’s research are located on the third floor of the USC Soto Street Building right outside the USC Health Sciences Campus just east of downtown Los Angeles. This space is the home of faculty offices for TCORS Principal Investigators, office space for field-research staff, and a workroom for survey preparation, development, and data storage.

HEAL Laboratory

The biobehavioral research facilities at USC-HEAL are designed for conducting human laboratory studies of substance use and other related health behaviors. Located in the Institute for Genetic Medicine Building at the USC Health Sciences Campus, the facilities include four observation suites. Each suite contains an observation room equipped with chair, desk, computer (for participants to complete computerized cognitive tasks), and ventilation systems to clear smoke. In addition, suites contain large one-way mirrors and intercoms to allow visibility and communication from adjoining research control areas. Adjacent to USC-HEAL are biospecimen facilities that are equipped for the handling, storage, and analysis of biological samples (e.g., saliva, urine, and plasma).