Stella Tommasi, PhD

Assistant Professor of Research Population and Public Health Sciences



I am an Assistant Professor of Research in the Department of Population and Public Health Sciences (PPHS) and a Full Member of the USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center (NCCC), Genomic and Epigenomic Regulation Program (GER). Research in my laboratory focuses on investigating the molecular mechanisms underlying the development of cancer and other chronic diseases. Specifically, we aim to elucidate how the genome and epigenome are affected by lifestyle (e.g., smoking, vaping, diet) and environmental exposures (e.g., air pollutants, chemical contaminants). Using a combination of novel seq-based omics technologies, classic molecular biology assays, and bioinformatics tools, my group investigates the role played by tobacco toxicants/carcinogens (and environmental pollutants) in the pathogenesis of cancer and nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), a primary form of liver disease and a growing global epidemic. Characterizing the interaction of genetic, epigenetic, and environmental determinants can provide insights into the complexity and heterogeneity of cancer and NAFLD. Improving our mechanistic understanding of their etiology will be instrumental in developing effective strategies for the prevention, early detection, treatment and monitoring of these diseases.

Research Interests

  • Disparities
  • Vulnerable Populations
  • Chronic Conditions
  • Risk Factors
  • Cancer
  • Lifestyle
  • Molecular Epidemiology
  • Genetics
  • Translational Research
  • Exposures
  • Human Health Impacts
  • Environmental Omics
  • PFAS
  • Informatics
  • Genomic Data Sciences

Courses Taught

  • Introduction to Health Promotion and Disease Prevention
  • Foundations in Health Education and Promotion