Mechanical engineering professor appointed to Tobacco Products Scientific Advisory Committee

A. Sue Weisler

Risa Robinson, department head of mechanical engineering, demonstrates one of the devices she and her research team developed to assess e-cigarette usage. Through her research and experience in this area, she was recently appointed to an FDA advisory committee to further study and evaluate the health effects of tobacco products.

Risa Robinson was appointed to the Food and Drug Administration’s Center for Tobacco Products Scientific Advisory Committee. She’ll hold a five-year term working with the center. Its focus is on reducing the negative health effects of tobacco products through the development of policy, regulations and recommendations based on research and evaluation of current and new products.

Robinson, department head of mechanical engineering in RIT’s Kate Gleason College of Engineering, brings extensive research in the area of fluid dynamics, particle inhalation and toxicological effects of various tobacco products and nicotine delivery devices. Her research funding for this work has come from the National Institutes of Health, American Cancer Society, Department of Defense, and National Science Foundation.

She and members of her research team in the Respiratory Technology Lab have developed novel instruments and processes to test inhalation after noting that smoking machines in test labs, rather than actual smokers, were used to provide data. Robinson detailed the need for gathering data about more realistic behaviors. Her lab led the way for providing this more accurate information to organizations such as the FDA, and she continues work in this area as well as in in the investigation of the impact of nicotine concentration on addiction liability and health effects.

Robinson will assume an advisory role with the center on July 5 and work with its committee members on issues and policy reviews that arise. She will retain her role in RIT’s engineering college.

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