Richard O'Connor, PhD

Professor of Oncology
Department of Health Behavior
Division of Cancer Prevention and Population Sciences
Member (Epidemiology & Prevention)
Professor and Director of Graduate Studies, Cancer Pathology and Prevention
Roswell Park Graduate Division
Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center
Research Assistant Professor of Social and Preventive Medicine
School of Public Health and Health Professions
State University of New York at Buffalo


Dr. Richard J. O'Connor is a Professor of Oncology at Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center. He joined Roswell Park's staff in 2004 as a Postdoctoral Fellow and was appointed Member of the Department of Health Behavior, Division of Cancer Prevention and Population Sciences in 2015. Additionally, he serves as Director of Graduate Studies for the Cancer Pathology and Prevention doctoral program in the Roswell Park Graduate Division (University at Buffalo), Adjunct Assistant Professor of Community Health and Health Behavior, and as Research Assistant Professor of Epidemiology and Environmental Health with the University at Buffalo School of Public Health and Health Professions.

Dr. O'Connor has authored more than 100 scientific papers on topics related to tobacco control. His program of research focuses on building the evidence base for tobacco regulatory science, with a particular focus on product-user interactions. He is a co-investigator on the International Tobacco Control Policy Evaluation Project (ITC), which is investigating the impact of national level tobacco control policies across more than 20 different countries. He is also a project director on the NCI-funded Consortium on Methods for Evaluating Tobacco (COMET), which is working to develop state-of-the art methods for assessing tobacco product abuse liability, consumer perceptions, and toxicity. 

Other work focuses include: impact of tobacco policy on product use, assessment of consumer interest in novel tobacco products as substitutes for cigarettes, and the development of unobtrusive methods for assessing smoke exposure. 

The Tobacco Research Laboratory, which Dr. O’Connor directs, works to characterize popular products sold on the international market in terms of physical and design features, so as to provide greater insight into user-product interactions that may affect addiction and/or health outcomes. The laboratory also houses the International Tobacco Product Repository, which is creating cohort surveillance of popular tobacco products in a number of countries. 

Dr. O’Connor’s  work has been published in Addiction, American Journal of Epidemiology, British Medical Journal, Tobacco Control, Nicotine and Tobacco Research, and Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers, and Prevention.


Education and Training: 
PhD (Biobehavioral Health) Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA
BA (Psychology) George Washington University, Washington, DC