Ph.D. in Physical Chemistry, Emory University, 1982
B.S. in Chemistry, Emory University, 1978
Dr. David Ashley is a Research Professor in the School of Public Health at Georgia State University. He was appointed to this position in August 2017. Before that, he spent 33 years in the United States Public Health Service, retiring in 2016 at the rank of Assistant Surgeon General/Rear Admiral-Lower Half.
He was at the Environmental Health Laboratory of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Environmental Health from 1983 until 2010. Starting in June 2010 he was the inaugural director of the Office of Science of the Food and Drug Administration’s Center for Tobacco Products (FDA/CTP). In this role, he was instrumental in carrying out the regulatory authorities of the 2009 law which gave FDA authority to regulate tobacco products; this law requires that FDA base its decisions on science, including proposals to reduce the harm caused to those who smoke and to discourage youngsters from smoking. FDA CTP’s Office of Science is responsible for identifying, developing, and enhancing the science related to tobacco products, their use, and the resulting morbidity and mortality so that regulatory decisions will have the greatest impact on improving public health. To accomplish this goal, they provide the scientific support for regulations and guidance, review tobacco product applications, evaluate the knowledge basis for regulatory decisions, and carry out research to fill the gaps in scientific knowledge related to tobacco product regulation.
Dr. Ashley has performed extensive research related to the impact of cigarette design and contents on the emissions from tobacco products, how people use tobacco products, and resulting biomarkers of exposure. He has published over 140 peer-reviewed articles and book chapters related to biophysics, environmental chemicals, biomarkers of exposure and the constituents of tobacco and tobacco smoke. He was a contributing author for the recent Surgeon General’s Report entitled How Tobacco Causes Disease—The Biology and Behavioral Basis for Tobacco-Attributable Disease and has presented extensively at scientific meetings on the chemistry of tobacco and tobacco smoke and biomarkers of exposure. He serves on the World Health Organization (WHO) Study Group for Tobacco Product Regulation and was the Chair of the WHO Tobacco Laboratory Network from 2006 until 2010.
Ashley DL, Bonin MA, Cardinali FL, McCraw JM, Holler JL, Needham LL, Patterson DG Jr, Determining volatile organic compounds in human blood from a large sample population by using purge and trap gas chromatography/mass spectrometry, Anal Chem 64:1021-1029, 1992.
Hamar GB, McGeehin MA, Phifer BL, Ashley DL, Volatile organic compound testing of a study population living near a hazardous waste site, J Exp Anal Environ Epidem 6:247-255, 1996.
Lemire SW, Ashley DL, Calafat, AM. Quantitative determination of the hydrolysis products of nitrogen mustards in human urine by liquid chromatography-electrospray ionization tandem mass spectrometry, J Anal Tox 27:1-6, 2003.
Ashley DL, Beeson MD, Johnson DR, McCraw JM, Richter P, Pirkle JL, Pechacek T, Song S, Watson CH. Tobacco-specific nitrosamines in tobacco from US brand and non-US brand cigarettes, Nicotine and Tobacco Research 5:323-331, 2003.
Ashley DL, Singer PC, Wilkes C, Blount B, DePaz E, Lyu C, Masters J. Changes in blood trihalomethane concentrations resulting from differences in water quality and water use activities. Arch Environm Occup Health 60(1):7-15, 2005.
Polzin GM, Zhang L, Hearn BA, Tavakoli AD, Vaughan C, Ashley DL, Watson CH. Effect of charcoal-containing filters on gas phase volatile organic compounds. Tobacco Control 2008 Sep;17(Suppl 1):i10-6.
Solano MI, Thomas J, Taylor JT, McGuire JM, Jakubowski EM, Thomson SA, Maggio VL, Preston K, Smith JR, Capacio B, Ashley DL, Barr JR. Quantification of nerve agent VX-butyrylcholinesterase adduct biomarker from an accidental exposure. J Anal Toxicol 2008 Jan-Feb; 32(1):68-72.
Ashley DL, Pankow JF, Tavakoli AD, Watson CH. Approaches, challenges and experience in assessing free nicotine. In Nicotine Psychophamacology. JE Henningfield et al.(eds.), Handbook of Experimental Pharmacology, Volume 192. Springer-Verlag, Berlin. Pages 438-456, 2009.
Ashley DL, O’Connor RJ, Bernert JT, Watson CH, Polzin GM, Jain RB, Hammond D, Hatsukami DK, Giovino GA, Cummings KM, McNeill A, Shahab L, King B, Fong GT, Zhang L, Xia Y, Yan X, McCraw JM. Effect of differing levels of tobacco-specific nitrosamines in cigarette smoke on the levels of biomarkers in smokers. Cancer Epidemiology Biomarkers and Prevention Jun 2010; 19(6): 1389-98.
Ashley DL, Backinger CL. Research to inform the Food and Drug Administration’s regulation of tobacco – The Center for Tobacco Products’ Office of Science, American Journal of Preventive Medicine Nov 2012; 43(5 Suppl 3): S255-63.
Ashley DL, Backinger CL, van Bemmel DM, Neveleff DJ. Tobacco regulatory science: Research to inform regulatory action at the Food and Drug Administration’s Center for Tobacco Products. Nicotine and Tobacco Research Aug 2014; 16(8):1045-9.