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Brianna Rego

I came to Stanford in the fall of 2006 after graduating from Oberlin College, where I studied History and Geology. I was excited to work with Robert Proctor on something to do with secret science, history of medicine, radiation, neuroscience, Cold War science, and science policy. I really didn't think I would find a topic that related to all my interests, but that was before I discovered the huge, fascinating, and important topic that is the tobacco industry. My dissertation, titled "Behind a Veil of Smoke: Big Tobacco and the Hidden History of R&D at Philip Morris, 1950-1985," was a history of the Department of Research and Development at the largest tobacco company. I am interested in the scientific research conducted by the industry itself on the health hazards and dangers of smoking. Throughout the mid-to-late-twentieth century the tobacco industry was publicly denying the harms of smoking. At the same time, industry scientists were working in various ways on projects related to the very harms the industry was denying. I am excited to continue this work and begin new projects on the history of the tobacco industry and the history of industry science as a postdoctoral fellow at the Center for Tobacco Control Research and Eduction at the University of California, San Francisco. During my time at Stanford, I also earned a Master's degree in the Department of Geological and Environmental Sciences, working with the paleobiology research group on the end-Permian mass extinction and biotic recovery during the Triassic. My Paleo research was completely unrelated to my research in the history of science, but mass extinctions are really cool and being a geologist lets you call hiking and camping "research." This fit in really well with my lifestyle since I'm from Idaho and love climbing mountains.