James Clifford, PhD, MS

James Clifford Assistant Professor

office: ECHI 2235
phone: 252-744-4079
email: cliffordj22@ecu.edu

Dr. Clifford completed his BS in psychology at Virginia Tech and received a MS in Experimental Psychology from Radford University. He was a Research Assistant at the University of Kentucky (Center for Drug and Alcohol Research) and Brown University (Center for Alcohol and Addiction Studies). Dr. Clifford received his PhD from Virginia Commonwealth University, where he retains Affiliate Research Faculty status, and is currently an Assistant Professor in the Department of Public Health at ECU. Dr. Clifford taught in the School of Social Work at VCU and at ECPI University prior to joining the faculty at ECU.

Dr. Clifford’s research interests broadly revolve around the genetic and environmental influences that impact substance use and mental health. He has experience utilizing twin methodology and genome-wide association techniques. He is currently participating in an international consortium investigating specific genetic variants and aggregate genetic influences on electronic cigarette use. Dr. Clifford is also interested in the interplay between genetics and the environment (gene by environment interaction) and how environmental manipulation may influence genetic effects. How individuals switch tobacco use between products (e.g., cigarettes, e-cigarettes, and dual use) and forms (e.g., burned versus aerosolized tobacco) are areas of environmental research interest. Finally, Dr. Clifford is interested in developing novel ways of probing the genome and quantifying genetic risk beyond currently available methodologies.


  • BS, Psychology, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA
  • MS, Experimental Psychology, Radford University, Radford, VA
  • PhD, Epidemiology, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, VA

Areas of Interest

  • Genetic Epidemiology
  • Substance Use, Focus on Electronic Cigarettes
  • Mental Health
  • Epidemiologic Methodology

Dr. James Clifford Curriculum Vitae (PDF)