Hilary Aurora Tindle, MD, MPH
Photo: Hilary Aurora Tindle


Elected 2021

Dr. Hilary Tindle is the inaugural William Anderson Spickard, Jr., Endowed Chair in Addiction Medicine at Vanderbilt University Medical Center and a leading international physician investigator focused on the impact of nicotine addiction on human health. Her research program integrates observational studies with clinical trials to improve health among nicotine users. She has had sustained R01 funding from multiple NIH institutes, served on NIH study section panels, led a National Cancer Institute Tobacco Control Monograph chapter, and contributes to US Surgeon General’s Reports on Tobacco Control.

Dr. Tindle’s seminal work leveraging the Framingham Heart Study established that former smokers remain at increased risk for CVD and lung cancer for up to 25 years after quitting smoking, findings which exposed the underestimation of smoking-related disease risk for millions of former smokers. Published in JAMA, the former study earned the American Heart Association’s Paul Dudley White award.

Her pioneering trial of nicotine gum for cessation in non-daily smokers was the first to report on efficacy of medicinal nicotine in this population, and to establish that nicotine gum used during a temptation to smoke can avert a lapse to smoking. In this placebo-controlled randomized trial, nicotine gum use was low and did not increase rates of continuous abstinence at 6 months. When used during temptations, nicotine gum reduced odds of lapsing by 55%, indicating a role for short-acting nicotine in non-daily smokers.

Board certified in addition medicine, Dr. Tindle conceptualizes, develops, and tests efficacy of novel clinical interventions while simultaneously probing their mechanisms. Her ongoing interventions aim to: 1) repurpose nicotinic acetylcholine receptor partial agonists for heavy-drinking smokers with HIV, 2) test high-dose n-3 long chain polyunsaturated fatty acid supplementation for smoking cessation in pregnancy, and 3) bring precision to addiction treatment by tailoring pharmacotherapy to genetic variability in hepatic nicotine metabolism.