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Tayanna Smith, MPH

Associate Scientist I
Study Management

Black woman in car with hand on face blue fingernails

What Drives Me Most

Family. Cancer is prominent on the maternal side of my family, which sparked my interest in cancer research. I lost my nana to cancer the same week I accepted my position at the American Cancer Society. I look forward to helping others and hope that my contribution to this team will reduce the number of people who lose a loved one to this disease.”

At ACS since 2021

As Associate Scientist I in the Study Management team within Population Science, Tayanna Smith, MPH, helps process incoming survey data for Cancer Prevention Study 3 (CPS-3). Specifically, she provides critical statistical programming support and data management for CPS-3 triennial survey data alongside Elizabeth Kirkland, MPH. She assists with data clean-up and quality control processes.

Research focus and accomplishments

My research experience began during my undergraduate education in chemistry. My research team was dedicated to nanotechnology and doping nanoparticles. As a team, we studied the chemical properties of semiconducting materials, which includes metal sulfide alloy nanoparticles such as CdxZn1-xS. In other words, we could produce desired optical properties of nanoparticles and contribute to new discoveries in its current applications to LEDs, lasers, and bioimaging in medicine.

I synthesized a test protocol that involved a range of Cd to Zn ratios with a small amount of manganese (II) as a dopant to activate phosphorescence within the nanoparticle and determined that Anderson Localization minimizes optimal surface composition at a .575 Zn mole fraction. These results suggest alloy semiconductors could be used to minimize near-surface state effects in electronic devices. This discovery helped steer a future experiment for incoming research students such as probing this system with cyclic voltammetry, looking at fluorescent signals, or experimenting with Cu as a dopant.



Work before ACS

  • Georgia Department of Public Health: Case Investigator
  • Mercer University: Department of Chemistry, Undergraduate Research Assistant


  • BS: Chemistry, minor in Anthropology, Mercer University, 2019
  • MPH: Health Policy and Management, Rollins School of Public Health, Emory University, 2021

Personal life 

I live in Metro Atlanta, and I spend my free time with my dog Choco, trying new restaurants, and enjoying the company of friends and family.