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2102 Skinner Building

University of Maryland

College Park, MD 20742


tel: 301-405-0640

fax: 301-314-9471


Email: nan[at]umd.edu

Short Bio

Dr. Xiaoli Nan is a Distinguished Scholar-Teacher and professor of Communication Science at the University of Maryland-College Park, where she is the director of the Center for Health and Risk Communication. Dr. Nan is an affiliate professor in the Department of Behavioral and Community Health, a faculty associate of the Joint Institute for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, and a full member of the Marlene and Stewart Greenebaum Comprehensive Cancer Center's Population Science Program.


Dr. Nan’s research centers on the science of persuasion, or the study of how individuals form or change beliefs and attitudes, and how these mental states are shaped by persuasive communication. Dr. Nan applies the science of persuasion to understand the effects of health communication, misinformation, emerging media, and advertising and social marketing. Dr. Nan’s interdisciplinary work tackles pressing public health challenges such as cancer prevention, vaccination, pandemics, climate change, and food safety and nutrition. At Maryland, Dr. Nan regularly teaches courses on health communication, persuasion and attitude change, media effects, and quantitative research methods.


Dr. Nan has published extensively in her areas of specialization with over 80 peer-reviewed journal articles. Dr. Nan’s work appears in top communication and interdisciplinary journals including Human Communication Research, Communication Research, Health Communication, Journal of Health Communication, Journalism and Mass Communication Quarterly, Journal of Advertising, Marketing Theory, Health Education, Social Science and Medicine, and Vaccine.


Dr. Nan has been a Principal Investigator or Co-Principal Investigator on grants awarded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the National Science Foundation, the Department of Energy’s (DOE) Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E), the Food and Drug Administration, the Department of Agriculture, and the Department of Homeland Security, totaling over $8.5 million. She has served as a PI on three NIH-funded projects on cancer communication strategies targeting under-served populations. Dr. Nan’s current funded research addresses public health messaging on HPV and COVID-19 vaccination.


Dr. Nan has been a senior editor for the journal Health Communication since 2018 and serves on the editorial boards of several academic journals including Human Communication Research, Communication Research, the Journal of Health Communication, and the Journal of Advertising. She was an elected member of the executive committee of the Communication Theory and Methodology Division of AEJMC and served on the research committee of the American Academy of Advertising. Dr. Nan previously served as the Vice-Chair and Chair of the Health Communication Division of the National Communication Association.


Dr. Nan is the recipient of several awards including the Mayhew Derryberry Award (honoring outstanding contributions to health education research theory and recognizing outstanding behavioral scientists) from the Public Health Education and Health Promotion Section of the American Public Health Association (2018), the Lewis Donohew Outstanding Health Communication Scholar Award from the Kentucky Conference on Health Communication (2020), and the Outstanding Health Communication Scholar Award from the Health Communication Division of the National Communication Association (2022).