Maria Leonora “Nori” Comello teaches in the public relations specialization and is affiliated with the Interdisciplinary Health Communication program.  Her research lies at the intersection of strategic communication, health and identity. In particular, she studies the potential for messages to frame health in terms of valued identities, as well as the effects of activated identities on behavioral decision-making.

Her work on the role of identity in strategic communication has received top theory paper recognition at national conference. In addition, her research has appeared in peer-reviewed journals, including Media Psychology, Games for Health Journal, Communication Theory, Health Communication, Journal of Health Communication, Health Marketing Quarterly, Cases in Public Health Communication and Social Marketing, Journal of Health Psychology, and Hispanic Health Care International.

Comello has conducted experiments testing the effects of health messages on self-concept accessibility and behavioral willingness. Her recent work in the digital sphere includes a study of recreational online/computer gameplay among cancer survivors and the associations among gameplay motivations, self-concepts, and mental health. She is also involved in research to inform the development of a "smart" cigarette case, a cessation tool that delivers tailored messages to encourage progress toward becoming tobacco free.

Prior to entering academia, Comello worked in PR for non-profit and for-profit organizations. She welcomes opportunities to collaborate with students and faculty.



  • Ph.D., Ohio State University
  • M.S., Colorado State University
  • B.A., University of Pennsylvania