Our People


Nicholas A. Christakis

Nicholas A. Christakis, MD, PhD, MPH, is a social scientist and physician who conducts research on social factors that affect health, health care, and longevity. He directs the Human Nature Lab at Yale University, and is the Co-Director of the Yale Institute for Network Science. He is the Sol Goldman Family Professor of Social and Natural Science at Yale University. Dr. Christakis’s current research is focused on the relationship between social networks and health. People are inter-connected, and so their health is inter-connected. This research engages two types of phenomena: the social, mathematical, and biological rules governing how social networks form (“connection”), and the biological and social implications of how they operate to influence thoughts, feelings, and behaviors (“contagion”).


Daniel Spielman
Daniel Alan Spielman received his B.A. in Mathematics and Computer Science from Yale in 1992, and his Ph.D. in Applied Mathematics from M.I.T. in 1995. He spent a year as a NSF Mathematical Sciences Postdoc in the Computer Science Department at U.C. Berkeley, and then taught in the Applied Mathematics Department at M.I.T. until 2005.  Since 2006, he has been a Professor at Yale University.  He is presently the Henry Ford II Professor of Computer Science, Mathematics, and Applied Mathematics.  

He has received many awards, including the 1995 ACM Doctoral Dissertation Award, the 2002 IEEE Information Theory Paper Award, the 2008 and 2015 Godel Prize, the 2009 Fulkerson Prize, the 2010 Nevanlinna Prize, the 2014 Polya Prize, an inaugural Simons Investigator Award, and a MacArthur Fellowship.  He is a Fellow of the Association for Computing Machinery and a member of the Connecticut Academy of Science and Engineering.  His main research interests include the design and analysis of algorithms, network science,machine learning, digital communications and scientific computing.


Tom Keegan
Tom Keegan is Executive Director of YINS, providing administrative leadership to the institute and contributing to long-term strategic planning for its current and future position at Yale and in the larger world of network science research. He oversees programs and projects advancing the educational, research, and service missions of YINS, as well as those that seek to forge partnerships between YINS and entities outside of Yale. Tom has a Ph.D. in social psychology from Cornell University and has been working in research administration for the last twelve years. In addition to his role at YINS, Tom is Lab Director for the Human Nature Lab of YINS Co-Director Nicholas Christakis. 


Emily Hau
Emily is the Director of Programs and Partnerships at YINS. She has worked at Yale since 2008. Emily received her BA in geography from Ohio Wesleyan University in 2006, before studying international business law at the American University of Paris. Upon her return to the United States, she was recruited for a postgraduate fellowship in developmental social neuroscience at the Yale University School of Medicine. She co-founded the Give Speech Foundation, a nonprofit with a simple mission: to make augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) technology better, cheaper, and more accessible. Emily firmly believes smiles are contagious (she’s right) and that Yale University is the happiest place on earth.


Jessica Helfand
Jessica Helfand is a designer, writer, and educator, and the artist in residence at the Yale Institute for Network Science. She has written for numerous national publications, and is the author of several books on visual and cultural criticism including Screen: Essays on Graphic Design, New Media and Visual Culture (2001), Reinventing the Wheel (2002) and the critically acclaimed Scrapbooks: An American History. Her next book, Design: The Invention of Desire, will be published in early 2016 by Yale University Press. A co-founder of Design Observer where she co-hosts the podcast The Observatory, Helfand is a Senior Critic in Graphic Design at the Yale School of Art, a Lecturer in Yale College, and a faculty affiliate in the History of Science. In 2015, she was appointed Artist in Residence at YINS. Named the first Henry Wolf Resident in Design at the American Academy in Rome in 2010, Jessica Helfand is a member of the Alliance Graphique Internationale and the Art Director’s Hall of Fame. She won the AIGA medal, the design profession’s highest honor, in 2013.

Wenjun Hu
Wenjun Hu is an Assistant Professor of Electrical Engineering and (by courtesy) Computer Science at Yale. She is based in the newly launched Yale Institute for Network Science. Her research lies in improving physical networked system infrastructures, which revolves around building faster networks, more robust and scalable services, and supporting richer functionalities. In the past her research has explored the application of techniques from communications, information, and coding theories to practical system design and prototyping on real systems. Her current focus is on taming system dynamics and making wireless systems smarter.

Until the end of 2013, she was a researcher in the Wireless and Networking Group at Microsoft Research Asia. Previously, she was a postdoctoral research associate at the Department of Computer Science and Engineering at the University of Washington with Professor David Wetherall. She did her PhD with Professor Jon Crowcroft in the Systems Research Group at the University of Cambridge Computer Laboratory, though spending about 7 months each at MIT CSAIL and Microsoft Research Cambridge during her PhD.


Amin KarbasiAmin Karbasi
Amin Karbasi is an Assistant Professor of the Electrical Engineering department. His research lies at the intersection of learning theory, large-scale networks, and optimum information processing. From 2013 until 2014, he was a post-doctoral scholar in the learning and adaptive systems group at ETHZ. He obtained his PhD from the Department of Computer and Communication Sciences at EPFL in 2012. Dr. Karbasi is the recipient of the ETH research fellowship grant (2013), winner of the Patrick Denantes memorial prize (2013) for the best Ph.D. thesis in the school of computer and communication sciences at EPFL, co-recipient of ICASSP best student paper award (2011), co-recipient of ACM SIGMETRICS best student paper award (2010), and the runner-up for ISIT best student paper award (2010).


Dragomir RadevDragomir Radev

Dragomir Radev is a Professor of Computer Science and YINS in-house faculty as of January 1, 2017.  Professor Radev’s research interests are in Natural Language Processing (NLP), Information Retrieval, Machine Learning, and Artificial Intelligence. He is currently working on lexical semantics, sentiment analysis, question answering, text summarization, deep learning, scientometrics, and dialogue systems, as well as the application of NLP to the humanities, social sciences, and medicine. He has served his research community in several distinguished roles, including secretary of the ACL (Association for Computational Linguistics), co-founder of the North American Computational Linguistics Olympiad (NACLO), and coach of the US team for the International Linguistics Olympiad. He is the author or co-author of nearly 200 publications and the holder of three patents. In recognition of his sustained contributions to NLP and computational linguistics, he was honored with the rank of Fellow by ACM (the Association for Computing Machinery) and Michigan’s Faculty Recognition Award. His research has been funded by a number of sources including NIH, IBM, NSF, DARPA, and IARPA. At Yale, Professor Radev is teaching courses in Natural Language Processing and Artificial Intelligence and leads the LILY (Language, Information, and Learning at Yale) Lab.  Previously, Radev was a professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science and Information at the University of Michigan, where he was also affiliated with MIDAS (the Michigan Institute for Data Science) and the Department of Linguistics. He has worked or consulted for a number of major companies, including IBM, Yahoo!, Microsoft, and AT&T. He obtained his PhD in Computer Science in 1999 from Columbia University under the supervision of Professor Kathleen McKeown.  

Leandros Tassiulas
Leandros Tassiulas is the John C. Malone Professor of Electrical Engineering at Yale University.   His research interests are in the field of networking with emphasis on mathematical models and algorithms of complex networks, architectures and protocols of wireless systems, sensor networks, mobile services, novel internet architectures and experimental platforms for network research. His most notable contributions include the max-weight scheduling algorithm and the back-pressure network control policy, opportunistic scheduling in wireless, the maximum lifetime approach for wireless network energy management, and the consideration of joint access control and antenna transmission management in multiple antenna wireless systems. Dr. Tassiulas is a Fellow of IEEE (2007). His research has been recognized by several awards including the IEEE Koji Kobayashi computer and communications award in 2016, the inaugural INFOCOM 2007 Achievement Award “for fundamental contributions to resource allocation in communication networks,” the INFOCOM 1994 best paper award, a National Science Foundation (NSF) Research Initiation Award (1992), an NSF CAREER Award (1995), an Office of Naval Research  Young Investigator Award (1997) and a Bodossaki Foundation award (1999). He holds a Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering from the University of Maryland, College Park (1991). He has held faculty positions at Polytechnic University, New York, University of Maryland, College Park, and University of Thessaly, Greece.

Sekhar Tatikonda
Sekhar Tatikonda received his BS, MS, and PhD in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He was a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences at the University of California, Berkeley. He joined the Electrical Engineering Department at Yale in 2002.  He works broadly in the areas of communications, networking, and machine learning.  In particular he is interested in issues of coordination, cooperation, computation and learning in distributed and networked systems.  He was awarded the inaugural Ackerman Award for Teaching and Mentoring for having a positive impact on students and contributing to the educational mission of the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences and Yale.



Peter Aronow
Assistant Professor of Political Science

James Baron
William S. Beinecke Professor of Management
Professor of Sociology

Dirk Bergemann
Douglass and Marian Campbell
Professor of Economics

Scott Boorman
Professor of Sociology

Xi Chen
Assistant Professor of Public Health

Ronald Coifman
Phillips Professor of Mathematics and Professor of Computer Science, Biological, and Biomedical Sciences

Forrest Crawford
Assistant Professor of Public Health (Biostatistics)
Assistant Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
Yale School of Public Health

Florian Ederer
Assistant Professor of Economics

Emily Erikson
Assistant Professor of Sociology

Alison Galvani
Professor of Epidemiology (Microbial Diseases)
Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
Yale School of Medicine

Mark Gerstein
Albert L. Williams Professor of Biomedical Informatics
Program in Computational Biology and Bioinformatics
Departments of Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry and of Computer Science

Robert Heimer
Professor of Epidemiology (Microbial Diseases) and of Pharmacology
Director, Emerging Infections Program
Yale School of Public Health

Edward Kaplan
William N. and Marie A. Beach Professor of Operations Research, Professor of Public Health & Professor of Engineering
Yale School of Management

Trace Kershaw
Associate Professor of Epidemiology
Yale School of Public Health

Marissa King
Assistant Professor of Organizational Behavior and Sociology
Yale School of Management

Balázs Kovács
Assistant Professor of Organizational Behavior
Yale School of Management

Smita Krishnaswamy
Assistant Professor of Genetics
Yale School of Medicine

Vahideh Manshadi
Assistant Professor of Operations
Yale School of Management

A. Mushfiq Mobarak
Associate Professor of Economics
Yale School of Management

A. Stephen Morse
Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science

Sahand Negahban
Assistant Professor of Statistics

Andrew Papachristos
Associate Professor of Sociology
Faculty fellow at the Center for Research on Inequalities and the Life Course

Richard Prum
William Robertson Coe Professor of Ornithology
Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology

David Rand
Assistant Professor of Psychology

Nicholas Read
Henry Ford II Professor of Physics Professor of Applied Physics and Mathematics

Vladimir Rokhlin
Professor of Computer Science and Mathematics

Mark Saltzman
Chair, Department of Biomedical Engineering
Goizueta Foundation Professor of Chemical and Biomedical Engineering
Professor of Cellular and Molecular Physiology

Larry Samuelson
A. Douglas Melamed Professor of Economics

Laurie Santos
Associate Professor of Psychology

Olav Sorenson
Frederick Frank ‘54 and Mary C. Tanner Professor of Management
Professor of Sociology
Yale School of Management

Stephen Stearns
Edward P. Bass Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology

Paul Turner
Chair, Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology

Van Vu
Percey F. Smith Professor of Mathematics and Professor of Statistics and Data Science

Harrison Zhou
Chair, Department of Statistics

Steven W. Zucker
David and Lucile Packard Professor of Computer Science and Electrical Engineering


Soheil EshghiSoheil Esghi
Soheil Eshghi is a postdoctoral associate in the Electrical Engineering department at Yale University. His research interests are in applications of optimal control theory and game theory to networked systems. In particular, his work has focused on more efficient resource allocation in epidemics and advertising. He obtained his PhD degree in Electrical and Systems Engineering from the University of Pennsylvania in 2015 under the guidance of Prof. Saswati Sarkar. His doctoral work investigated the effects of heterogeneity on the control of epidemics. In the summer of 2014, he was a research intern at NEC Labs America in Cupertino, CA, and in 2015-16, he was a postdoctoral associate in the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department of Cornell University, Ithaca, NY. 


Ehsan Kazemi
Ehsan Kazemi is a postdoctoral research fellow at Yale Institute for Network  Science (YINS), Yale University. He is working with Profs. Amin Karbasi, Forrest Crawford and Daniel Spielman. He completed his PhD. at LCA4, EPF Lausanne under the supervision of Prof. Matthias Grossglauser. His doctoral thesis is titled, “Network Alignment: Theory,  Algorithms, and Applications”. He received both his B.S. and M.S. degrees in Communication Systems from Sharif University of Technology. His main interests are data mining, algorithms, analysis of complex networks and application of graph analysis tools in different fields such as social networks and biology. He has the experience of working with real and large datasets such as Orange D4D and NOKIA MDC. He won the NOKIA Mobile Data Challenge (MDC) on the Next Place Prediction with the best predictor. He is the recipient of Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF) Post-Doctoral Fellowship.

Setareh MaghsudiSetareh Maghsudi
Setareh Maghsudi is a postdoctoral fellow in the Electrical Engineering department at Yale University. Her research interests lie in the area of network analysis and optimization under uncertainty, mainly using game- and bandit theory. In particular, her work is focused on distributed resource management in large-scale networks such as the Internet of Things and Cyber-Physical Systems. In 2015, she obtained her Ph.D. degree (summa cum laude) in Electrical Engineering from Technical University of Berlin, Germany. During 2015-2016, she was a postdoctoral research associate in the Electrical Engineering and Computer Science department at University of Manitoba, Canada. She is a recipient of German Research Foundation (DFG) postdoctoral fellowship.

Konstantinos PoularakisKonstantinos Poularakis
Konstantinos Poularakis is a post-doctoral research associate in the Electrical Engineering department at Yale University. His research interests lie in the area of network optimization, with emphasis on emerging network architectures including heterogeneous wireless networks, caching networks, and software defined networks. He obtained the Diploma, and the M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Electrical Engineering from the University of Thessaly, Greece, in 2011, 2013 and 2015 respectively. In spring 2014, he was a research intern at the Technicolor Paris Research Lab. He was the recipient of several awards and scholarships during his studies, from sources including the Alexander S. Onassis Public Benefit Foundation, the Greek State Scholarships foundation (IKY) and the Center for Research and Technology Hellas (CERTH). He was also the third runner-up for the best paper award at IEEE Infocom 2016.

His website is: https://sites.google.com/site/kpoularakis

Patrick Rebeschini
Patrick Rebeschini is a postdoctoral associate working with Prof. Sekhar Tatikonda in high-dimensional statistical machine learning. His interests lie at the intersection of probability theory, statistics, and computer science. In particular, his work focuses on the design and analysis of local and distributed algorithms to perform inference in graphical models, using Monte Carlo methods and techniques from statistical mechanics. He obtained his Ph.D. in June 2014 from the department of Operations Research and Financial Engineering at Princeton University, where he worked under the supervision of Prof. Ramon van Handel.

His website is http://www.eng.yale.edu/patrickrebeschini/

Yongren ShiYongren Shi
Yongren Shi is a postdoctoral associate at YINS. He received his Ph.D. in sociology at Cornell University. His research interests revolve around creating network-based analytic strategies to understand complex social systems, including opinion dynamics, organizational competition and social contagion. His work has been published in American Journal of Sociology, American Sociological Review, among other leading journals. He is a recipient of the Outstanding Paper Award and the Dissertation in-progress award from the Mathematical Sociology section at ASA, along with a Dissertation Improvement Grant from the National Science Foundation.


Liu Yang
Liu Yang is a postdoctoral associate working with Dan Spielman.

Ennan Zhai
Ennan Zhai is a Postdoc researcher of Computer Science Department at Yale University. His research interests include distributed systems, security/privacy, and software verification. He is now working with Pro. Ruzica Piskac to address the cloud reliability problems (e.g., correlated failures and misconfiguration) by proposing new language and verification techniques. He received his Ph.D. degree in 2015 from Yale, under the guidance of Prof. Bryan Ford. 

His website is http://www.cs.yale.edu/homes/zhai-ennan/


Eric Feltham
Eric Feltham is a graduate student working in the Human Nature Lab with Nicholas Christakis.  His bio is pending.

Chris HarshaChris Harshaw
Christopher Harshaw is a Ph.D. student advised by Professors Daniel Spielman and Amin Karbasi. Christopher is interested in spectral graph theory, combinatorial optimization, and applications to machine learning. He earned a B.A. in Computational and Applied Mathematics and a B.S. in Electrical Engineering from Rice University. In his free time, he enjoys composing and playing jazz music, solving puzzles, and visiting the many restaurants in New Haven.


Bo HuBo Hu
Bo is a third-year PhD student in the Department of Computer Science, working with Professor Wenjun Hu. His work is centered on distributed systems and mobile computing. Specifically, he is interested in distributed IoT devices system and mobile offloading to make it possible for the computation-intensive workloads running on the mobile devices with limited computation and energy capability. 


Qiaofeng Qin
Qiaofeng Qin is a PhD student in the Department of Electrical Engineering advised by Professor Leandros Tassiulas. Currently, his research focuses on the area of communication networks. He received his B.S. degree in electrical engineering from Peking University in 2015.


Mehraveh Salehi
Mehraveh Salehi is a Ph.D. student in the Electrical Engineering department at Yale University, working with Professor Wenjun Hu. Her major areas of research interest are laid at wireless communication, Internet and computer networking, cloud computing, and data traffic management. Her current research focuses on improving network performance and alleviating frequent problems by deploying the common terms from communication theory to computer networking area. In particular, she aims to provide fault tolerance and latency tolerance features to networks. Mehraveh earned her B.Sc. degree from the Sharif University of Technology, Iran. In her free times, she is interested in playing Santour (a Persian music instrument), watching movies, and playing basketball.

Hirokazu Shirado
Hirokazu Shirado takes great pleasure in entertaining people using technology involving the human sensing process and social interaction. His current research focuses on the experimental analysis of the emergence of cooperative action in social networks. His goal is to engineer social systems with more affordable participation. His specialty is the design of “touch”. He holds a master’s in mechanical engineering, specifically in human tactile studies, and has been working as a researcher at Sony Corporation studying human-robot interaction. Through this work, he realized what ultimately makes people happy is not solely interaction with efficient tools but relationships with friends, and this changed his focus from technological to social studies. He believes his unique career can help to retouch the world and make it better.

His website is http://hirokazu-shirado.wix.com/home 

Margaret TraegerMargaret Traeger
Margaret Traeger is a second year Sociology PhD student. Prior to coming to Yale, she earned her Bachelor’s of Science in Biology, with minors in Women’s Studies and Global Health, from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and her Master’s of Public Health in Health Behavior and Health Education from the University of Michigan School of Public Health. She is interested in social networks, public health, medicine, gender, and technology.


Peng ZhangPeng Zhang
Peng Zhang is a final year PhD student in computer science at Georgia Tech, advised by Richard Peng. Her research interests include numerical linear algebra and spectral graph theory. She is visiting YINS under the supervision of Dan Spielman. She is trying to understand key structures for designing fast linear system solvers, from both algorithm and complexity perspectives. Before coming to Georgia Tech, she received her M.S. degree from Purdue University and B.S. degree from Zhejiang University.



Matt Dutkiewicz
Matt started his career at Yale in 2013 as a financial assistant in Facilities-Capital Finance where he assisted with the financial and accounting responsibilities related to the capital projects taking place throughout the university. In January 2015, Matt was promoted to a grant accountant with the Yale Cancer Center at the Yale School of Medicine. He oversaw a wide range of sponsored and non-sponsored awards and assisted with not only the post-award financial operations but also with the maintenance of multiple departmental accounts and pilot projects. Matt graduated Cum Laude with a BS in Business Administration with a concentration in Finance from Bryant University in 2012. He is currently pursuing a Master’s in Business Administration from Southern Connecticut State University. Outside of work and school, Matt enjoys running, biking, hiking, and exploring the outdoors with his Dachshund, Tanner.

Kevin GarciaKevin Garcia
Kevin Garcia is a research assistant in the Human Nature Lab. A recent graduate of Yale College with a B.S. in Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry, Kevin works with Rennie Negron on the Honduras Network Project, and performs general administrative tasks for the lab. Outside of work, Kevin enjoys playing music, running and cooking increasingly complicated dishes with his roommates.  



    Kim Kuzina
    Kim Kuzina is the assistant to Nicholas A. Christakis and the “den mother” to Human Nature Lab. Kim has worked at Yale since 2005 and with the Human Nature Lab since July of 2013. In the time she has been at Yale Kim has had the opportunity to work in both a lab and an office in the Med School, and to be the Chair’s assistant in the Department of Sociology. Prior to Kim’s life at Yale she worked as a textile designer in New York City and a sculptor of clay, as well as concrete.

    Marsha Marcum
    Marsha joined YINS in August 2016 as the administrative coordinator, where she provides operational and administrative support to the entire YINS community. Marsha has a B.S. in accounting and previously worked for a large multinational company in an accounting and reporting role, before taking a hiatus from her career to be more involved with her children and the community. In her free time, Marsha serves as treasurer to Call to Care Uganda, a non-profit whose primary mission is to provide the basic need of clean water to children in Uganda. Marsha lives in Killingworth with her husband.

    Mark McKnight
    Mark McKnight is a Java developer and web application programmer working with Dr. Christakis on online platforms for social science research.  Although currently living in Hamden, Mark is Boston born and raised and is happiest spending his free time with his wife and two sons watching the Red Sox.


    Rennie Negron
    Rennie received her BS in Health Services Administration from the University of Central Arkansas and her Master’s in Public Health (MPH) from Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai.  Prior to coming to Yale, she worked as a project manager at Mount Sinai on various NIH-funded research studies testing interventions to improve health outcomes and reduce disparities in underserved New York City communities. She is originally from Honduras and will be working at YINS as the Program Manager for the Honduras Network project. In her spare time, she enjoys cooking and spending time outdoors or the zoo with her husband and 2 yr daughter.

    Liza Nicoll
    Liza Nicoll is a Data Scientist for the Human Nature Lab in the Yale Institute for Network Science where she provides data visualization, management, and analysis for multiple research projects, as well as programming support and education for lab members. She has a Biology degree from the University of Massachusetts and a continued education in biostatistics, public health, ecology and data science. She enjoys creative problem solving and programming, especially for the applied challenges of an active, transdisciplinary lab. 


    Paul Datta from Tata TCSPaul Datta
    Paul is a Technical Architect from Tata Consultancy Services Ltd stationed at YINS as a Tata Scholar/Visiting Fellow as part of the Tata-Yale Alliance. He is looking to dive into all of the research that happens within YINS and help Nicholas and the team run experiments on Enterprise Social Networks. He is also going to see how Network Science can be leveraged to enhance the effectiveness of change management and awareness interventions in the area of Enterprise Security.

    When free from writing code, collaborating with faculty at Yale, managing multiple bosses, researchers and cloud environments, Paul can be found taking pictures around New Haven, planning weekend getaways and tinkering with open source tech whilst dreaming up new recipes to cook for his wife Subhekshya. 

    His website is http://www.pauldatta.com/ 

    Víctor Valls
    Victor Valls is a research fellow at Trinity College Dublin (Ireland) currently visiting YINS. He obtained his degree in Telecommunications Engineering from Universitat Pompeu Fabra (Barcelona) in 2011, and MSc in 2012. In 2012, he started his PhD in applied mathematics at Trinity College Dublin under the supervision of Prof. Doug Leith, which he has recently submitted and will defend in May 2017. During the second half of 2015 he visited the NEC Laboratories in Heidelberg (Germany), where he worked on the coexistence of unlicensed LTE and WiFi in 5G networks. His research interests are in the area of mathematical optimization with applications in communication networks, decision and control systems, large-scale distributed algorithms and statistical learning.