I am an Assistant Professor in the Department of Sociology and the UMass Computational Social Science Institute. My research interests include social determinants of health, culture, and social network dynamics. If we better understand how, when, and why people are connected, we can gain insight into how health changes at the individual, interpersonal, and population level over time.
Prior to my current position at UMass, I was an Instructor in Medicine and Pediatrics at Harvard Medical School and Senior Scientist at Massachusetts General Hospital. My post-doctoral training was with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Health & Society Scholars program at UC Berkeley and UCSF. My research is currently supported by the National Institutes of Health (NIA, NIDDK, NHLBI), and has been supported by the National Science Foundation, and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.
PhD in Sociology, 2010
MA in Sociology, 2007
BA in Sociology, 2003
Understanding how social ties to others at a given stage of one's life can shape one's future prospects. For instance, how does who you know when you were 5 years old affect your health at age 55?
Using wearable sensor and other passive technologies to measure social relationships and their sequelae in ways that complement (and sometimes challenge) prior self-report or observational approaches to understanding social structure. In what ways does precise quantification of interactions provide new insights into social dynamics? In which cases does an individual's own perceptions of their relationships provide useful information?
Evaluating how individuals' social relationships and interactions shape their health behaviors. For example, how do a person's changing set of relationships with people in their lives affect their health-related decisions, physical health, and mental health?
I welcome research partnerships that relate to social networks, culture, and health across the lifecourse, and am a firm believer in team-based science. I collaborate widely with colleagues and students - I hold the view that working on problems from multiple perspectives advances scientific progress.
I am an instructor for the following courses at University of Massachusetts, Amherst:
I am always happy to write letters of recommendation for students. My policy on letters is here.