Welcome to my personal homepage!

jp onnela I am an Assistant Professor in the Department of BiostatisticsHarvard School of Public HealthHarvard University.

I’m interested in a broad range of theoretical and applied problems in network science and network analysis. My current research focuses on statistical and mathematical analysis and modeling of social networks and their connection to human health, development of metrics and methods for network analysis, and network models. I’m also interested in online social systems, social media, and analyzing and modeling behavioral and social interaction data captured through mobile technology both at the individual and collective level.

The starting point to the application of my research to public health is the simple but powerful premise that we do not exist as atomized units. Instead, people are connected, and therefore our health is connected. I’m involved in a number of applied projects that involve network theory and network science. For example, we analyze the structure of informal patient-sharing networks of physicians to better understand healthcare outcomes and healthcare costs; we identify central individuals in large-scale online and offline friendship networks for an early detection of flu epidemics; we uncover the hierarchical structure of family relationships in a developing country setting to better understand the role of social influence in driving vaccine refusals; we develop more effective behavioral interventions to slow down the spread of HIV/AIDS; we generate better educational intervention strategies to promote healthy eating habits and physical activity; and we use mobile phone data to examine communication and mobility patterns of individuals, which at a small scale can be used to study the progress of individuals suffering from mood disorders, and at a large scale these data can inform us about the extent and impact of natural disasters and other public health emergencies.