I am an Associate Professor in the School of Interactive Computing at Georgia Tech. Given the diversity of my intellectual interests, I am also affiliated with the Graphics and Visualization Center (GVU), Institute for People and Technology (IPaT), and the Machine Learning Center (ML@GT) at Georgia Tech.
Trained as a computer scientist, I am passionate about problems at the intersection of computer science and social science. In my 15 year research career this far, my research has contributed to the development of a variety of computational methods and artifacts to make sense of human behavior and psychological state, as manifested via our online digital traces. My research has been motivated by how the availability of large-scale online social data, with the amalgamation of advances in machine learning and grounding in human-centered approaches can help us answer fundamental questions relating to our social lives.
Since 2013, supported by sustained and involved domain, industry, academic, non-profit, and clinical collaborations spread nationally and internationally (nearly 200 co-authors spanning 12 disciplines), I have spearheaded an innovative research agenda that has situated social media as a both a mechanism to understand our mental health, as well as to improve provision of and access to mental health care. In particular, first proposed in this influential paper, my research has pioneered the computational use of social media data for mental health. This topic now constitutes a full-fledged research direction pursued by scholars and practitioners worldwide, within and beyond academia. Parts of my research in this area have frequently been featured in the popular press, including the New York Times, the BBC, and the NPR, among others.
At Georgia Tech, I founded and direct the Social Dynamics and Wellbeing Lab (SocWeB Lab). We study, analyze, and use social media, responsibly and ethically, to derive computational, large-scale data-driven insights, and to develop mechanisms and technologies for improving our well-being, particularly our mental health. Please refer to the Research page for details about our broader research agenda, and the Publications page for recent research efforts. Our research is and has been graciously supported by funds from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), National Science Foundation (NSF), Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Everytown for Gun Safety, the United Nations Foundation, John Templeton Foundation, Microsoft, Facebook, Mozilla, Yahoo!, Cisco, and Samsung, totaling nearly $15 million.
I have been fortunate to have spent quality time in an eclectic set of places at different points in my career. Before moving to Georgia Tech in Spring 2014, I was a postdoctoral researcher in the neXus group at Microsoft Research, Redmond, between 2011 and 2013. I received my Ph.D in 2011 from the Department of Computer Science at Arizona State University, Tempe, where I was a part of the transdisciplinary program and venture on digital media: Arts, Media & Engineering. Following grad school, I also spent some time at the School of Communication and Information, Rutgers. In the academic year 2014-15, I was also a faculty associate with the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard.