I am an Assistant Professor in the School of Interactive Computing at Georgia Tech and a faculty associate with the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard. My research interests are in the area of computational social science, wherein I am interested in questions around making sense of human behavior as manifested via our online social footprints. I am motivated by how the availability of large-scale online social data, coupled with computational methods and resources can help us answer fundamental questions relating to our social lives: our actions, interactions, emotions and linguistic expression, both from an individual perspective, at the same time, as part of a larger collective.

My recent work has focused on investigating the role of online social activity traces in improving our health and well-being. Particularly, we have explored ways of harnessing social media in being able to reason about and infer "signatures" of behavioral and public health of individuals and communities. This research bears potential in its ability to provide timely, valuable, and smart interventions as well as has implications in healthcare policy.

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.

Prospective Students: I am looking forward to working with self-motivated, hard-working students who are interested to work on problems that bear real-world impact. The problems I am interested in require intellectual rigor and interdisciplinary exploration around computational and social science focus. For an overview, refer to the publications page. If you are interested in talking to me about prospective projects, feel free to drop me an email.

News and Highlights

  • 2014.03.16: NBC News did a piece on our work spanning postpartum depression and mental health aid for crises. Also see additional coverage by Scientific American, Phys.org, IBT, RedOrbit, Examiner, PS Mag, Science Daily, iHealthBeat, on our work about social media desensitization and the Mexican Drug War.
  • 2014.03.31: Nieman Lab highlighted our research on examining the kinds/amounts of health information people publicly disclose on Twitter contrasting with search engines for health-related inquiries.
  • 2014.01.27: Coverage of our work in TIME on predicting individuals' risk to depression from their social media traces.
  • 2013.12.04: GNIP posted a data story on our research using social media to understand depression.
  • 2013.11.30: This year I am Program Co-chair of the 8th International AAAI Conference on Weblogs and Social Media (ICWSM). Consider attending!
  • 2013.11.10: Together with Scott Counts, Jana Diesner, Eric Gilbert, Marta Gonzalez, Brian Keegan, Mor Naaman and Hanna Wallach, I organized a panel at CSCW 2014 on Computational Social Science.
  • 2013.05.03: Scientific American did a piece on our CHI 2013 paper on predicting postpartum behavioral changes in new mothers using Twitter. Link to article is here. The corresponding Microsoft Research blog post can be accessed here.
  • 2013.02.08: Bing introduces the State of the Union Experience; a critical piece in it comes from our affect classifier (ICWSM 2012 paper).
  • 2012.12.01: I was very delighted to be one of the two invited speakers at the TEDxWomen 2012, South Lake Union event in Seattle. A video of my talk is here.
  • 2012.11.05: ZDnet did a piece on Bing Elections that uses our affect classifier. Classifier details can be found here.
  • 2012.02.15: Our work about identifying reliable information sources in Twitter, for journalistic inquiry, covered by Poynter and Mashable.
  • 2010.07.23: Research on mining itinerary trails, covered by Wall Street Journal; also Yahoo! Labs link.
  • 2010.06.15: Technology Review article about our work on mining tour itineraries from Flickr photos.
  • 2010.05.14: MIT Technology Review article on my work at Yahoo! Research (inferring network structures).