Nicholas A. Christakis

Nicholas Christakis
Nicholas A. Christakis
Physician and Social Scientist, Yale University; Co-author, Connected: The Surprising Power of Our Social Networks and How They Shape Our Lives

NICHOLAS A. CHRISTAKIS, MD, PhD, MPH, is a sociologist and physician who conducts research in the area of biosocial science, investigating the biological predicates and consequences of social phenomena. He directs the Human Nature Lab at Yale University, where he is appointed as the Sol Goldman Family Professor of Social and Natural Science, and he is the Co-Director of the Yale Institute for Network Science. 

His current research focuses on our biology and health affect and are affected by social interactions and social networks. One body of work has focused on how ill health, disability, health behavior, health care, emotional states, and death in one person can influence the same phenomena in others in a person’s social network. This work involves the application of network science and mathematical models to understand the dynamics of diverse phenomena in longitudinally evolving networks.

Other recent work has used experiments to examine the spread of altruism in social networks and the genetic and evolutionary determinants of social network structure. Christakis has also conducted large-scale field trials in the developing world to explore how network methods might be deployed to change health behavior at the population level.

Along with long-time collaborator, James Fowler, Dr. Christakis has authored a general-audience book on social networks: Connected: The Surprising Power of Our Social Networks and How They Shape Our Lives.