Welcome to the Onnela Lab website! I am Associate Professor of Biostatistics and Co-Director of the Master of Science in Health Data Science Program. I joined the Department of Biostatistics in 2011. I was previously a Postdoctoral Fellow at Harvard Medical School, a Fulbright Scholar at the Harvard Kennedy School, and a Junior Research Fellow at the University of Oxford. I obtained my doctorate at the Helsinki University of Technology (now Aalto University) in 2006, where my dissertation received the Dissertation of the Year Award from the university. I received NIH Director’s New Innovator Award in 2013 for my Digital Phenotyping project.
My lab’s research involves two interrelated themes. In statistical network science, the study of network representations of physical, biological, and social phenomena, we develop quantitative methods for studying social and biological networks and their connection to health. In digital phenotyping, a concept we have introduced as “the moment-by-moment quantification of the individual-level human phenotype in situ using data from personal digital devices, in particular smartphones,” we develop quantitative methods for studying social, behavioral, and cognitive phenotypes. My group has developed and maintains the open source Beiwe research platform for high-throughput smartphone-based digital phenotyping. While our focus is on methodological research, we also either co-lead or support various collaborative interdisciplinary research projects.
Underlying my overall research agenda is my belief that significant advances in medicine and public health, from mental health to infectious diseases, will emerge from a more granular and nuanced understanding of human behavior and of our interactions with one another.