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Nicholas A. Christakis M.D, Ph.D.

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Nicholas A. Christakis M.D, Ph.D.


Dr. Christakis is a Professor of Medical Sociology, Sociology, and Medicine. He has spent the last ten years studying social networks. His research focuses on questions like: Why do humans form social networks? What do social networks mean for our lives? How, exactly, do they work? He has studied the mathematical, social, and genetic determinants of social network structure. In addition, he has investigated how things as diverse as obesity, happiness, and altruism flow across network ties, spreading far and wide across the intricately branching ties that connect us all.

Dr. Christakis received his BS from Yale University, his MD and MPH degrees from Harvard University, and his PhD from the University of Pennsylvania. He practiced for many years as a hospice doctor, first at the University of Chicago, then at Massachusetts General Hospital, and most recently at the Mt. Auburn Hospital in Cambridge, MA. At present, he principally runs his lab investigating the social determinants of health and teaches at Harvard College. He has authored over 100 scientific papers and several books, including, most recently, Connected: The Surprising Power of Our Social Networks and How They Shape Our Lives.

Awards and Credentials

  1. Member, Institute of Medicine, National Academy of Sciences, USA
  2. Named to the Time 100 List of the Most Influential People in the World, 2009

Related Links

Recommended Reading List

  • Connected: The Surprising Power of Our Social Networks and How They Shape Our Lives. N.A. Christakis, et al. Little Brown, 2009
  • The Spread of Obesity in a Large Social Network Over 32 Years. N.A. Christakis, et al. New England Journal of Medicine, 357(4): 370-379 (2007)
  • Dynamic Spread of Happiness in a Large Social Network: Longitudinal Analysis Over 20 Years in the Framingham Heart Study. J.H. Fowler, et al. British Medical Journal 2008; 337: a2338 (doi:10.1136/bmj.a2338)

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