Dr. Nicholas A. Christakis named Sterling Professor of Social and Natural Science

Dr. Nicholas A. Christakis
Dr. Nicholas A. Christakis

Dr. Nicholas A. Christakis has been named as Sterling Professor of Social and Natural Science at Yale. He is a sociologist and physician who conducts research in the areas of network science, biosocial science, and public health.

The Sterling Professorship is the highest honor bestowed on Yale faculty, upon approval by the Yale Board of Trustees.

I am deeply honored by this recognition,” Christakis said, “which reflects Yale’s substantial commitment to inter-disciplinary science and also the vibrant contributions of the many students and scholars on my research team. I am eager to make myself useful to Yale’s mission.”

Christakis directs the Human Nature Lab and is co-director of the Yale Institute for Network Science, which explores fundamental properties of social, biological, engineering, and computational networks, and invents approaches to intervene in them for the better.

Christakis’ research program includes large-scale randomized trials to improve maternal and child health in developing countries (such as Honduras and India), as well as basic science experiments exploring human social interactions, social genomics, the microbiome, and artificial intelligence.

A graduate of Yale College in 1984, Christakis received his M.D. from Harvard Medical School, his M.P.H. from the Harvard School of Public Health, and his Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania. At Yale, Christakis has appointments in the Departments of Sociology, Medicine, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Biomedical Engineering, and Statistics and Data Science, as well as at the School of Management. Before joining the Yale faculty in 2013, Christakis served as professor at Harvard University for 12 years.  Prior to that, he was on the faculty at the University of Chicago, where he was also a clinical director of a hospice program delivering end-of-life care to underserved populations.

Christakis is the author of several books, including “Death Foretold: Prophecy and Prognosis in Medical Care” and “Connected: The Surprising Power of Our Social Networks and How They Shape Our Lives,” which has been translated into 20 languages.  His new book, “Blueprint: The Evolutionary Origins of a Good Society,” will appear in early 2019. He has also written more than 180 peer-reviewed articles in professional journals.

Christakis was elected to the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences in 2006; the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 2010; and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2017. In 2009, he was named by Time magazine to its annual list of the 100 most influential people in the world.