My Research

Leveraging network and data science for HIV prevention

I'm an Associate Professor in the Department of Medical Social Sciences within the Feinberg School of Medicine at Northwestern University and also serve as a Quantitative Methodologists for the Third Coast Center for AIDS Research.

My research examines the intersection of HIV and drug use, with particular interest in measurement science and network analysis. My measurement research uses latent variable models to more accurately estimate HIV risk and substance use behaviors and link these measures across studies.

My network analysis research focuses on improving estimates of sexual network parameters, using these parameters in network based epidemic models, and leveraging this knowledge to optimize the impact of HIV prevention interventions If you're interested in learning more, check out the recent projects listed below.

Recent Projects

Learn more below

Network Canvas 2.0

MPIs: Birkett and Janulis
My Role: Principal Investigator

Network Canvas 2.0 project is (R01DA057973) software development project that seeks to transition the Network Canvas tool into a Hybrid Cloud Model, developing a cloud-based software platform that will enhance the ability of researchers to robustly capture complex network data remotely and at scale, as well as reach the most essential but hard-to-reach populations. Check out our website for more information.


PI: Janulis
My Role: Principal Investigator

Alcohol and methamphetamine use increases risk of HIV among MSM but considerable uncertainty remains regarding the specific behavioral pathways that best explain this risk. This project (R01DA055502) seeks synthesize data across multiple studies to elucidate these behavioral pathways and utilize network based epidemic models to explore optimal and robust strategies for HIV elimination among MSM who use these substances.


PI: Mustanski
My Role: Co-Investigator

The RADAR study is a longitudinal cohort study of young men who have sex with men (YMSM; U01DA036939). This project follows more than 1,000 YMSM, collecting biological, behavioral, social, and geospatial data every six months for up to 10 years. This project has produced more than 40+ publications and serves as a platform for numerous innovative research projects, including its participation in NIDA's C3PNO consortium U24DA044554


PI: Birkett
My Role: Co-Investigator

This project (R01MD014703) utilizes several existing rich empirical datasets to build a model, chiSTIG, to serve as a counterfactual laboratory able to test competing hypotheses regarding the etiology of infectious disease inequities in HIV for sexual minorities, specifically Black and Hispanic MSM, and potential routes for intervention. Specifically, the framework will be extended through the integration of detailed data on the physical and online third places utilized by and the social and sexual interactions of racially diverse MSM in Chicago.


Grants, Publications, and Presentations