Jukka-Pekka Onnela, DSc

Associate Professor, Department of Biostatistics, Harvard UniversityCo-Director of the Master’s Program in Health Data Science, Harvard University 

Dr. Jukka-Pekka Onnela is an Associate Professor of Biostatistics in the Department of Biostatistics at Harvard University. He is also the Co-Director of the Master’s Program in Health Data Science, one of the three data science programs at Harvard University. Dr. Onnela was trained in network science, and prior to starting his faculty position in 2011, he had completed two post-doctoral fellowships, one in the physics of networks at Oxford University, and another in social network analysis in health at Harvard Medical School. His main interest is in developing quantitative methods in two areas: statistical network science and digital phenotyping, the moment-by-moment quantification of the individual-level human phenotype in situ using smartphone data.

Dr. Onnela has expertise in a range of theoretical and applied problems, and his research focuses on developing statistical, mathematical, and computational approaches to modeling network structure and dynamical processes for social and biological networks. His lab’s main goal in this area is to combine the physics-based approach and the statistics-based approach to the study of networked systems and to bridge some of the methodological gaps that exist between these two paradigms.

Supported by his 2013 NIH Director’s New Innovator Award, Dr. Onnela’s lab has developed a research platform for collecting and analyzing smartphone sensor and usage pattern data. The platform, Beiwe, is intended specifically for use in biomedical research and consists of an online study portal, a customizable smartphone app for Android and iOS phones, back-end data storage system, and a growing suite of software dedicated to analyzing the collected data. His lab’s main goal in this area is the development of statistical learning methods that combine traditional biostatistics with machine learning. The entire Beiwe platform has been released as open-source software under the permissive BSD 3-clause license.