Nicholas Christakis

Nicholas Christakis

Formal First Name
1962 - present

Nicholas Christakis is a renowned sociologist and physician who conducts research in the areas of network science, biosocial science, and behavior genetics. Dr. Christakis directs the Human Nature Lab and is the Co-Director of the Yale Institute for Network Science. He is the Sterling Professor of Social and Natural Science at Yale University, appointed in the Departments of Sociology; Medicine; Ecology and Evolutionary Biology; Biomedical Engineering; and the School of Management. Dr. Christakis is known for his research on social networks and on the socioeconomic, biosocial, and evolutionary determinants of behavior, health, and longevity. His current work focuses on how human biology and health affect, and are affected by, social interactions and social networks. He has mentored students and postdocs from diverse fields, ranging across sociology, anthropology, political science, economics, applied math, physics, computational biology, biomedicine, public health, and other fields. In addition, he is the author of over 200 articles and several books. His influential book, Connected: The Surprising Power of Our Social Networks and How They Shape Our Lives, documented how social networks affect our lives and was translated into twenty foreign languages.

Professional Experience

Academic History


  • His research is focused on the relationship between social networks and well-being.

  • Connection: the social, mathematical, and biological rules governing how social networks form.

  • Contagion: the biological and social implications of how they operate to influence thoughts, feelings, and behaviors.

  • His laboratory also actively develops software and date tools to study social phenomena, and releases these resources publicly.

  • His most recent work has used artificial intelligence (AI) agents (“bots") to affect social processes online.

  • His lab has also examined the genetic and evolutionary determinants of social network structure, showing that social interactions have shaped our genome.


  • 2020 Longlisted for PEN/America E.O. Wilson Science Writing Prize

  • 2017 American Academy of Arts and Sciences

  • 2010 American Association for the Advancement of Science

  • 2009 Time Magazine's 100 Most Influential People in the World

  • 2009 – 2010 Foreign Policy's Top 100 Global Thinkers

  • 2006 National Academy of Medicine

  • 2006 Distinguished Researcher Award, National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization


  • Apollo’s Arrow: The Profound and Enduring Impact of Coronavirus on the

  • Way We Live (2020)

  • Blueprint: The Evolutionary Origins of a Good Society (2019)

  • Connected: The Surprising Power of Our Social Networks and

  • How They Shape Our Lives (2009)

  • Death Foretold: Prophecy and Prognosis in Medical Care (1999)