Directors

Eric Rice

CAIS Co-Founder; Associate Professor in USC Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work

Dr. Rice is an expert in social network science and theory, and community-based research. His main focus is on youth homelessness and social network influence on risk-taking behaviors and resilience. He cofounded CAIS with Dr. Tambe as a new home for AI and social work to create novel solutions to major social problems. Dr. Rice earned his PhD in Sociology from Stanford University.

Milind Tambe

CAIS Co-Founder; Helen N. and Emmett H. Jones Professor in USC Viterbi School of Engineering

Dr. Tambe’s primary research interests lie in using AI for social good. He has contributed several foundational papers in AI in areas such as multiagent systems and security games. He cofounded CAIS with Dr. Rice to merge the tools of social work with those of AI to better serve those in need. Dr. Tambe earned his PhD from the School of Computer Science at Carnegie Mellon University.

Associate Directors

Nora Ayanian

WiSE Gabilan Assistant Professor of Computer Science in the USC Viterbi School of Engineering

Dr. Ayanian directs the Automatic Coordination of Teams Laboratory. Prior to joining USC, she was a postdoctoral associate in the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory at MIT. Her research focuses on creating end-to-end solutions for coordinating teams of robots. Dr. Ayanian earned her PhD in Mechanical Engineering at the University of Pennsylvania.

Phebe Vayanos

Assistant Professor in the USC Viterbi School of Engineering

Dr. Vayanos is an assistant professor in the USC Daniel J. Epstein Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering. Her current research interests focus on the intersection of optimization and analytics, and using data to improve the way practitioners make decisions in healthcare, education, and energy. Dr. Vayanos earned her PhD in Operations Research at the Imperial College in London.

Shinyi Wu

Associate Professor in USC Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work; Associate Director of Social and Health Services at USC Edward R. Roybal Institute on Aging; Assistant Professor in USC Viterbi School of Engineering

Dr. Wu uses engineering and social work to identify, develop, and analyze real-world approaches and applications to amplify humanity in healthcare delivery systems and improve quality, efficiency, and equity of services for disadvantaged populations with chronic illnesses. Dr. Wu earned her PhD in Industrial Engineering, Health Systems specialization at the University of Wisconsin, Madison.

Advisory Board

Stephanie Berzin

Associate Professor in and Chair of the Children, Youth, and Families concentration at the Boston College School of Social Work; Co-Director of the Center for Social Innovation

Dr. Berzin is interested in social entrepreneurship, organizational change, foster care experience, and leadership among transition aged youth. She is the co-lead for the American Academy of Social Work and Social Welfare’s Grand Challenge to Harness Technology for Social Good. Dr. Berzin earned her PhD in Social Work from UC, Berkeley and her MSW in Social Work at Columbia University.

Barbara Grosz

Higgins Professor of Natural Sciences at the Harvard University John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences

Dr. Grosz is interested in natural language processing, multi-agent systems, and human-computer collaboration. She was elected as a fellow to the Association for Computing Machinery, the American Association for Artificial Intelligence, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. She earned her PhD in Computer Science at UC, Berkeley.

Eric Horvitz

Technical Fellow and Managing Director at Microsoft Research

Dr. Horvitz is interested in machine learning, natural language understanding, decision making, and reasoning; he is passionate about the intersection of AI and society and how AI can help people. He was elected as a fellow to the National Academy of Engineering, the Association for the Advancement of AI, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Dr. Horvitz earned his PhD and MD at Stanford.

Paula Nurius

Grace Beals-Ferguson Scholar and Professor at the University of Washington School of Social Work

Dr. Nurius’s work is on mental health, stress from a life course perspective, violence victimization and perpetration, resilience, prevention, and translational research. She is a thought leader regarding transdisciplinary education at the doctoral level. Dr. Nurius earned a joint PhD in Social Work and Psychology from the University of Michigan, and earned her MSW from the University of Hawaii.

Faculty

Burcin Becerik-Gerber

Stephen Schrank Early Career Chair in Civil and Environmental Engineering and Associate Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering in the USC Viterbi School of Engineering

Dr. Becerik-Gerber’s research is on acquisition, modeling, and analysis of data for user-centered built environments; development of frameworks and visualization techniques to improve built environment efficiency, sustainability, and resiliency while increasing user satisfaction. Dr. Becerik-Gerber earned her Doctor of Design in Project Management and Information Systems from Harvard University.

Carl Castro

Associate Professor in the USC Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work; Director of the USC Center for Innovation and Research on Veterans and Military Families

Dr. Castro is retired from the Army after 30 years, where he obtained the rank of colonel. He received his PhD from the University of Colorado. His current research efforts focus on assessing the effects of combat and operations tempo on soldier, family, and unit readiness, and evaluating the process of service members’ transition into the military, as well as from military back to civilian life.

Julie Cederbaum

Associate Professor in the USC Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work

Dr. Cederbaum earned her MSW at UCLA and her MPH and PhD in Social Welfare from the University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Cederbaum’s expertise lies in design and utilization of mixed methods research, family process, and risk prevention with vulnerable populations. She teaches generalist practice, direct social work practice with children and families, and social work practice in healthcare settings.

Kayla de la Haye

Assistant Professor of Preventive Medicine in the USC Keck School of Medicine

Dr. de la Haye specializes in applying social network analysis and systems science to health promotion and disease prevention; specifically, developing interventions to enhance social networks to increase healthy behaviors (e.g., diet, physical activity, substance use) and reduce disease among at-risk populations. She holds a PhD in Psychology from the University of Adelaide in Australia.

Emilio Ferrara

Research Assistant Professor of Computer Science in the USC Viterbi School of Engineering; Research Leader at the USC Information Sciences Institute

Dr. Ferrara’s research interests include computational social sciences, data science, network science, and AI for social good. He is a recipient of the 2016 Complex System Society Junior Scientific Award for outstanding contributions to computational social sciences. Dr. Ferrara earned his PhD in Mathematics and Computer Science from the University of Messina in Italy.

Jonathan Gratch

Research Full Professor of Computer Science and Psychology in the USC Viterbi School of Engineering; Co-Director of the USC Institute for Creative Technologies

Dr. Gratch completed his PhD in Computer Science at the University of Illinois in Urban-Champaign. His research focuses on the relationship between cognition and emotion, influence of emotion on decision making and physical behavior, and computational models of human cognitive and social processes, and explores these models’ role in shaping human-computer interactions in virtual environments.

Daniel Hackman

Assistant Professor in the USC Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work

Dr. Hackman studies effects of early stressors (e.g., socioeconomic, neighborhood disadvantage) on psychological and biological factors contributing to health and well-being disparities. He earned his PhD in Clinical Psychology at the University of Pennsylvania, was a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Pittsburgh, and a RWJF Health & Society Scholar at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Benjamin Henwood

Assistant Professor in the USC Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work

Dr. Henwood is an expert in mental health and housing services research whose work connects clinical interventions with social policy. His proposal to end homelessness was adopted by the American Academy of Social Work and Social Welfare as a grand challenge. Dr. Henwood earned his MSW and PhD in Social Work at New York University, and a MA in Philosophy at the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee.

Seth Kurzban

Clinical Associate Professor in the USC Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work

Dr. Seth Kurzban specializes in improving social integration for individuals facing severe marginalization as a result of serious and chronic mental illness, homelessness, hospitalization, and incarceration. He has been working on interventions to improve social integration and overall wellness and health. He holds a PhD in Social Work from Columbia University.

Yan Liu

Associate Professor of Computer Science and Electrical Engineering-Systems; Philip and Cayley MacDonald Endowed Early Career Chair; Director of the USC Machine Learning Center in the USC Viterbi School of Engineering

Dr. Liu earned her MS and PhD in Computer Science from Carnegie Mellon University. Her research interests are developing scalable machine learning models for time series data and structured data with applications to social media analysis, computational biology, climate modeling, and healthcare. Before joining USC, Dr. Liu was a research staff member at IBM Research.

Larry Palinkas

Albert G. and Frances Lomas Feldman Professor of Social Policy and Health and Chair of the Department of Children, Youth and Families in the USC Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work

Dr. Palinkas holds secondary appointments as Professor in Anthropology and Preventive Medicine at USC. He is interested in global health, health disparities, implementation science, community-based participatory research, and sociocultural and environmental determinants of health and related behavior on disease prevention and health promotion. He earned his MA and PhD in Anthropology from UCSD.

Suvrajeet Sen

Professor in the USC Viterbi School of Engineering, Daniel J. Epstein Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering

Dr. Sen’s research is devoted to optimization models, algorithms, and applications of Stochastic Programming problems. He earned his PhD in Industrial Engineering and Operations Research (OR) from Virginia Tech. Prior to joining USC, Dr. Sen was a Professor at Ohio State University and the University of Arizona. He served as the Program Director of OR and Service Enterprise Systems at NSF.

Marvin Southard

Professor of Practice and the Director of the Doctor of Social Work program in the USC Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work; CEO of the Steven A. Cohen Military Family Clinic at USC

Dr. Southard is an expert in mental health, homelessness, and substance abuse. He was the director of the LA County Department of Mental Health, focusing on developing community-based partnerships, veterans’ specific programs, and initiating children’s mental health programs. He received his BA from St. John’s College, Camarillo; his MSW from UC Berkeley, and his Doctor of Social Work from UCLA.

Sze-chuan Suen

Assistant Professor in the USC Viterbi School of Engineering, Daniel J. Epstein Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering; Faculty Member in the USC Schaeffer Center for Health Policy and Economics

Dr. Suen earned her PhD in Management Science and Engineering from Stanford. She is interested in developing applied mathematical models to identify epidemiological trends and evaluate health policies to support informed decision-making using simulation, dynamic systems modeling, cost-effectiveness analysis, and decision analysis (e.g., controlling tuberculosis in resource-constrained settings).

Affiliated Faculty

Anamika Barman-Adhikari

Assistant Professor in the Graduate School of Social Work at the University of Denver

Dr. Barman-Adhikari’s research interests are centered on understanding social-contextual determinants of risk and protective behaviors among vulnerable youth populations (e.g., homeless and minority youth). She uses social network analysis to guide intervention design. She earned her MA in Sociology from Jawaharlal Nehru University, her MSW at CSU, Fresno, and her PhD in Social Work at USC.

Fei Fang

Postdoctoral Fellow at the Center for Research on Computation and Society at Harvard University

Dr. Fang received her PhD in Computer Science at USC. Her research lies in computational game theory for security and sustainability (e.g. protecting the Staten Island Ferry by the US Coast Guard, combatting illegal tiger poaching in a Southeast Asia conservation area). Starting in August, Dr. Fang will be an assistant professor at the Institute for Software Research at Carnegie Mellon University.

Anthony Fulginiti

Assistant Professor in the Graduate School of Social Work at the University of Denver

Dr. Fulginiti earned his BA in Psychology at the University of Tampa and his MSW at the University of South Florida. Before receiving his PhD in Social Work from USC, he worked in mental health and healthcare settings. Dr. Fulginiti’s interests are identifying suicide risk factors among vulnerable populations in the context of community-based research and the implementation of suicide prevention.

Staff

Hailey Winetrobe

CAIS Center Operations Coordinator

Ms. Winetrobe earned her MPH from UCLA and her BS in Health Sciences: Community Health from Northern Arizona University. She is also a Certified Health Education Specialist (CHES). Her public health work centers on homelessness, HIV risk and preventive behavior including sexual health and substance use, and social networks.

PhD Students

Liz Bondi

PhD student in Computer Science in the USC Viterbi School of Engineering

Ms. Bondi earned her BS in Imaging Science from Rochester Institute of Technology where she conducted research in computer vision and remote sensing. Currently she is developing an algorithm to aid anti-poaching efforts by locating poachers and animals in thermal infrared, unmanned aerial vehicle video automatically, leading to predicting poachers’ locations to optimize flight location and route.

Jaih Craddock

PhD student in the USC Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work

Ms. Craddock’s research focuses on health disparities and social network-based health promotion, among transitional age Black youth and women. Currently, she is working with Dr. Rice on the adaptation, training, implementation, and assessment of Dr. Rice’s HIV intervention study, Have You Heard? She earned her MSW from USC and her MA in Sexuality Studies from San Francisco State University.

Ben Ford

PhD student in Computer Science in the USC Viterbi School of Engineering

Mr. Ford completed his BS and MS in Computer Science at the University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth. His thesis created predictive models to combat wildlife poaching and evaluating those models via real-world field testing. His latest paper, “Cloudy with a Chance of Poaching: Adversary Behavior Modeling and Forecasting with Real-World Poaching Data,” details the success of a preliminary field test.

Shahrzad Gholami

PhD student in Computer Science in the USC Viterbi School of Engineering

Ms. Gholami is interested in application-driven research through Machine Learning, Artificial Intelligence, and Computational Game Theory. She works on predictive models for poaching activities and security resources allocation optimization in conservation areas to protect wildlife. She obtained her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Mechanical Engineering at Sharif University of Technology, Iran.

Sara Mc Carthy

PhD student in Computer Science in the USC Viterbi School of Engineering

Ms. Mc Carthy is currently working in the Teamcore Research Group and is advised by Dr. Tambe. Her research focuses on topics in AI, Optimization, Algorithmic and Computational Game Theory and has worked on projects dealing with environmental sustainability and wildlife protection, as well as infrastructure security and cyber security.

Lindsey Palmer

PhD student in the USC Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work

Ms. Palmer is a research assistant at Children’s Data Network. She completed her MSW at USC. Her research is focused on linked, population-level administrative data analysis to examine cross-sector service trajectories of adolescents and transition-aged youth; specifically individual and system-level factors contributing to child welfare, juvenile justice, and mental health service involvement.

Robin Petering

PhD student in the USC Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work

Ms. Petering is a coinvestigator on a multicity study assessing health risks and resiliency of homeless/unstably housed young people. She serves as key personnel on the Have You Heard? project. Her research interests are to understand social determinants of risk behaviors among vulnerable youth populations. Ms. Petering earned her MSW from UCLA and her BS in Biology at the University of Oregon.

Aida Rahmattalabi

PhD student in Computer Science in the USC Viterbi School of Engineering

Ms. Rahmattalabi completed her M.Sc in Robotics at Oregon State University where her research focused primarily on learning based control of tightly coupled multiagent systems. At USC, she is working on negative influence minimization in social networks, particularly with strategic group formation to prevent drug use among youth. Her research interests are AI, optimization, and decision making.

Joshua Rusow

PhD student in the USC Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work

Mr. Rusow’s research interests involve the use of technology as a risk or resiliency factor for sexual and gender minority youth. To date, his work has primarily focused on sexual health behaviors of sexual and gender minority populations. Mr. Rusow earned his BA in Psychology from UCLA, and his MSW at USC.

Aaron Schlenker

PhD student in Computer Science in the USC Viterbi School of Engineering

Mr. Schlenker completed his BA in Mathematics and Computer Science at Butler University. He is interested in the intersection of computational game theory and providing intelligent security systems to protect critical infrastructures, such as airports and ports. Mr. Schlenker’s worked on developing a game-theoretic model and solution algorithm for determining how to screen passengers for the TSA.

Subhasree Sengupta

PhD student in Computer Science in the USC Viterbi School of Engineering

Ms. Sengupta’s interest is in using computer science to solve societal problems using machine learning, game theory, and social networks. She earned her Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science from the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities in 2016 where she worked on social computing and human-computer interaction (i.e., automating data collection from social media on relationships formed online).

Mee-Young Um

PhD student in the USC Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work

Ms. Um earned her MSW from the University of Michigan. Her broad research interests are examining how social networks, trauma, discrimination, domestic violence, and acculturation are associated with mental health outcomes among immigrant and refugee populations. She has conducted most of her research particularly on North Korean refugees who live in South Korea.

Bryan Wilder

PhD student in Computer Science in the USC Viterbi School of Engineering

Prior to joining USC, Mr. Wilder obtained a BS in Computer Science from the University of Central Florida. His work focuses on algorithms for modifying and intervening in social networks, with a particular focus on public health applications.

Haifeng Xu

PhD student in Computer Science in the USC Viterbi School of Engineering

Mr. Xu completed his BA in Mathematics at the University of Science and Technology of China. He is interested in algorithm design, game theory, information economics and their applications to security and economics. Recently, he has focused on developing game-theoretic models and algorithms to enhance security via strategic signaling and handle information leakage in security.

Amulya Yadav

PhD student in Computer Science in the USC Viterbi School of Engineering

Mr. Yadav holds a Bachelor’s degree in Technology in Computer Science and Engineering from Indian Institute of Technology Patna. His research interests include influence maximization on social networks, multi-agent sequential decision making (MSDM) problems, and game theory/mechanism design.

Amanda Yoshioka-Maxwell

PhD student in the USC Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work

Ms. Yoshioka-Maxwell’s research interests involve the use of social network analysis to explore the relationship between foster care experiences and HIV risk behaviors among homeless former foster youth. Her research goals include development of network-based HIV interventions targeting homeless former foster youth. She earned her MSW from CSU, Northridge and her BA in Religion from USC.