Ph.D. Sociology & Education, Economics & Education
I am a sociologist interested in how social and biological factors jointly shape human development across the life-course. I specialize in quasi-experimental, computational, and biosocial quantitative methods, and my research typically utilizes large administrative datasets and longitudinal studies containing molecular genetic data.
One branch of my research surrounds polygenic scores, measures meant to summarize a person’s genetic predisposition for a trait (ranging from height to depression to cognitive ability). While polygenic scores are becoming more and more predictive of social, behavioral, and health outcomes, there is much work to be done understanding what exactly is ‘in’ a polygenic score. I study how the social environment mediates, moderates, and confounds associations between genes and outcomes.
Another strand of my research leverages both field and natural experiments to explore the processes that produce educational and health inequality, with an emphasis on the reciprocal relationship between education and health. My work in this area has examined, for example, childhood lead exposure, fatal school shootings, and economic segregation.