Research Team

Principal Investigator:

MJMohammad Jalali ('MJ'), PhD 
Assistant Professor | 
Mohammad Jalali (aka, ‘MJ’) is an Assistant Professor at Harvard Medical School and a research affiliate with MIT Sloan's System Dynamics Group. Based at MGH Institute for Technology Assessment, MJ uses data science and simulation-based approaches to help policymakers identify and develop high-leverage policies that not only are effective over the long haul, but also are not thwarted by unanticipated side effects. To achieve this goal, he spends a great deal of time working with decision-makers and policymakers, doing fieldwork and collecting different types of data that can inform richer models and analyses. 
MJ has received over $2.6 million grant funding, and his work has been featured by The New York Times, Washington Post, Associated Press, The Hill, WIRED, Newsweek, Scientific American, Business Insider, Boston Globe, NPR, among others. He has been a reviewer for the National Science Foundation, an associate editor for System Dynamics Review, academic editor for PLOS ONE, and editor for the Journal on Policy and Complex Systems. He is the recipient of the 2015 Dana Meadows Award, the 2015 WINFORMS Excellence Award, and the 2014 Lupina Young Researcher Award. Before joining Harvard in Feb 2019, MJ was a research faculty at MIT Sloan and a consultant at the World Bank.

Postdoctoral Fellows:

ErinErin Stringfellow, PhD
Postdoctoral Research Fellow | 
Erin holds a PhD in Social Work from the Brown School at Washington University in St. Louis and a Master of Social Work from the University of Michigan, where she also earned her BA. She specializes in using qualitative and system dynamics methods to develop sustainable interventions and policies that support recovery from addiction. Prior to joining the lab, Dr. Stringfellow was a research scientist and assistant research professor at the Missouri Institute of Mental Health at the University of Missouri, St. Louis, where she worked with a dedicated, passionate team to conduct evaluation and research of federally-funded opioid-related grants. She is currently working on the development of system dynamics models to improve policies focused on substance use prevention, harm reduction, treatment for disorder, and recovery.

GianGian-Gabriel Garcia, PhD
Postdoctoral Research Fellow | 
Gian received his PhD and MS in Industrial and Operations Engineering from the University of Michigan and his BS in Industrial Engineering from the University of Pittsburgh. In his research, Gian is interested in developing data-driven frameworks for predictive and prescriptive analytics as motivated by high-impact problems in healthcare. His research spans a wide range of disease areas, including post-traumatic stress disorder, opioid use disorder, concussion, glaucoma, and cardiovascular disease. It has also received recognition through the NSF, INFORMS, SMDM, among others. Gian is currently working on various projects related to screening for post-traumatic stress disorder, social network analysis for opioid use disorder, and analysis of the effects of COVID-19 on opioid-related overdose deaths.

Hiring(This could be you! Read more)
Postdoctoral Research Fellow

Three new postdocs will join the lab in early 2021. We still welcome top candidates to apply. 




Research Associates:

LizElizabeth Beaulieu, PhD candidate 
Elizabeth works on simulation modeling and health outcomes research. Her research interests are grounded in the real-world applicability of health economic decision modeling and incorporating patient-centered outcomes in the evaluation of health care interventions. Her current projects include an opioid systems model and evaluating quality of life after cancer immunotherapy. Prior to joining the lab, she performed economic research at the USDA’s Economic Research Service as well as institutional research and data analytics at the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Economics from Tufts University and a Masters in Applied Economics from Georgetown University.

CeliaCelia Stafford, MPH
Celia Stafford holds a Master of Public Health in Biostatistics from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, as well as a bachelor's degree in Mathematics and Economics from Emory University. She is currently focusing on simulation modeling and health outcomes research. Additionally, she has experience in the pharmaceutical industry at both Syneos Health, and IQVIA. Her research interests center around ways that simulation models can be used to increase efficiency and reduce the cost of healthcare in the United States. Before joining the lab, she worked as an ORISE Fellow in the Center for Drug Evaluation and Research at the FDA, working to build a simulation model of the opioid crisis.

CathyCatherine DiGennaro, BA
Cathy holds a Bachelor of Arts in Neuroscience from Wellesley College. After graduating in May 2019, she joined the ITA and currently works as a research associate under Dr. Mohammad S. Jalali and Dr. Carrie C. Lubitz on simulation modeling and health outcomes research. Her current projects include the development of an opioid systems model and efforts to model and improve the quality of care of patients with thyroid cancer. Her research interests center around public health, healthcare policy, and equitable and sustainable intervention strategies.


Nicci Nicole Poellinger, MPH student
Nicole is a Master of Public Health candidate and is pursuing certificates in Epidemiology and Biostatistics. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Public Health from the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse. She is currently focusing on simulation modeling and health outcomes research. Her research interests center around public health, health policy, and how simulation modeling can be used to help solve complex public health issues.



Research Interns:

BhavBhav Jain 
Intern, undergraduate student at MIT



JillianJillian Rochelle 
Intern, undergraduate student at Northwestern 



ElizabethElizabeth Mason 
Intern, undergraduate student at Wellesley College


AtharvAtharv Oak
Intern, undergraduate student at MIT


MarichiMarichi Gupta
Intern, undergraduate student at UNC-Chapel Hill

Yael Kohen Yael
Intern, undergraduate student at Tufts University


EmilyEmily Pham 
Intern, undergraduate student at Berkeley


JadenJaden Wood 
Intern, undergraduate student at Wellesley College


JennyGenevieve Deveaux 
Intern, undergraduate student at George Washington University


AdityaAditya Bansal
Intern, undergraduate student at The Indian Institute of Technology

EmilyEmily Allardi 
Intern, undergraduate student at Middlebury College



LindsayLindsay Wang
Intern, undergraduate student at Tufts University


NIH K-award mentees: 

ColletteDr. Collette N. Ncube (awarded in 2020)
Institute for Health Equity and Social Justice Research, Northeastern University


LarissaDr. Larissa Calancie (application in progress)
Research Assistant Professor, Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy, Tufts University




Other mentees:

AndrijanaDr. Andrijana Horvat (awarded by the Dutch Research Council, 2020)
Wageningen University & Research



TYTse Yang Lim
Ph.D. Candidate, MIT Sloan



Colleen Conger (visiting student from Cornell)

Hannah Holmlund

Ava Connolly

Danny (Onsung) Lee

Tessa Archibald

Yikang Qi (visiting PhD candidate from China)

Setareh Parvaresh (visiting student from Johns Hopkins)

Hongjin Xu Practicum, MPH

Amy Michals, MPH

Maike Bruckes, PhD (visiting researcher from Germany)

Yuan Yuan (visiting PhD candidate from China)