Research Team

Principal Investigator:

MJMohammad Jalali ('MJ'), PhD 
Assistant Professor | 
Mohammad Jalali (aka, ‘MJ’) is an Assistant Professor at Harvard Medical School and is based at MGH Institute for Technology Assessment. He is also a research affiliate with MIT Sloan's System Dynamics Group and a faculty affiliate with the Harvard Data Science Initiative. 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 $3 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.

melikeMelike Yildirim, PhD
Postdoctoral Research Fellow |
Melike received her PhD in Industrial and Systems Engineering from Georgia Institute of Technology. She received her Master of Engineering degree in Healthcare Systems Engineering from Lehigh University and held an M.S. in Industrial and Systems Engineering from Georgia Institute of Technology. Melike is interested in developing data-driven predictive models and evaluating healthcare interventions' effectiveness with uncertain or complex outcomes. Specifically, her research focuses on methods/analysis to support medical decision-making related to the prevention, early detection, and treatment of chronic diseases. Her research has been applied to asthma, invasive pneumococcal disease, and depression.

AltonAlton Russell, PhD
Postdoctoral Research Fellow | 
Alton Alton received undergraduate degrees from North Carolina State University in Industrial Engineering and Interdisciplinary Studies with a Global Health concentration. He then worked as a management consultant for U.S. hospitals for two years before pursuing an MS and a PhD in Management Science and Engineering from Stanford University. As a researcher, Alton uses simulation, optimization, and methods from data science, epidemiology, and health economics to inform decisions in healthcare. He is interested in augmenting existing methods in healthcare decision modeling and informing decisions in multiple clinical and policy-related areas, including the safety of the donated blood supply, pediatric kidney disease management, and gastrointestinal procedures, and measures to combat the opioid epidemic.  

WesleyWesley J. Marrero Colón, PhD
Postdoctoral Research Fellow |
Wesley received his PhD in Industrial and Operations Engineering and MSc in Statistics from the University of Michigan. His research interest lies at the intersection of operations research and statistics, with an emphasis on stochastic simulation and optimization to support decision-making in practice. He is a recipient of the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship. Throughout his Ph.D. studies, he received the Judith Liebman Award and the best poster award from the Minority Issues Forum of the Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences, an American Statistical Association sponsored best poster award at the Michigan Student Symposium for Interdisciplinary Statistical Sciences, as well as a Rackham Merit Fellowship.

annekeAnneke Claypool, PhD
Postdoctoral Research Fellow |

Anneke Claypool received her PhD in Management Science and Engineering from Stanford University. Her research is focused on developing models to evaluate health policy impacts and costs. Her current research includes analyzing the cost-effectiveness of dengue and chikungunya virus prevention with a dynamic transmission model and developing methods to improve modeling multiple diseases. She is particularly interested in disease modeling and cost-effectiveness analysis. Anneke is a part of the SC-COSMO Modeling Consortium, where she models and projects county-level COVID-19 outcomes for the state of California.


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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.

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.



Research Interns:



JillianJillian Rochelle 
Intern, undergraduate student at Northwestern 



ElizabethElizabeth Mason 
Intern, undergraduate student at Wellesley College


MarichiMarichi Gupta
Intern, undergraduate student at UNC-Chapel Hill

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


Jaden Wood 
Intern, undergraduate student at Wellesley College

JennyGenevieve Deveaux 
Intern, undergraduate student at George Washington University








NIH K-award mentees: 

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


nasserDr. Nasser Sharareh (application under review)
Research Associate, University of Utah Health

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


Research Affiliates:

TYTse Yang Lim
Ph.D. in System Dynamics, MIT Sloan
ToyyaDr. Toyya Pujol
Assistant Professor, Purdue University
huiruHuiru Dong
PhD Candidate, The University of British Columbia




Celia Stafford, MPH (admitted to PhD program in Health Policy at Harvard)

Nicole Poellinger, MPH (Clinical Trial Associate at MGH)

Ava Connolly (undergrad at Harvard; Data Engineer at Arrive Logistics)

Colleen Conger (visiting student from Cornell; admitted to MD/MPH at U of Texas)

Hannah Holmlund, MPH (practicum student from Boston University)

Emily Pham (intern from Berkeley)

Lindsay Wang (intern from Tufts University)

Atharv Oak (intern from MIT)

Bhav Jain (intern from MIT)

Emily Allardi (intern from Middlebury College)


Hongjin Xu, MPH (practicum student from Boston University)

Amy Michals, MPH (practicum student from Boston University)


Danny (Onsung) Lee (undergrad student at Northeastern)

Yael Kohen (intern from Tufts University)

Tessa Archibald (intern from Tufts University)

Yikang Qi (visiting PhD candidate from China)

Setareh Parvaresh (visiting student from Johns Hopkins)

Maike Bruckes, PhD (visiting researcher from Germany)

Yuan Yuan (visiting PhD candidate from China)