Anthony Vanky

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Anthony Vanky develops and applies data science and computational methods to design, plan, evaluate cities, emphasizing their applications to urban planning and design. Broadly, his work focuses on the domains of transportation and human mobility; social behaviors and urban space; policy evaluation; quantitative social sciences; and the evaluation of urban form. Through this work, he has extensively collaborated with public and private partners. In addition, he considers creative approaches toward data visualization, public engagement and advocacy, and research methods.


Anthony Vanky’s Cityways project analyzed 2.2 million trips from 135,000 people over one year to understand the factors that influence outdoor pedestrian path choice. Factors considered included weather, urban morphology, businesses, topography, traffic, the presence of green spaces, among others.

Robert Manduca

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Professor Manduca’s research focuses on urban and regional economic development, asking why some cities and regions prosper while others decline, how federal policy influences urban fortunes, and how neighborhood social and economic conditions shape life outcomes. He studies these topics using computer simulations, spatial clustering methods, network analysis, and data visualization.

In other work he explores the consequences of rising income inequality for various aspects of life in the United States, using descriptive methods and simulations applied to Census microdata. This research has shown how rising inequality has lead directly to lower rates of upward mobility and increases in the racial income gap.

9.9.2020 MIDAS Faculty Research Pitch Video.

Screenshot from “Where Are The Jobs?” visualization mapping every job in the United States based on the unemployment insurance records from the Census LODES data.

Jana Hirschtick

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I am a social epidemiologist with expertise in data collection, analysis, and translation. My research is focused on quantifying health inequities at the individual, community, and national level and examining how policy and social factors impact these inequities. My experience has spanned academic, clinical, and community settings, providing me with a unique perspective on the value and need for epidemiologic research and dissemination in multiple contexts. My current work focuses on the health equity impact of tobacco product use as part of the University of Michigan Tobacco Center of Regulatory Science, the Center for the Assessment of Tobacco Regulations (CAsToR). I am examining sociodemographic inequities in polytobacco use (the use of multiple tobacco products) across multiple nationally representative datasets. I am also an active member of CAsToR’s Data Analysis and Dissemination (DAD) Core. Additionally, I am collaborating with colleagues in Chicago to disseminate findings from a community-level probability survey of 10 Chicago communities, of which I served as Co-PI while working at a hospital system in Chicago. We continue to publish on the unique survey process, sharing our community-driven approach to conducting research and disseminating findings in partnership with surveyed communities.

Nancy Fleischer

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Dr. Fleischer’s research focuses on how the broader socioeconomic and policy environments impact health disparities and the health of vulnerable populations, in the U.S. and around the world. Through this research, her group employs various analytic techniques to examine data at multiple levels (country-level, state-level, and neighborhood-level), emphasizing the role of structural influences on individual health. Her group applies advanced epidemiologic, statistical, and econometric methods to this research, including survey methodology, longitudinal data analysis, hierarchical modeling, causal inference, systems science, and difference-in-difference analysis. Dr. Fleischer leads two NCI-funded projects focused on the impact of tobacco control policies on health equity in the U.S.

Gary L. Freed

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I conduct a broad range of research on health policy and health economics focused on children. I will be launching a program on child health equity in the fall of 2020.

Barbara Koremenos

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Every year, states negotiate, conclude, sign, and give effect to hundreds of new international agreements. Koremenos argues that the detailed design provisions of such agreements matter for phenomena that scholars, policymakers, and the public care about: When and how international cooperation occurs and is maintained.
Theoretically, Koremenos develops hypotheses regarding how cooperation problems like incentives to cheat can be confronted and moderated through law’s detailed design provisions. Empirically, she exploits her data set composed of a random sample of international agreements in economics, environment, human rights and security.
Her theory and testing lead to a consequential discovery: Considering the vagaries of international politics, international cooperation looks more law-like than anarchical, with the detailed provisions of international law chosen in ways that increase the prospects and robustness of cooperation.

Robert Hampshire

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He develops and applies operations research, data science, and systems approaches to public and private service industries. His research focuses on the management and policy analysis of emerging networked industries and innovative mobility services such as smart parking, connected vehicles, autonomous vehicles, ride-hailing, bike sharing, and car sharing. He has worked extensively with both public and private sector partners worldwide. He is a queueing theorist that uses statistics, stochastic modeling, simulation and dynamic optimization.

Sunghee Lee

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My research focuses on issues in data collection with hard-to-reach populations. In particular, she examines 1) nontraditional sampling approaches for minority or stigmatized populations and their statistical properties and 2) measurement error and comparability issues for racial, ethnic and linguistic minorities, which also have implications for cross-cultural research/survey methodology. Most recently, my research has been dedicated to respondent driven sampling that uses existing social networks to recruit participants in both face-to-face and Web data collection settings. I plan to expand my research scope in examining representation issues focusing on the racial/ethnic minority groups in the U.S. in the era of big data.

Christopher Fariss

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My core research focuses on the politics and measurement of human rights, discrimination, violence, and repression. I use computational methods to understand why governments around the world torture, maim, and kill individuals within their jurisdiction and the processes monitors use to observe and document these abuses. Other projects cover a broad array of themes but share a focus on computationally intensive methods and research design. These methodological tools, essential for analyzing data at massive scale, open up new insights into the micro-foundations of state repression and the politics of measurement.

People rely more on strong ties for job help in countries with greater inequality. Coefficients from 55 regressions of job transmission on tie strength are compared to measures of inequality (Gini coefficient), mean income per capita, and population, all measured in 2013. Gray lines indicate 95% confidence regions from 1000 simulated regressions that incorporate uncertainty in the country-level regressions (see below for more details). In each simulated regression we draw each country point from the distribution of regression coefficients implied by the estimate and standard error for that country and measure of tie strength. P values indicate the simulated probability that there is no relationship between tie strength and the other variable. Laura K. Gee, Jason J. Jones, Christopher J. Fariss, Moira Burke, and James H. Fowler. “The Paradox of Weak Ties in 55 Countries” Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization 133:362-372 (January 2017) DOI:10.1016/j.jebo.2016.12.004

Misha Teplitskiy

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My research is at the intersection of Science of Science + Sociology of Organizations + Computational Social Science. I study how social and organizational factors affect scientific discovery. I am especially interested in evaluation practices in science, and whether they promote or stifle innovation. My approach relies primarily on field experiments — interventions in scientific competitions and other settings — and applying computational tools to large-scale observational data.

Current research projects include:
1. Cumulative advantage in science: Do metrics like citation counts and impact factors proxy quality and influence, or help create them?
2. Biases in expert evaluation: Do groups of experts make decisions differently from individuals?
3. Science and the media: What research is picked up by the media, and how is it covered?

Showing how often a paper has been cited causes scientists to perceive it as of lower quality, unless that paper is among the 10% most highly cited.