Senior Fellow

Damon Centola, PhD

  • Professor, Annenberg School for Communication
  • Professor, School of Engineering and Applied Science

Damon Centola, PhD is Elihu Katz Professor of Communication, Sociology, and Engineering, and Director of the Network Dynamics Group at the University of Pennsylvania. His research team works on problems related to social networks and behavior change, including the social causes of disease outbreaks, the origins of political conflict and ideological polarization, the network dynamics of bias-reduction in medical communities, and the origins of tipping points in social norms. He was a developer of the NetLogo agent based modeling environment, and was awarded a U.S. Patent for inventing a method to promote diffusion in online networks.

Centola is a fellow of the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford University, and his research has been funded by the National Science Foundation, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Facebook, National Institutes of Health, James S. McDonnell Foundation, and the Hewlett Foundation. He is a series editor for Princeton University Press, and the author of How Behavior Spreads: The Science of Complex Contagions (Princeton University Press, 2018), and Change: How to Make Big Things Happen (Little, Brown, & Co., 2021).

Before coming to Penn, Centola was an Assistant Professor at M.I.T. and a Robert Wood Johnson Fellow at Harvard University. His speaking and consulting clients include Amazon, Microsoft, Apple, Cigna, the Smithsonian Institution, the AHA, the National Academies, the U.S. Army, and the NBA, among others. Popular accounts of his work have appeared in the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal, Wired, TIME, the Atlantic, Scientific American, and CNN, among others.

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