Institution for Social and Policy Studies

Advancing Research • Shaping Policy • Developing Leaders

Team directory

Team directory

Deborah Beim, Assistant Professor of Political Science

Deborah Beim is an Assistant Professor of Political Science and a Resident Faculty Fellow of the Institution for Social Policy Studies and Center for the Study of American Politics. She studies judicial politics and applied formal theory.  Her current research focuses on communication and doctrinal development in the Courts of Appeals. 

Curriculum vitae

Ravi Bhalla, Co-Director of ISPS Director's Fellows

Ravi Bhalla is a 2L at Yale Law School. He graduated summa cum laude from Columbia University with a degree in economics-mathematics and philosophy, and, prior to law school, spent two years working for the Federal Reserve Bank of New York and the Financial Stability Oversight Council. At Yale, he is the Executive Managing Editor of the Yale Journal on Regulation, a Teaching Fellow in the Department of Economics and the Membership Chair of the South Asian Law Students Association.

Victoria Bilski, Communications Manager

Office Location: 77 Prospect Street, Room B116

Phone: 203-432-3829


Kassandra Birchler, Graduate Student, Political Science

Kassandra Birchler is currently a PhD student in the Political Science Department at Yale. Her research focuses on the intersection of political science and psychology. In her dissertation she is exploring the effect of early childhood trauma on political ideology. She is also studying how people regulate their emotions in the political context, with a focus on people’s tendency to use political content to replace feelings of anxiety with anger.

Ofra Bloch, Graduate Student, Yale Law

Ofra Bloch is a doctorate candidate at Yale Law School, where she also completed her LL.M. degree in 2015. Embracing a historical perspective, Ofra’s work explores questions of inequality and law. In her dissertation, she examines the ways in which affirmative action law and policy successfully fight some forms of inequality while sustaining others. She is currently exploring the shift towards class-based affirmative action in higher education and aims to develop an understanding of its implications and trade-offs.

Richard Breen, William Graham Sumner Professor of Sociology

William Graham Sumner Professor of Sociology and Director, Center for Research on Inequalities and the Life Course (CIQLE). I joined the Yale Sociology faculty in January 2007. I was previously an Official Fellow of Nuffield College, Oxford, where I am still a Senior Research Fellow. I am a Fellow of the British Academy, a Member of the Royal Irish Academy and a member of Academia Europaea. My research interests are social stratification and inequality, quantitative methods, and the application of formal models in the social sciences.

Lara Chausow, Graduate Student, Political Science


Lara Chausow is a graduate student who studies American Politics, with a focus on Congress, lobbying, and interest groups. Prior to entering graduate school, she conducted research and advocacy for government ethics and campaign finance reform at Public Citizen in Washington, DC.

Adam Chekroud, Graduate Student, Pyschology

Adam Chekroud is a doctoral student in the Psychology department. His research focuses on the use of big data and computational statistics to improve the way we diagnose and treat mental illness. He developed an algorithm that prospectively identifies whether a patient will respond to an antidepressant, and recently founded a mental health startup alongside his PhD research. Adam is currently exploring FDA regulatory frameworks surrounding the use of predictive tools in medicine, specifically concerning recommender systems that arbitrate among already-existing treatments.

Xi Chen, Assistant Professor, School of Public Health

Professor Chen is a health and development economist. He recently completed his Ph.D. in applied economics at Cornell. His research seeks to better understand how social interactions affect health behavior and outcomes, how socioeconomic status drives social competition. Most of his current work draws on primary data from China.

Curriculum Vitae

Nicholas Christakis

Nicholas Christakis, Sol Goldman Family Professor of Social and Natural Science

Dr. Nicholas Christakis is the Sol Goldman Family Professor of Social and Natural Science at Yale University (in the departments of Sociology and of Medicine), and he conducts research on social factors that affect health, health care, and longevity. Dr. Christakis was recently recruited to Yale from Harvard, where he is the Director of the Human Nature Lab and the Co-Director of the Yale Institute for Network Science. His current work involves the application of network science and mathematical models to understand the dynamics of health in longitudinally evolving networks.