Deborah Estrin is a Professor of Computer Science at Cornell Tech in New York City where she holds The Robert V. Tishman Founder's Chair, serves as the Associate Dean for Impact, and founded the Jacobs Institute's Health Tech Hub. Estrin's research interests include digital health, ubiquitous computing, personalization, and privacy (TEDMED). Most recently, she has joined the growing community of scholars and practitioners engaged in Public Interest Technology.

Before joining Cornell University Estrin was the Founding Director of the NSF Center for Embedded Networked Sensing (CENS) at UCLA; pioneering the development of mobile and wireless systems to collect and analyze real time data about the physical world. Estrin co-founded the non-profit startup, Open mHealth and has served on several scientific advisory boards for early stage mobile health startups.

Her honors include: ACM Athena Lecture (2006), Anita Borg Institute's Women of Vision Award for Innovation (2007), The American Academy of Arts and Sciences (2007), The National Academy of Engineering (2009), The IEEE Internet Award (2017), MacArthur Fellow (2018), and The National Academy of Medicine (2019). She was awarded honorary doctorates from EPFL (2008) and Uppsala (2011) universities. She is currently an Amazon Scholar (2020-present).

Current research collaborators include: Tanzeem Choudhury, Nicki Dell. Helen Nissenbaum, JP Pollak,

PhD students: Eugene Bagdasaryan, Andrea Cuadra, Emily Tseng, Hongyi Wen

Postdocs: Katrin Hansel, Michael Sobolev

Staff: Christina Ko,


  • Small Data

    Small Data are the myriad of data traces each person generates everyday. Unfortunately, that data is often unavailable to the individual and their caregivers in a form that they can make sense of and act upon. We explore the opportunities and challenges of turning small data into big insights with specific attention to patient-centered design, privacy, and affordability.

    Creating an ecosystem around small data

  • Immersive Recommendations

    We explore a personalization approach in which individuals actively harness their own digital traces. We focus in particular on algorithms, systems, and rich user interactions that make personalization both immersive--through the use of diverse data sources--and intentional--through transparency and user-modeling inputs that allow the end user to amplify their aspirational-behaviors relative to historically-observed behaviors.

  • Health Tech Hub

    The Masters of Science program in Health Tech was launched in 2015 and has graduated numerous technologists who are now working across the ecosystem from tech companies large and small, to payers, providers and research.

  • We participate in ongoing projects at the intersection of small data and health, including: ResearchStack, and The Commons Project: CommonHealth.

    We collaborate with Northwell Health in a joint postdoctoral program.

  • Open mHealth

    Open mHealth works with clinical experts and app and device developers to make digital health data as useful and actionable as possible. The open API platform gives developers a way to easily produce, access and integrate clinically meaningful and actionable data. Open mHealth builds products designed to support collaborative, connected, personalized care, that demonstrate the power of our open platform.

Funders and Collaborators

Recent Tweets

Recent Presentations

  1. ADVANCE CRT Summer School, Keynote: Using small data to personalize, sustain, and study health Invited Speaker, University College Cork, Ireland (Virtually) June 24, 2020.
  2. National Academies Workshop, Keynote: An Examination of Emerging Bioethical Issues in Biomedical Research, Invited Speaker, Washington DC, February 2020.
  3. Barnard College Distinguished Lecture Series, Participatory sensing: from ecosystems to human system, Computer Science, Barnard College, February 2020.
  4. ATS Women Panel, December 2019.
  5. Node Health, Invited speaker NYC, December 2019.
  6. Three Decades of DIMACS, Participatory sensing: from ecosystems to human system, Rutgers University, November 2019.
  7. Weill Women’s Health Symposium, Invited speaker, “How data is changing the future of personal health”, NYC, October 2019.
  8. Mayo Transform, Invited speaker, “Personalizing care with small data”, Mayo Clinic, September 2019.
  9. Open Science Matters, Panelist, Sage Bionetworks, Seattle, July 2019.
  10. Net@50, Invited speaker, MIT, Boston, July 2019.
  11. UC Berkeley Computer Science Commencement address, Berkeley, May 2019.

Complete List of Selected Presentations