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Meet the Team


MELINDA MILLS | Principal Investigator

Mills’ main research areas combine a social science and genetic approach to the study of behavioural outcomes, with a focus on fertility, partnerships and assortative mating. She joined the University of Oxford in 2014 and was previously at the University of Groningen, The Netherlands (2006-2014), Free University Amsterdam (2002-2005) and the University of Bielefeld, Germany (2000-2002). She holds a PhD in Demography from the University of Groningen (2000) and a Master and Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from the University of Alberta, Canada.

She is a Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (MBE), Fellow of the British Academy, Fellow of the European Academy of Sociology and Board Member of the European Consortium for Sociological Research.​

Melinda’s website



David received a BA in May 2012 from Colby College and majored in Biology. He completed his PhD in 2018 at the University of Colorado Boulder in the Department of Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology and in the Institute for Behavioral Genetics. He was advised by Dr. Scott Vrieze. His research interests include behavioral genetics, scalable digital phenotyping methods, and the integration of geospatial data.

David's website



Ding received her Bachelors in Social Science from the University of Macau. She holds a MPhil (2014) and DPhil (2018) in Sociology from University of Oxford. In her dissertation, she adopts a biosocial approach integrating life course perspective and fundamental causes theory, to bridge the disjointed knowledge on contextual, social and biological influences on health.

Xuejie's website



Taiji undertook his Ph.D. in Sociology at the University of Oxford, where he is now a postdoctoral researcher. His current interests surround the use of molecular genetic, survey, and accelerometer data to explore the reciprocal relationship between chronotype and the timing of paid employment. He is also involved in an ongoing project examining cross-country trends in ethnic endogamy/exogamy using online dating data.

Riley's website

David's website



Akimova is a postdoctoral researcher investigating links between chronoype and mental health and statistical applications. Particularly, she is interested in applying molecular genetics to advance our understanding of how mental health problems, and genetic predispositions to these problems, are associated with labour market decisions and experiences. Akimova holds a Master's degree in Sociology from the University of Oxford, during which she focused on educational inequality.Her undergraduate at Moscow State University focused on social stratification and globalisation trends in Russia.

Evelina's website

Research Affiliates



Nicola Barban was previously a Senior Research Officer on the SOCIOGENOME project and continues to collaborate. He is now an Associate Professor at the University of Essex and ISER. He holds a PhD in Statistical Sciences from the University of Padua, Italy. Before moving to Oxford, he worked as postdoctoral researcher at the University of Groningen, The Netherlands. His main research interests are on sociogenomics, quantitative methods in social sciences; demography; social interactions; life course analysis.

Nicola’s website



Tropf was previously a Senior Research Officer on the SOCIOGENOME project. He received his Diploma (Master  from the University of Bamberg with distinction. From 2011 to 2015, he was appointed as doctoral researcher and lecturer at the ICS Graduate School, University of Groningen working on the VIDI project 'Is Fertility in the Genes'?. He is now an Assistant Professor in Social Science Genetics at CREST/ENSAE, Paris, France. 

Felix’s website



Rahal previously worked on Mills’ Wellcome Trust ISSF and John Fell Fund project on The Foundation of Multidisciplinary Human Reproductive Research. Charles now successfully leads his own British Academy Funded Fellowship entitled 'The Social Data Science of Healthcare Supply' which develops data driven tools for analysing healthcare procurement processes. Other current research interests include applied econometrics (predominantly spatial and time series), real estate economics, social mobility and natural language processing.

Charlie’s website

Current Ph.D (DPhil) Students



Domante Grendaite is a final year DPhil student at Nuffield College, University of Oxford. Broadly speaking, she is interested in intergenerational transmission of educational advantages and disadvantages. More specifically, her aim is to understand the biases that arise in social science models when genetic measures are not included and, hopefully, to correct for some of those biases. Furthermore, she studies parental involvement as well as cognitive and non-cognitive skills and looks at how they are potentially moderating and mediating the association between one’s genes and educational attainment. Before starting her DPhil, Domante completed an MSc in Sociology at Oxford and received her BA in social sciences from Sciences Po Paris.

Domante's website

Administrative Support



Knowledge Exchange & Webmaster

Schulte received her Bachelors degree from Franklin & Marshall College and her Masters from the University of Oxford. She is committed to the communication of cutting-edge research through innovative deployments of digital and visual media.

Kayla’s website



Moffa is a Research Projects Administrator and personal assistant to Professor Melinda Mills; supporting her research projects. AThis includes administrative support for the portfolio of research projects of Mills and the team in the area of ‘sociogenomics’.

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