Ka-Yuet Liu

Assistant Professor

Department: Sociology
272 Haines Hall
Email: ka@soc.ucla.edu

Keywords: China, Asia, Public Health

Why are there stable cross-country differences in suicide rates? How can the prevalence of autism increase so rapidly? 

Networks are crucial to solving epidemiological puzzles. Medical science presumes biological risk levels drive disease patterns. I challenge this assumption—by showing the diffusion of knowledge about autism shapes its spatial patterns and ruling out competing environmental and biological explanations, I demonstrate that social factors are as important as biological factors. Specifically, I address the classic sociological question of how social interactions generate macro epidemiological patterns, using a wide range of techniques (e.g., agent-based modeling) and large datasets (e.g., administrative, spatial, and online). These methods have also produced innovative findings on the population-level effects of suicide contagion and fertility decisions. My research thereby contributes to diffusion theories and the applications of system science techniques in social epidemiology. 

Research interests: Social Diffusion, Social Networks, Medical Sociology, Micro-Macro Links, Geographical Information System