Research Funders

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At MJ LAB, we follow three goals. First, we conduct simulation modeling and informatics research for various population-based health policies, focusing on health outcomes and cost-effectiveness. In our modeling research—drawn on theories of optimization and strategy—we analyze the impacts of large-scale policies for prevention, screening, and treatment. We have developed models for opioids, obesity, post-traumatic stress disorder, and depression.

Second, we focus our research on mechanisms that connect human decision-making to health care systems, because that is where many important policy-resistant problems lie. In particular, we aim to understand how and why many health policies fail to produce lasting results or worse, create results counter to their goals.

Third, we use data science approaches to understand the underlying causes of public health problems and develop methods to rigorously connect models with quantitative data. The growing complexity of health care issues, combined with the ubiquity of large amounts of data, requires increasingly sophisticated analytical methods. We complement our phenomenological research with methodological contributions that build bridges across methodological and application domains. 

Major Funded Projects

Using system dynamics to enhance the FDA’s opioids systems model and address the ongoing crisis

FDA: 1 U01 FD006868-01, 2019-2021

Dr. Jalali’s role: Principal Investigator ($999,532)

Goal: To enhance and expand FDA’s opioid systems model to augment the capabilities of policy and decision makers to curb the opioid crisis.

Expanding FDA’s opioids systems model to conduct economic evaluations and outcome analyses of national opioid policies

FDA: U01 FD007064-01, 2020-2022

Dr. Jalali’s role: Principal Investigator ($1,249,790)

Goal: To work collaboratively with FDA to expand its current opioids systems model to include a cost-effectiveness analysis of interventions and policies to reduce opioid-related illnesses, including opioid misuse, use disorder, and overdose.

Monitoring multidimensional aspects of QUAlity of Life after cancer ImmunoTherapy, an Open smart digital Platform for personalized prevention and patient management (QUALITOP)

European Commission: 875171, 2020-2023

Dr. Jalali’s role: Lead Scientist of the MGH site; there are 13 sites in this project ($502,071)

Goal: To collect real-world quality-of-life data after cancer immunotherapy treatment and conduct causal inference analyses, identifying the determinants of immunotherapy-related adverse events. This will be accomplished using artificial intelligence and simulation modeling approaches.

Community based system dynamics models of alcohol and substance exposed pregnancy in northern plains American Indian women

NIH: 1R01DA050696-01, 2020-2024

Dr. Jalali’s role: Co-Investigator (PI: Dr. Deutsch)

Goal: To develop and utilize community-based system dynamics models on the issues of alcohol/substance exposed pregnancy, inter-partner violence, and unplanned pregnancies among American Indian women.

Enhancing FDA’s opioids systems modeling efforts to more comprehensively address fentanyl, stimulants, polysubstance use, and associated outcomes

FDA: U01FD00745501, 2021-2022

Dr. Jalali’s role: Principal Investigator ($1,249,222)

Goal: To expand the scope of our opioid system modeling efforts at FDA by adding detail regarding stimulant use, fentanyls adulteration of stimulants, and fentanyls tablets, allowing us to improve estimates of quality of life and overdose and overdose fatality rates and increase confidence in the projected effects of intervention strategies on these outcomes.

Optimizing HIV care in less developed countries

NIH: R37 AI058736-MERIT, 2003-2023

Dr. Jalali’s role: Co-Investigator (PI: Dr. Freedberg)

Goal: To develop innovative modeling optimization methods to identify the combinations of testing, treatment, and prevention strategies that will have the greatest impact on specific populations in different countries.

Innovation across the spectrum of pediatric HIV care

NIH: R01HD079214, 2014-2024

Dr. Jalali’s role: Co-Investigator (PI: Dr. Ciaranello)

Goal: To help clinicians, program planners, and policymakers identify the optimal use of scarce resources to improve long-term health for children with HIV.

A community-based systems science approach to assess risk and protective factors and improve the efficacy and equity of intervention strategies for stimulant use, use disorder, and overdose

CDC: TBD (R01), 2021-2024

Dr. Jalali’s role: Principal Investigator ($1,085,719)

Goal: To build a model to test how different strategies could reduce use disorders and overdose in two states – Massachusetts and South Dakota – with a focus on differences by urban and rural setting as well as race and ethnicity, using what we learn about these states to inform national policy.