CSSLab Director Duncan Watts says farewell to former Executive Director Valery Yakubovich and welcomes his replacement, Jeanne Ruane.

Dear CSSLab Community,

I want to share some bittersweet news: Valery Yakubovich, our fearless Executive Director, joined the Mack Institute for Innovation Management as their Executive Director at the beginning of August 2022.

Personally, I’m very sad to see Valery leave. He and I have been talking about this lab for over three years now, since even before I started at Penn, and it’s hard to imagine how we could have come this far, this fast, without his tireless work and dedicated leadership. At the same time, I’m also very proud, both of Valery and of the lab. The Mack Institute is a much larger and more established organization, so it’s a real testament to the work Valery has done with us these past two years that he has moved on to such a prestigious post.

Valery has left the lab in great shape. We have a strong team, a solid funding base, and are executing successfully on our vision. In the next year, I expect to see that investment begin to pay off even more handsomely as our work becomes increasingly public. Again, none of this would have happened without Valery, so I’m extremely grateful. But now that the foundation has been laid, I feel very confident that we will continue to thrive even as he moves on to new challenges.

Finally, I’m thankful that Valery agreed to stay on to oversee the training of his replacement, Jeanne Ruane. Jeanne joins us following her roles at Temple University as the Executive Director of their university-wide Data Science Institute and assistant professor with the Department of Statistical Science. In these roles, she worked closely with collaborators from Columbia, MIT, Stanford, Duke, Johns Hopkins, the University of Chicago, and Yale — as well as industry partners including Amazon, Google, Disney, Wells Fargo, and LinkedIn — to identify and address problems for which a solution would have a substantial impact in the world. Previously, Jeanne was a research fellow with Harvard University and Temple University under the direction of Edo Airoldi and Paul Pavlou, where she conducted research in data science and digital analytics with a focus on networks, information systems, and statistics. Her research included designing and conducting analysis of digital experiments involving business analytics, network data, sampling, modeling, and inference with social network data in complex observational studies.

Please join me in thanking Valery for his foundational role in creating the CSSLab and in wishing him the best for his exciting new adventure, as well as welcoming Jeanne!





CSSLab Director

Stevens University Professor