Mark Fontana

I’m a PhD in economics from the University of Michigan and a post-doc at USC. My interests are interdisciplinary and empirical, focused on the intersection of economics, psychology, and biology.

I’m interested in the genetic underpinnings of cognitive function, risk taking, and mental health disorders, specifically how genetic predispositions can (1) mediate the impact of environmental changes (so-called “gene-by-environment” interactions) and (2) be used to develop personalized education and healthcare regimes.

I’ve spent years developing adaptive surveying software that explores how framing biases affect measurements of risk aversion and optimal asset allocation. Our goal is to inform selection of default investment plans (e.g. 401(k)’s, public pensions, etc) and develop a procedure that investment advisors can use to understand their clients’ risk attitudes and better tailor portfolio advice.

I’m also interested in how health platforms implemented over mobile devices (“mobile health”) can improve the accessibility and quality of individual healthcare information, as well as how interventions delivered through these platforms can alter personal goals and spur pro-health behavior (e.g. increased physical activity, healthier sleep schedules).

For more information about me (as well as work in progress) see:
Curriculum Vitae