Nithya Ramanathan, Ph.D.


Core Scientist, Methods Core



Dr. Ramanathan is an Assistant Research Professor at UC Los Angeles, and Co-Founder and President of Nexleaf Analytics. She is a principal investigator for the United Nations sponsored clean cookstove initiative, Project Surya.

Dr. Ramanathan has led a number of proposals and IRB-approved studies dedicated to piloting and evaluating the validity and reliability of mobile phones for behavioral interventions. She received one of the highly competitive NIH Challenge Grants (NHLBI funded RC1) to develop the “AndWellness” self-monitoring and self-management mobile phone application that provides real-time assessments and feedback on behavioral and environmental exposures for disease onset and progression for chronic diseases. Dr. Ramanathan is also leading a study with the UCLA Center for HIV Intervention Prevention Treatment Services to adapt AndWellness to study risk behaviors related to the spread of HIV as well as medication adherence for people living with HIV. AndWellness is also employed in a number of other IRB-approved studies, including a National Cancer Institute funded study of mood and energy in breast cancer survivors, a Northwestern funded study of sedentism and working class immigrant adults, and an NIH funded study to evaluate the validity and reliability of mobile phones in evaluating diet, stress, and exercise in young moms at risk for heart disease.

Dr. Ramanathan has also worked in a number of cellphone based studies internationally. For example, with funding from Qualcomm and the National Science Foundation, she has designed a new, low-cost hardware platform for measuring air pollution exposure in global health applications. This system has been deployed in India, and is undergoing further improvement for wider use. In other work, she is developing a low-cost SMS based cellphone platform for monitoring water and hygiene services to be deployed in Indonesia, with funding from the United States Agency for International Development.

Dr. Ramanathan has served as a consultant to the U.S. Agency for International Development and is a Switzer Environmental Fellow and a PopTech Social Innovation Fellow.

She received her Ph.D. in Computer Science from UCLA and holds a BS degree from University of California at Berkeley in Electrical Engineering. Developing innovations in wireless sensor networks for the study of water, her doctoral work led to key advances in the understanding of arsenic contamination of groundwater wells in Bangladesh. Prior to joining UCLA, she worked as a Lead Engineer for large scale servers at both Intel and Hewlett-Packard.


2008, Ph.D. (Computer Science), University of California, Los Angeles, CA
2005, M.S. (Computer Science), University of California, Los Angeles, CA
1998, B.S. (Electrical Engineering & Computer Science), University of California, Berkeley, CA

Research and Interests:

  • Mobile-phone platforms for behavioral and health sciences
  • Low-cost methods for monitoring air pollution
  • Clean cookstove monitoring and distribution
  • SMS based platforms for improving transparency of public services and utilities.


Nithya Ramanathan CV.