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177 Huntington Avenue
9th Floor
Boston, MA 02115


  • MS in Computer System Engineering, Northeastern University
  • BEng in Broadcast and Television Engineering, Communication University of China – China

About Me

  • Hometown: Shenyang, China
  • Field of Study: Personal Health Informatics and Human-Computer Interaction
  • PhD Advisor: Timothy Bickmore


Zhe Zhang is a PhD student in the Personal Health Informatics and Human Computer Interaction programs at Northeastern University’s Khoury College of Computer Sciences, advised by Professor Timothy Bickmore. Zhe’s research focuses on the technical skills of software development and database management and creating patient-facing technologies to improve personal health and well-being. Along with personal health informatics, Zhe also researches human-computer interaction, exploring the use of conversational agents to improve women’s health. Zhe has contributed to publications and her past research dealt with the exploration of Embodied Conversational Agents (ECAs), specifically their system usage patterns in health behavioral change interventions, to promote exclusive breastfeeding. Zhe is interested in helping first-time mothers improve their health during pregnancy. At Northeastern, Zhe participates in the Relational Agents Group. Before joining the PhD program at Northeastern, Zhe earned her Bachelor of Engineering degree in Broadcast and Television Engineering from the Communication University of China and her Master of Science degree in Computer System Engineering from Northeastern University.

What are the specifics of your graduate education (thus far)?

My master program of Computer System Engineering has been concentrating on technical skills in software development and database management. In the current PhD program of Personal Health Informatics, I’ve been focusing on learning research approaches and creating/leveraging patient-facing technologies to improve personal health and well-being.

What are your research interests?

My research interests involve interaction of human-computer interaction and health care. In particular, I am interested in exploring the use of an embodied conversational agent to facilitate and improve women’s health, especially maternal health, in the context of longitudinal interactions.

What’s one problem you’d like to solve with your research/work?

I would like to leverage technologies to help first-time mothers improve their health related to pregnancy.

What aspect of what you do is most interesting?

My past research work includes identifying system usage patterns in health behavioral change interventions with Embodied Conversational Agents (ECAs), exploring the use of ECAs to promote exclusive breastfeeding, as well as investigating how alignment may affect patient trust in healthcare providers.

What are your research or career goals, going forward?

After graduation, I would like to pursue a research-related position in the healthcare industry.

Where did you grow up or spend your most defining years?

I was born in Shenyang, a city at the northeast of China. I lived there until I went to college in Beijing. One thing I like about Boston is that the weather here feels very similar to my hometown.

Where did you study for your undergraduate degree?

It was in Beijing. I really enjoyed the fast-paced and ever-changing environment of that city.