Chris von Csefalvay

ORCID: 0000-0003-3131-0864 | Scopus | Google Scholar | DBLP | ISNI | VIAF
Author pages: Elsevier | Amazon | Goodreads

Born on 15 July, 1986, in Budapest, Hungary and educated at Oxford, Leiden and Cardiff, Chris von Csefalvay (he/him) is a data scientist/computational epidemiologist focusing on infectious diseases and quantitative pharmacovigilance. His work on COVID-19 has been featured in a number of international media outlets and national television. He is the author of The Computational Modeling of Infectious Disease, the authoritative textbook on computational epidemiology in Python, a Fellow of the Royal Society for Public Health and board certified in public health (#19626).

Key facts

Born: 15 July 1986, Budapest, Hungary

Education: University of Oxford (2005-2009, 2010-2011), Cardiff University (2009-2010), University of Leiden (2007-2008)

Parents: Zoltán Cséfalvay, Anna Maria Bartal

Spouse: Katie Hedrick (m. 2013)

Books: Computational Modeling of Infectious Disease, Learn Julia the Hard Way

Early life and career

Chris von Csefalvay was born in Budapest, Hungary, the son of the diplomat and civil servant Zoltan Csefalvay and the social scientist Anna Maria Bartal. After living in a handful of countries, he attended Thomas Mann Gymnasium in Budapest, where he graduated with the class of ’05. Chris von Csefalvay matriculated at University College, Oxford, in 2005, and graduated with a top 1st in 2009.

Chris von Csefalvay, rowing for Merton College, Oxford

In 2006, he was an intern at the European Parliament with the office of the late Etelka Barsi-Pataky, MEP, where he was instrumental in reviewing evidence for the EU’s Galileo global positioning satellite programme. He went on to graduate from Cardiff Law School’s Legal Practice Course, and returned to Oxford in 2010 for his graduate degree.

After completing his BCL, he joined the City of London law firm of Dechert LLP and completed the requirements to qualify as a solicitor in 2013. He then embarked upon a career in data science, rapidly rising through the ranks, including senior roles in computational epidemiology and population health. From 2018 to 2022, he has served as VP of Special Projects of Starschema, a transatlantic IT professional services company headquartered in Arlington, VA, where he advises some of the world’s leading companies on getting value out of their data. His clients come predominantly, but not exclusively, from the healthcare, life sciences and pharmaceuticals sectors. After Starschema’s acquisition by HCLTech, he was appointed the Practice Director responsible for AI, ML and data science applications in the medical technology and healthcare domain in October 2022. In his free time, he serves Northern Virginia as part of the Medical Reserve Corps. (disclaimer on affiliations)

Rapid fire

Theme song? The Final Five theme from Battlestar Galactica played on a piano.

Most useless talent? I know every landline area code in Hungary.

Coffee or tea? Diet Coke.

Go-to karaoke song? Mr Brightside by The Killers.

Treehouse or underwater house? Underwater. Who comes up with these questions, anyway?

Awards and recognition

The author of numerous studies and research papers, he is a one-time winner of the Martin Wronker Prize at the University of Oxford, along with the Field Fisher Waterhouse Prize, the University College Prize and the Allen & Overy Prize. As a graduate student at Merton College, Oxford, he held both the Barnett Bequest and the Falcon Chambers scholarship, one of very few graduate students to have ever done so, followed by earning distinctions on both undergraduate work and postgraduate work at the University of Cardiff. Currently, Chris von Csefalvay is a visiting lecturer in mathematics and data science at the Budapest University of Technology and Economics, where he is supervising several BSc thesis students every year. He has also been a speaker at a large number of conferences and professional gatherings.

Chris von Csefalvay interviewed on national television on the COVID-19 pandemic

Chris von Csefalvay has been a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts since 2015, and was elected Fellow of the Royal Society for Public Health in 2021, making him one of the youngest-ever FRSPHs. He is Board Certified in Public Health (CPH) by the National Board of Public Health Examiners. In addition, he is also a Member of The Association for Professionals in Regulatory Affairs, the OR Society and the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators. He is a proud alumnus of the COVID Tracking Project and Starschema’s lead within the COVID-19 Healthcare Coalition spearheaded by MITRE.

Chris von Csefalvay interviewed on Euronews about predictive models for COVID-19.

He’s also credited for an unusually pretty sequence of numbers called Jellyfish Heart numbers (OEIS A344856). Perhaps more quaintly, he was a member of his college’s croquet 1st IV, and holds the distinction of having written the first essay to both win the University College Essay Prize in Law and be published in a law review.

Chris von Csefalvay’s research

Chris von Csefalvay’s artificial intelligence research is largely focused on computer vision, in particular applications of computer vision that involve medical imagery, from cytopathological specimens to the complexity of MRI scans and ultrasound recordings.

His research in public health focuses on infectious disease dynamics and the computational prediction of infectious disease. You can read more about that here. He is the author of The Computational Modeling of Infectious Disease (Elsevier, 2023).

Rapid fire

Cats or dogs? Dogs.

If you could only eat one food for the rest of your life, what would it be? Jamaican jerk chicken patties.

Favourite song to sing in the shower? Cassidy’s Vide Cor Meum.

If you could have any job in the world (besides your current one), what would it be? Kinder Surprise toy designer.

Favourite movie? The Dam Busters (1955).

Personal life

Chris von Csefalvay and his wife, Kathryn von Csefalvay

Chris von Csefalvay shares his life with his wife Kathryn von Csefalvay, an illustrator and art historian, and their Golden Retriever, Oliver (aka Blissful Goldens Amber Shine). After a stint in Oxford, London, Budapest, Munich and Washington, D.C., they made their home in Denver, CO. In his spare time, Chris von Csefalvay enjoys horticulture, adaptive rowing and spending time with their dog. He also has a bit of a Quora problem. A survivor of haemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis (HLH) as a young man, he lives with neuromyelitis optica spectrum disorder (NMOSD) and a resulting spinal cord injury since 2015, but never let this hold him back – indeed, much of his enthusiasm for his work flows from his personal experience with two rare and poorly understood disorders.

Chris von Csefalvay in the media

Pronunciation guide

From time to time, I am asked how to pronounce my name (I admit, it’s one of the less straightforward ones). It rhymes with Chick-Fil-A.