Welcome to Viral Lab!

We work hard, dream big, and enjoy life while developing techniques to analyze online behaviors to improve individual well-being and address societal problems. We leverage online and offline data to gain insight into human behaviors and analyze technological systems to mitigate threats against online conversations by developing techniques in machine learning, network science, and computational social sciences.

The Viral Lab is led by Onur Varol, an assistant professor at the Sabanci University Computer Science Program, with an affiliation with the Center of Excellence in Data Analytics. We named our lab as "viral" because we aim to breach disciplinary boundaries and make novel connections between them.

Lab news


  • Onur Varol received The Young Scientist Award from the Turkish Science Academy 🎉
  • Our project "Developing systems for coordination and automated behavior detection on online social networks" funded by TUBITAK 2247-D National Leader Researcher Grant. We will be hiring 5 graduate and postdoctoral researchers soon.
  • 🎉 VRL Lab's first work, titled "Academic Support Network Reflects Doctoral Experience and Productivity", submitted for publication and the pre-print available on ArXiv. Congratulations to Ozgur for his hard work and ambition! 🎉
  • Our group members Ozgur, Umut and Ege participated in the SICSS last summer. The findings of their research project on the percention of Covid-19 in Turkey were published in collaboration with Teyit.org.
    This started a collaboration to write a series of articles about Covid-19 perception in Turkey. We are primarily investigating the actors, audience and the mechanisms used to spread vaccine misinformation.
    🦠 Covid-19 aşıları toplum ve medya tarafından nasıl algılanıyor?
    💊 Türkiye'de aşı dezenformasyonu: Yanlış bilgiyi kimler yayıyor, ilişki ağları ne?
  • Onur Varol presented at GLODEM AI and CSS Seminar Series
  • Onur Varol joined VeriTezgahı podcast to have a fun conversation about social media . (In Turkish)
  • Onur Varol organized the computatational social science session at the Data Science Summer School.
  • Onur Varol joined EpiSTEM Youtube Channel for an interview to talk about problems of social media and his ongoing research. (In Turkish)