Marcu headshot Sept2017.jpg


Gabriela Marcu
Assistant Professor
School of Information
University of Michigan

3438 North Quad
105 S. State St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1285

gmarcu -at-

I am an Assistant Professor at the University of Michigan School of Information. Previously, I was in the College of Computing and Informatics at Drexel University. I hold a PhD in Human-Computer Interaction from Carnegie Mellon University, and a BS in Informatics from the University of California, Irvine. 

I direct the Empathic Research Group, which brings together those interested in working on community-based and socially impactful projects within a collegial and inclusive environment. Our projects primarily use qualitative methods to build empathy for lived experiences, and participatory methods to engage stakeholders in equitable design efforts.

My research explores how interpersonal relationships, as well as institutions, can support socioemotional development of youth. The aim of my work is to design and implement interventions at appropriate times in order to promote emotional wellbeing and improve long-term mental health. I have studied behavior management practices within schools, including what leads to a special education placement, and how parents engage in collaboration with their child’s school. I am interested in mental health interventions that can fill gaps between available resources and services. These interventions include supplementing services and strengthening social support for individuals who have a stigmatized condition or status. I use participatory research and design to explore opportunities for computing and informatics to have positive impact on these issues.

My research interests include:

  • human-computer interaction

  • ubiquitous computing

  • computer-supported cooperative work

  • qualitative methods


  • mental health and wellbeing

  • user experience and empathy

  • participatory approaches to research and design

  • stigma and marginalization versus inclusion and equity

I am also passionate about broadening participation in computing and changing the culture of computing. Read about my outreach efforts here.


Jan 7 | Our paper “Breakdowns in Home-School Collaboration for Behavioral Intervention” was accepted to CHI 2019. [pdf]

Nov 16 | I am a recipient of the 2018 CUR Math and Computer Science Early Career Mentor Award for outstanding mentoring of undergraduate researchers.

Sept 18 | Looking forward to continuing conversations about conducting research with stigmatized populations at our CSCW 2018 workshop. [website]

Mar 19 | Our paper "Bounce: Designing a Physical Activity Intervention for Breast Cancer Survivors" was accepted to PervasiveHealth 2018. [pdf]

Mar 15 | Honored to be selected for a NCWIT Undergraduate Research Mentoring Award, which recognizes faculty "for their outstanding mentorship, high-quality research opportunities, recruitment of women and minority students, and efforts to encourage and advance undergraduates in computing-related fields".  Thank you to my students and colleagues for nominating me!

Feb 16 | My research group had 4 late-breaking work submissions accepted to CHI 2018:

  • Co-Designing a Classroom Display to Support Behavior Management Plans [pdf]

  • The Role of Reflection and Context in Medication Adherence Tracking for People Living with HIV [pdf]

  • Designing an Emergency Response Community for Opioid Overdoses in Philadelphia [pdf]

  • Not Alone: Designing for Self-Disclosure and Social Support Exchange After Pregnancy Loss [pdf]

Feb 9 | Our workshop "Designing with Diverse Populations: Sharing Experiences, Best Practices and Opportunities" has been accepted to PervasiveHealth 2018. See you in New York! [website]


Mar 13-16 | IMLS National Forum on design thinking and methods in master's level library education in Seattle

Mar 28-Apr 7 | Escuela Politécnica Superior, Universidad Autónoma de Madrid in Spain

Apr 9-10 | Sociotechnical Interventions for Health Disparity Reduction workshop in New Orleans

Apr 21-26 | CHI in Montreal

May 15-17 | NCWIT Summit in Grapevine, Texas

May 21-24 | PervasiveHealth in New York

Nov 2-7 | CSCW in Jersey City


SI 442: Needs Assessment and Usability Evaluation (Winter ‘19)

SI 672: Applied Clinical Informatics (Winter ‘19)