Mark Igra

Sociology * Software


I’m a student in the UW Sociology PhD program. My work in sociology is focused on understanding the shape of concern for others, and how this affects action. That is, how do social structures and culture shape feelings of compassion, animus and indifference to others, based on their “social distance” from ourselves. Under what conditions do those feelings translate into beneficial or detrimental action? How do institutions and markets amplify or inhibit the effects of those actions? My new paper in Social Forces shows how geographically and racially segregated social networks coupled with income inequality based in current and historical racist practices lead to racial inequality in medical crowdfunding. I also co-authored this paper on inequality in COVID-19 crowdfunding which was covered in the New York Times. You can find my CV here.


Prior to beginning my PhD, I had a long career in the software industry. I was a founder of LabKey Software, which provides data management software for life science. In 1999 I co-founded and was VP of Products for a ground-breaking hosted web development platform. Westside was acquired by BEA Systems (later acquired by Oracle). I worked at Microsoft througout the 1990s on the VB and Microsoft Excel teams. Back in 1988 I co-wrote version 1.0 of EndNote reference software for a small company in Berkeley. EndNote is still being sold by Thomson Reuters over 30 years later, though I might try something more modern if I were you.

About Me

Now that my two sons have left the nest, I live with my wife in Seattle, where I demonstrate life’s futility by rooting for the Mariners and hoping for sunny days. I occasionally will post things on the internet, like this piece on Inclusion, and this one about my father's experience with child separation in Stalin's Soviet Union.