Raghu Parthasarathy Highlights


Graduate students Mike Taormina and Matthew Jemielita at the Parthasarathy Lab’s home-built microscope

The work of biophysicist Raghuveer Parthasarathy and his laboratory focuses on membranes — boundaries within and between cells — and communities of gut microbes. Whereas the scientific community has learned a great deal about the ingredients of biological systems like these, Parthasarathy’s research explores an new frontier: how these systems work, or more specifically, the material properties, physical forces, and interactions that govern them.
New areas of research require new experimental tools, so much of Parthasarathy’s time is spent developing methods to image and analyze the membranes and microbes he researches. One of his best-known works is a highly accurate algorithm he designed to pinpoint the location of objects in images on a subpixel level. The lab has also created several types of 3-dimensional microscopes. A particularly exciting research moment for the lab was the first time they were able to use one of these microscopes to view microbes in the gut of a live zebrafish.
Communication and cooperation across fields is key to Parthasarathy’s work. He gains inspiration by immersing himself through texts and talks in fields that he is less familiar with, such as biology and computer science. He encourages his students to do the same. On projects related to bacteria, his lab has collaborated with faculty from the institutes of molecular biology, neuroscience, and ecology and evolution with fruitful results, and he expects to see this collaboration increase in years to come.