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Shobita Parthasarathy

Associate Professor of Public Policy and Women's Studies and Director, Science, Technology, and Public Policy Program

Dr. Parthasarathy is Associate Professor of Public Policy and Women’s Studies at the University of Michigan. She also directs the university’s Science, Technology, and Public Policy Program. Parthasarathy’s research explores the politics of science and technology, often in comparative perspective, with the goal of encouraging policies that can better serve the public interest and achieve social justice goals. Her current work investigates the 21st century politics of technologies designed to help the poor, with a focus in India.

She is the author of numerous articles and two books: Patent Politics: Life Forms, Markets, and the Public Interest in the United States and Europe (University of Chicago Press, 2017) and Building Genetic Medicine: Breast Cancer, Technology, and the Comparative Politics of Health Care (MIT Press, 2007). Findings fromBuilding Genetic Medicine influenced the 2013 US Supreme Court decision prohibiting patents on isolated human genes. She has advised the US HHS Secretary’s Advisory Committee on Genetics, Health, and Society, the Austrian Genome Research Program, the European Patent Office, and the US Government Accountability Office, among other science and technology policymaking institutions. To support her research, she has received grants and fellowships from the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, the American Council of Learned Societies, the UK Wellcome Trust, the German Max Planck Institute for Innovation and Competition, the American Bar Foundation, and the US National Science Foundation.

Ph.D. Cornell University; B.S. University of Chicago

Faculty Projects

  • The Politics of Technology for the Poor: Between India and the World The project: Technological innovation seems to have enormous potential to improve the lives of the poor, from improving sanitation to increasing access to education. But these interventions often have limited user interest and uptake. This project examined whether we can do a better job of leveraging technology for the poor, with a specific focus in […]