Core faculty

Shobita Parthasarathy

Professor of Public Policy; Director, Science, Technology, and Public Policy program; Professor of Women's and Gender Studies (by courtesy)

Shobita Parthasarathy is a professor of public policy and director of the Science, Technology, and Public Policy Program. Her research focuses on the comparative and international politics and policy related to science and technology. She is interested in how to develop innovation, and innovation policy, to better achieve public interest and social justice goals. Much of her work has focused on the governance of emerging science and technology, particularly those that have uncertain environmental, social, ethical, political, and health implications. She is the author of multiple articles and two books: Building Genetic Medicine: Breast Cancer, Technology, and the Comparative Politics of Health Care (MIT Press 2007; paperback 2012), which influenced the 2013 U.S. Supreme Court case challenging the patentability of human genes; and Patent Politics: Life Forms, Markets, and the Public Interest in the United States and Europe (University of Chicago Press, 2017) which won the Robert K. Merton Prize from the American Sociological Association. Her new research projects focus on the politics of inclusive innovation in international development, with a focus on India, and the development and governance of diagnostic testing for COVID-19, comparing the United States, United Kingdom, Singapore, and South Korea. Parthasarathy also directs the Technology Assessment Project, which recently published a report on the use of facial recognition technology in schools. She received her undergraduate degree from the University of Chicago and master's and PhD from Cornell University.

Learn more on Parthasarathy's personal website. 

Educational Background

  • PhD in science and technology studies, Cornell University (minor: government)
  • MA in science and technology studies, Cornell University
  • AB in biology, University of Chicago (also fulfilled degree requirements in public policy)

Professional Affiliations

  • Non-resident fellow, Center for Democracy and Technology
  • Advisory Board, Community Technology Collective
  • Society for the Social Studies of Science
  • American Association for the Advancement of Science
  • Science and Democracy Network
  • American Sociological Association
  • National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine
  • Advisor, Global Vaccine Equity Ideas Lab (U-M Center for Global Health Equity)

Recent Publications

  • Zixuan Wang, Margarita Maria Rodriguez Morales, Kseniya Husak, Molly Kleinman, and Shobita ParthasarathyIn Communities we Trust: Institutional Failures and Sustained Solutions for Vaccine HesitancyTechnology Assessment Project, Science, Technology, and Public Policy Program, University of Michigan (2021).
  • Contributor: "Stick to the Science! When Science Gets Political." Nature. 3-part podcast series. 2020.
  • Shobita Parthasarathy. “More Testing alone will not get us out of this Pandemic.” Nature. 585: 8 (2020). 
  • Claire Galligan, Hannah Rosenfeld, Molly Kleinman, and Shobita ParthasarathyCameras in the Classroom: Facial Recognition Technology in SchoolsTechnology Assessment Project, Science, Technology, and Public Policy Program, University of Michigan (2020).
  • Shobita Parthasarathy (2020). “Innovation Policy, Structural Inequality, and COVID-19.” Democratic Theory. 7(2): 104-109.
  • Shobita Parthasarathy (2020). “Approaching Intellectual Property Scholarship Differently: A Qualitative Research Review and Agenda.” Science and Public Policy. Online first:
  • Shobita Parthasarathy (2020). “Seeing Hoodia, seeing the world.” Biosocieties, 15: 148-152.
  • Shobita ParthasarathyUse Patents to Regulate Gene Editing.” Nature. October 25, 2018.
  • Shobita Parthasarathy (2017). “Grassroots Innovation Systems for a Post-Carbon World: Promoting Economic Democracy, Environmental Sustainability, and the Public Interest.” Brooklyn Law Review, 82(2): 761-787.
  • Shobita ParthasarathyPatent Politics: Life Forms, Markets, and the Public Interest in the United States and Europe (University of Chicago Press). (hardcover: 2017; paperback: 2020).
  • Shobita Parthasarathy (2016). “Lessons for CRISPR from the Missed Opportunities of Asilomar.” Ethics in Biology, Engineering, and Medicine. 6 (3-4): 305-312.
  • Shobita Parthasarathy (2015). "Co-Producing Knowledge and Political Legitimacy: Comparing the Life Form Patent Controversies in Europe and the United States." In Stephen Hilgartner, Clark Miller, and Rob Hagendijk, eds., Science and Democracy: Emerging Trends. Routledge.
  • Shobita Parthasarathy (2014). "Producing the Consumer of Genetic Testing for Breast Cancer: The Double-Edged Sword of Empowerment." In Kelly Moore and Daniel Kleinman, eds. Handbook of Science, Technology, and Society. Routledge.
  • Shobita Parthasarathy (2014). "Observing the Patent System in Social and Political Perspective: A Case Study of Europe" (with Alexis Walker) In Margo Bagley and Ruth Okediji, eds., Global Perspectives on Patent Law, New York: Oxford University Press, 2014.
  • Shobita Parthasarathy (2011). "Whose Knowledge? Whose Values? The Comparative Politics of Patenting Life Forms in the United States and Europe." Policy Sciences (Vol 44, No. 3, p. 267-288).
  • Shobita Parthasarathy (2010). "Breaking the Expertise Barrier: Understanding Activist Challenges to Science and Technology Policy Domains." Science and Public Policy. Vol. 37, No. 5, pp. 355-367.
  • Shobita Parthasarathy (2010). "The Implications of Direct to Consumer Genetic Testing for the Public's Health: Taking Sociotechnical Architectures Seriously." Genetics in Medicine. Vol. 12, No. 9.
  • Shobita Parthasarathy (2007). Building Genetic Medicine: Breast Cancer, Technology, and the Comparative Politics of Health Care. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
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