Prof. Dr. Sapun Parekh
Sapun Parekh is currently jointly appointed as Group Leader in Molecular Spectroscopy Department at the MPI-P (since 2012) and Assistant Professor in the Department of Biomedical Engineering at the University of Texas at Austin (since 2019) where he conducts research on the molecular organization and biophysics of soft matter using nonlinear microscopy and label-free imaging. He received his BS in Electrical Engineering from the University of Texas at Austin in 2002 and completed his PhD in Bioengineering from the University of California at Berkeley/San Francisco in 2008 where he focused on force generation and mechanics of semi-flexible actin networks. This was followed by a postdoctoral period (2008-2010) in the Biomaterials Group at the National Institute for Standards and Technology where he worked on mechanobiology of stem cell differentiation and development of label-free imaging techniques. Sapun joined the MPI-P in February 2012 after working as a Science Policy Fellow in the National Science Foundation in Washington, DC and as a visiting scientist at the National Institutes of Health. He currently oversees projects funded by the DFG and HFSP programs in his group.
Main Research Interests
We use a variety of microscopy methods, among them coherent Raman and nonlinear fluorescence, to study fundamental processes in soft matter systems: from force transduction in cells and materials, to subtle biochemical modifications in metabolic disorders. We aim to exploit the unique capabilities of nonlinear vibrational imaging: unprecedented chemical specificity, high spatial, and high temporal resolution with minimal photo-damage, to gain new insight about local chemical heterogeneity in biology and disease. We apply these techniques to study biophysics and chemistry of disease in three different areas: 1) lipid chemistry in oxidative and adipose tissues as related to obesity, 2) granule formation in relation to neurodegeneration, and 3) mechano-chemical control of structure and function in biomaterials.