Prarthana Ghosh


Prarthana Dharampal (Ghosh)
Post Doctoral Research Associate
545 Russell Labs
1630 Linden Drive
Madison, WI, 53706
(608) 890 1281   (Work)




My primary research interest involves the use of biomarker molecules to describe trophic tendencies and community structure across ecosystems and taxonomic groups. The main crux of my current research focuses on the use of carbon and nitrogen stable isotopes to better understand cryptic trophic interactions involving microbial communities.


Doctor of Philosophy: Biological Sciences, University of Alabama, May 2015  Dissertation title: Compound specific isotope analysis of amino acids in freshwater ecosystems: insights and applications

Master of Science: Environmental Science University of Calcutta, July 2007
Master’s thesis: Molecular and Temporal characterization of phytoplankton biodiversity in freshwater ponds in Calcutta using Advanced Single Cell RT-PCR.

Bachelor of Science: Zoology Honors (Minor: Botany, Chemistry), July 2005
Honors thesis: Assessing biodiversity and conservation efforts in Sunderbans: A UNESCO World Heritage Site


Dharampal, P.S., Findlay, R.H. 2017. Mercury levels in largemouth bass (Micropterus salmoides) from regulated and unregulated rivers. Chemosphere. 170, 134–140, doi:

Takizawa, Y., Dharampal, P.S., Steffan, S.A., Takano, Y., Ohkouchi, N., Chikaraishi, Y. 2017. Intra-trophic isotopic discrimination of 15 N/ 14 N for amino acids in autotrophs: Implications for nitrogen dynamics in ecological studies. Ecol Evol. 7 (9), 2916–2924, doi: 10.1002/ece3.2866.

Steffan, S.A., Dharampal, P.S., Diaz-Garcia, L.A., Currie, C.R., Zalapa, J.E., Hittinger, C.T. 2017. Empirical, metagenomic, and computational techniques illuminate the mechanisms by which fungicides compromise bee health. JoVE. (128), e54631, doi: 10.3791/54631.

Steffan, S.A., Chikaraishi, Y., Dharampal, P.S., Pauli, J.N., Guédot, C., Ohkouchi, N. 2017. Unpacking brown food-webs: Animal trophic identity reflects rampant microbivory. Ecol Evol. 7 (10), 3532–3541, doi: 10.1002/ece3.2951..

Blanke, C., Chikaraishi, Y., Takizawa, Y., Steffan, S., Dharampal, P., Vander Zanden, M.J. 2017. Comparing compound-specific and bulk stable nitrogen isotope trophic discrimination factors across multiple freshwater fish species and diets. Can J Fish Aquat Sci. cjfas-2016-0420, doi: 10.1139/cjfas-2016-0420.

Pauli, J.N., Newsome, S.D., Cook, J.A., Harrod, C., Steffan, S.A., Baker, C.J.O., Ben-David, M., Bloom, D., Bowen, G.J., Cerling,T., Cicero, C., Cook, C., Dohm, M., Dharampal, P.S., Graves, G.R., Gropp, R., Hobson, K.A., Jordan, C., MacFadden, B.J., Pilaar Birch, S., Poelen, J., Ratnasingham, S., Russell, L., Stricker, C.A., Uhen, M.D., Yarnes, C.T., Hayden, B. 2017. Why we need a centralized repository for isotopic data. Proc Natl Acad Sci. 114 (12), 2997–3001, doi: 10.1073/pnas.1701742114.

Dharampal, P.S, Carlson, C.M., Currie, C.R., Steffan, S.A. In Review. Investigations of fungicide exposure and pollen type on bee health: Insights from in vitro-reared solitary bees.

Dharampal, P.S, Diaz-Garcia, L.A., Hasse M. A. B., Zalapa, J.E., Currie, C.R., Hittinger, C.T., Steffan, S.A. In Review. The microbiome associated with the pollen provisions of bumble bees.

Dharampal, P.S, Carlson, C.M., Currie, C.R., Steffan, S.A. In Review. To bee, or not to bee: Larval bees require pollen -borne microbes to survive.

Steffan, S.A., Dharampal, P.S, Danforth, B. N., Gaines-Day H. R., Takizawa, Y., Chikaraishi, Y.  In Review. Omnivory in bees: Elevated trophic positions among all major bee families.


NSF Research Assistantship (Nematostella as an Estuarine Indicator Species for Assessing Molecular and Physiological Impacts of the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill, 2010 – 11)

Graduate Council Fellowship for Dissertation Research, University of Alabama (2012 – 2013)

Graduate Travel and Research Award (2011, 2012)

Inge and Ilouise Hill Research Fellowship, University of Alabama for Outstanding Graduate Teaching Assistant and summer research (2011)

Lalchand Mookherjee Foreign Scholarship, University of Calcutta for pursuing Graduate Studies in USA. (2008)


March 2018, Entomological Society of America, North Central Branch Meeting, Madison, Wisconsin “Microbes keep the bees buzzing”

October 2016, International Congress on Entomology, Orlando, Florida. “Microbes are trophic analogues of arthropods, mammals, and fish: Isotopic fingerprinting unites ‘green’ and ‘brown’ food webs”

October 2016, International Congress on Entomology, Orlando, Florida. “Compound-specific stable isotope analysis of phenotypic body morphs of bluegills (Lepomis macrochirus) from the unregulated Sipsey River system”

July 2016, International Organic Geochemistry Workshop, Osaka, Japan. “An investigation into elevated levels of mercury in the largemouth bass: A combined biomarker approach” Host: Dr. Yoshito Chikaraishi, Professor

September 2015, Mini-Workshop on Compound Specific Isotope Analysis of Amino Acids, Department of Integrative Biology, Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan. “Microbivory is Carnivory.” Host: Dr. Peggy Ostrom, Professor

December 2014, Fall Colloquium, Department of Entomology, University of Wisconsin, Madison, Wisconsin “Mercury dynamics in Micropterus salmoides.” Host: Dr. Shawn Steffan, Assistant Professor

May 2014, Joint Aquatic Sciences Meeting, Portland, Oregon. “Correlating methylmercury content and trophic position of largemouth bass by compound specific stable isotope analysis of amino acids and phospholipid fatty acids.”

February 2011, Association for the Sciences of Limnology and Oceanography, San Juan, Puerto Rico. “Use of compound specific stable isotope analysis to characterize the trophic position of Lepomis macrochirus


February 2012, Ocean Sciences Meeting, Salt Lake City, Utah. “Test of compound specific stable isotope analysis for determining trophic position in freshwater ecosystems.”


Membership of the Entomological Society of America

Membership of the Ecological Society of America

Membership of the Association of the Women in Science

Membership of the Association of Indian Entomologists in North America


Sample preparation and analysis for bulk and compound specific isotope probing using TFA-IP (15N) and phospholipid fatty acid derivatives (13C)

Sample preparation, analysis and identification of triglycerides, sterols, phospholipids and lipophilic pollutant load from tissue, sediment, and water column, using organic solvent extraction technique and column chromatography

Microbial biomass and community characterization using GC-FID, GC-MS, GC-C-IRMS- based biomarker analysis


Graduate Teaching Assistant (BSC 312/242 Microbiology) at University of Alabama

Tuscaloosa One Biology Outreach Program

Part time lecturer at Sikkim Manipal University at BS and MS level teaching courses in Immunology, Biochemistry, Biotechnology