I am a writer, broadcaster, and researcher. I was born in London to an Indian mother and Caribbean father and was educated in the West Indies and the UK. My PhD is in molecular genetics (Imperial College London), and my postgraduate training is in bioarchaeology.
I write about the intersection of science and technology with people, ideas, history, health, and environment.
I am currently a Senior Research Fellow at the Institute for Global Health, UCL, focussed on urban health and public engagement with science in Kenya. I am also part of an international team excavating and analysing ancient DNA from funerary sites in Spain, Rome, and Pompeii.
LIKE A VIRGIN:
how science is redesigning the rules of sex (Oneworld, 2012)
Short-listed—Salon Transmission Prize 2014
Translations—Dutch, Italian, and Bulgarian.
IN THE BONESETTER'S WAITING ROOM:
travels through Indian medicine
(Profile / Hachette, 2016)
BBC Radio 4 Book of the Week
Winner—Popular Medicine category, BMA Awards 2017
a history in three metamorphoses
(William Collins / William Morrow, 2023)
On genomics and genetic engineering in- What's Next? : Even Scientists Can’t Predict the Future – Or Can They? (Profile, 2017), ed. Jim Al-Khalili
New York Times
Weapons of Reason
Like a Virgin
“A hugely successful braid of reproductive biology, history of science, and politics, this is science writing that will keep you up past your bedtime.” New Scientist
“Prasad’s first book is a fascinating, topical and hugely readable investigation” Metro
“Fiery and provocative” Sunday Times
“...her book, Like A Virgin, is exploring a fundamentally serious theme, and one at the heart of Western liberal thinking.” Daily Mail
“...fertility is, quite simply, a complex process that involves more than you might imagine. Regardless, Prasad’s humorous and anecdote-laden approach sweeps the reader along.” BBC Focus
“Think you know the birds and the bees? Prasad’s whip-smart, eye-popping book takes us on a journey into the heart of gender and reproduction—a journey whose strange history is matched only by its unexpected future.” David Eagleman, Neuroscientist, Author of Incognito and Sum
“Aarathi Prasad has travelled far into the mysterious land of human and animal conception and come back with extraordinary stories of chimaeras and parthenogens, of cannibal sharks in the womb, of pseudosperm and the prospect of birth without pregnancy. A fascinating book.” Matt Ridley, bestselling author of The Red Queen
In the Bonesetter’s Waiting Room
“…a fascinating investigation into healthcare in India…With vivid anecdotes…this is a revealing study of Indian medicine, ancient and modern.” Daily Mail
“...a fascinating book about medicine in India”, Observer
"With a biographer’s eye for detail and a novelist’s comprehension of the creative process, Aarathi masterfully allows her characters and their stories to speak for themselves. The narrative of these tales is exceptionally lucid and the detail always vivid. From neuroscience to ‘jungle berries, ancient formulae to e-health, royal wrestlers to pioneering heart surgery’— these are the tales about medicine in rapidly changing India." The Tribune
“Aarathi Prasad...sets out to explore the extraordinary diversity of, and desperation within, India's sprawling health system. Through a series of beautifully observed vignettes...she investigates India's “ancient world of medicine”. Prasad discovers both inspiration and degradation.” Lancet
“a focused and fascinating journey.” Nature
“A vivid, personal and panoramic journey through the health and beliefs of one fifth of humanity. Timely, fluent and packed with inspirational characters.” Gavin Francis