Pritish Chakravarty | External PhD Student

I’m doing a PhD at EPFL in bio-engineering, and am working in collaboration with the wonderful team at PopEcol to investigate dispersal in a cooperative breeder (meerkats!) using inertial sensors. A tri-axial accelerometer is a type of inertial sensor that records acceleration in three dimensions – up, left and forward. Accelerometers put on animals reveal movement signatures of common behaviour. Characterising these behaviour signatures mathematically to later recognise them in a continuous stream of recorded acceleration would permit remote or virtual ‘observation’ of the animal. I am interested in developing behaviour recognition algorithms and using them to detect behaviour-state changes in dispersing meerkats. The combination of the knowledge gained through this animal-borne ‘virtual eye’ with theoretical models, long-term individual-based data on within-group demography and group movements, and population genetic analysis, could help unravel the mechanism and patterns of dispersal.

For some more details on the ‘engineering side’ of the project, please click here.

It would seem that I enjoy living at the foothills of mountains – from those of the Himalayas (Chandigarh), I have now moved to those of the Alps (Lausanne). And I started a PhD, so there are three data-points that fit this theory. Anyway, I’m an avid table tennis enthusiast and like how one has to attain enlightenment to play it properly. I dabble with the guitar and poetry. I thoroughly enjoy travelling with field biologists – seemingly random patterns in the sand turn into a herd of wildebeest that had been passing by a few hours earlier!



  • 2015–present, Doctoral Candidate, Laboratory of Movement Analysis and Measurement (LMAM), Prof. Kamiar Aminian, Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), Switzerland
  • 2013–2015, Master of Science (MSc) in Bioengineering, minor in Biomedical Technologies, Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), Switzerland
  • 2012–2013, Research Associate, Microfluidics Laboratory, Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Bombay, India
  • 2008–2012, Bachelor of Technology (B.Tech.) with Honours, Chemical Engineering, Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Bombay, India