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Student Highlights: Pia Bhatia (COL. ‘21)

Pia Bhatia is a senior transfer student studying physics in the College.

Involvement in Research

Pia Bhatia first became involved in research in high school. In the summer of 2016, Bhatia worked as a research assistant at the Seidel Group at Rutgers University. There, she learned about column chromatography, nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy, and liquid chromatography and completed her first independent research project. When Bhatia entered college, she knew wanted to pursue this research further.

After transferring to Georgetown for her sophomore year, Bhatia entered Professor Van Keuren’s lab as a research assistant. Here work in this lab focused on how organic nanowires using light microscopy and atomic force microscopy can practically be applied in the field of medicine. It was during this research experience that Bhatia realized she had an interest in nanoscience which she then further pursued in Professor Paranjape’s lab. In this lab, she studies the intersections of physics and biology. Her work helping create a polymer-based microfluidic chip will help members of the Food and Drug Administration with their cultures and study of cell toxicity. 

Additionally, in 2019, she became a teaching assistant within the physics department for different courses including Principals of Physics I and II, Intermediate Quantum Mechanics, and Statistical Mechanics. Her capabilities have been recognized, and in 2020, she received the Clare Boothe Luce Scholarship and the Hichwa Family Undergraduate Summer Research Fellowship.


Bhatia has a clear passion and talent for scientific research. Bhatia speaks of her experience in the physics department fondly and remarks she feels “close-knit” with the members. Her experiences have led her to aspire towards a Ph.D. after she graduates later this year. She says her work at Georgetown has been “meaningful” to her and an important part of her growth as an undergraduate.