I am a Postdoctoral Researcher in the Prakash Lab at the Department of Bioengineering at Stanford. I am an experimentalist by training and I am currently working on fluid physics problems in a biological context.

I was previously at the Physics of Fluids Group at the University of Twente, The Netherlands, where I received a PhD in Applied Physics (2013) for my thesis on 'Light particles in turbulence'. My research was supervised by Professor Detlef Lohse and Professor Chao Sun.

I obtained an M.S. in Engineering Mechanics (2010) at the Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research (JNCASR), Bangalore, India. My master thesis research was on laboratory modelling of mantle convection. My research was supervised jointly by Professor K. R. Sreenivas at the Engineering Mechanics Unit, JNCASR and Professor Jaywant H. Arakeri at the Department of Mechanical Engineering, Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, India.

I received a B.E. in Mechanical Engineering (2008) from R. V. College of Engineering, Bangalore, India.

Honors & Awards

  • Milton van Dyke Award (Video), APS/DFD (2016)
  • First place, Nikon Small World in Motion Competition (2016)
  • Image of distinction, Nikon Small World Photomicrography Competition (2016)
  • Honorable mention, Nikon Small World in Motion Competition (2015)
  • Video Abstract Prize, New Journal of Physics (NJP) (based on a world-wide public voting contest) (2013)
  • Featured in NJP Research Highlights - 2012, 2013, New Journal of Physics (NJP) (2012, 2013)
  • Jury's Choice Poster Award, Hands-On Research in Complex Systems School, Shanghai, China  (2012)
  • 'Best Outgoing Student' award in Mechanical Engineering, RV College of Engineering, Cognizant Technology Solutions (2007)
  • `Potential Manager' award for the best student in Mech. Engineering, RV College of Engineering, LG electronics (2006)
  • Summer Research Fellowship (undergraduate), JNCASR, Bangalore (2005, 2006)

Professional Education

  • Doctor of Philosophy, Universiteit Twente (2013)
  • Master of Science, JNCASR, Bangalore, India, Fluid Mechanics (2010)
  • Bachelor of Engineering, RV College of Engineering (2008)

Stanford Advisors

Current Research and Scholarly Interests

Biophysics, Biological Fluid Dynamics, Fluid dynamics, Turbulence, Convection

Lab Affiliations

All Publications

  • Local Epithelial Fracture and Healing Mechanics Dictate Morphogenesis and Asexual Reproduction in Trichoplax adhaerens Prakash, V. N., Bhargava, A., Prakash, M. CELL PRESS. 2018: 651A–652A
  • Flowtrace: simple visualization of coherent structures in biological fluid flows JOURNAL OF EXPERIMENTAL BIOLOGY Gilpin, W., Prakash, V. N., Prakash, M. 2017; 220 (19): 3411–18


    We present a simple, intuitive algorithm for visualizing time-varying flow fields that can reveal complex flow structures with minimal user intervention. We apply this technique to a variety of biological systems, including the swimming currents of invertebrates and the collective motion of swarms of insects. We compare our results with more experimentally difficult and mathematically sophisticated techniques for identifying patterns in fluid flows, and suggest that our tool represents an essential 'middle ground' allowing experimentalists to easily determine whether a system exhibits interesting flow patterns and coherent structures without resorting to more intensive techniques. In addition to being informative, the visualizations generated by our tool are often striking and elegant, illustrating coherent structures directly from videos without the need for computational overlays. Our tool is available as fully documented open-source code for MATLAB, Python or ImageJ at

    View details for PubMedID 28729343

  • Dynamic vortex arrays created by starfish larvae Gilpin, W., Prakash, V. N., Prakash, M. AMER PHYSICAL SOC. 2017
  • Reply to 'Boundary effects on currents around ciliated larvae' NATURE PHYSICS Gilpin, W., Prakash, V. N., Prakash, M. 2017; 13 (6): 521–22

    View details for DOI 10.1038/nphys4166

    View details for Web of Science ID 000402604200003

  • Vortex arrays and ciliary tangles underlie the feeding-swimming trade-off in starfish larvae NATURE PHYSICS Gilpin, W., Prakash, V. N., Prakash, M. 2017; 13 (4): 380-386

    View details for DOI 10.1038/NPHYS3981

    View details for Web of Science ID 000398262900018

  • The role of viscosity contrast on plume structure in laboratory modeling of mantle convection CHEMICAL ENGINEERING SCIENCE Prakash, V. N., Sreenivas, K. R., Arakeri, J. H. 2017; 158: 245-256
  • Energy spectra in turbulent bubbly flows JOURNAL OF FLUID MECHANICS Prakash, V. N., Mercado, J. M., Van Wijngaarden, L., Mancilla, E., Tagawa, Y., Lohse, D., Sun, C. 2016; 791: 174-190
  • Wake-Driven Dynamics of Finite-Sized Buoyant Spheres in Turbulence PHYSICAL REVIEW LETTERS Mathai, V., Prakash, V. N., Brons, J., Sun, C., Lohse, D. 2015; 115 (12): 124501
  • The clustering morphology of freely rising deformable bubbles JOURNAL OF FLUID MECHANICS Tagawa, Y., Roghair, I., Prakash, V. N., Annaland, M. v., Kuipers, H., Sun, C., Lohse, D. 2013; 721
  • Light particles in turbulence (PhD thesis) Prakash, V. N. University of Twente. 2013

    View details for DOI 10.3990/1.9789036507240

  • How gravity and size affect the acceleration statistics of bubbles in turbulence NEW JOURNAL OF PHYSICS Prakash, V. N., Tagawa, Y., Calzavarini, E., Mercado, J. M., Toschi, F., Lohse, D., Sun, C. 2012; 14
  • Lagrangian statistics of light particles in turbulence PHYSICS OF FLUIDS Martinez Mercado, J., Prakash, V. N., Tagawa, Y., Sun, C., Lohse, D. 2012; 24 (5)

    View details for DOI 10.1063/1.4719148

    View details for Web of Science ID 000304826100032

  • Three-dimensional Lagrangian Voronoi analysis for clustering of particles and bubbles in turbulence JOURNAL OF FLUID MECHANICS Tagawa, Y., Mercado, J. M., Prakash, V. N., Calzavarini, E., Sun, C., Lohse, D. 2012; 693: 201-215