My laboratory works on the interface of mechanics, physics, and cell biology, seeks to understand how physical properties and biological function affect each other in cellular systems, and how physical and material laws govern the behavior of living cells and their abilities to deform, move, remodel, and function. These basic mechanical processes underlie a range of higher level phenomena in health and disease including many aspects of cancer, cardiovascular disease, malaria, and morphogenesis. We have developed and applied to numerous cell types novel techniques for measuring mechanical properties and cellular forces, both inside and outside of the cell, at single cell level and multiple cellular level, on 2D and in 3D, such as Force Spectrum Microscopy, high-frequency microrheology, and Nonlinear Stress Inference Microscopy, and have used those methods to discover activity driven random transport in cells, the key role of vimentin intermediate filament in cytoplasmic mechanics and transport, as well as the nature of cell volume regulation and its impact on cell mechanics and stem cell differentiation. Inspired by the understanding of the fundamental of mechanics in cell physiology, current research in the PI’s laboratory also seeks to use engineering approaches to control behavior and functionality of cells and tissues. With a mixed background, I lead an interdisciplinary team of engineers, biologists, and physicists, aiming to understand physical properties of the living cell and their impact in health and disease, and externally using mechanical cues to direct developmental process and disease prevention.
01/2016, d’Arbeloff Career Development Chair
American Physical Society, Biophysical Society, American Society of Cell Biology, American Society of Mechanical Engineers
2015-present, Assistant Professor in Mechanical Engineering Department, MIT
2015-present, Graduate Admission Committee, Department of Mechanical Engineering, MIT