Cellular Mechanobiology Lab

Discover Our Focus

The Cellular Mechanobiology Lab (CML) focuses on the role played by mechanical forces and physical constraints in cell function. Main areas of interest include cell-cell and cell-extra-cellular matrix (cell-ECM) adhesion, cell-generated forces, and cell responses to external forces. Our research informs diverse areas from tissue engineering to pathophysiology.

Our research interests are:

  • Cell-cell adhesion
  • Cadherin mechanobiology
  • Traction force microscopy
  • Cell-ECM adhesion
  • Actin-adhesion interplay
  • Multi-scale mechanobiology

Research featured on the cover of the Biophysical Journal (A

Our paper on endogenous tension measurement in epithelial sheets is published in the Journal of Biomechanical Engineering.

  1. Dumbali, S. P., Mei, L., Qian S. and Maruthamuthu, V. (2017) Endogenous Sheet-averaged Tension within a Large Epithelial Cell Colony. J. Biomech. Eng. 139: 101008-1-5.
  2. Maruthamuthu, V. and Gardel, M. L. (2014) Protrusive Activity Modulates Changes in Cell- Cell Tension During Epithelial Cell Scattering. Biophys J. 107: 555-563.
  3. Maruthamuthu, V., Sabass, B., Schwarz, U.S. and Gardel, M.L. (2011). Cell-ECM Traction Force Modulates Endogenous Tension at Cell-Cell Contacts. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA. 108: 4708-4713.
  4. Borghi, N., Lowndes, M., Maruthamuthu, V., Gardel, M.L., and Nelson, W.J. (2010). Regulation of Cell Motile Behavior by Crosstalk between Cadherin- and Integrin-mediated Adhesions. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA. 107: 13324-13329.
  5. Maruthamuthu, V., Schulten, K., and Leckband, D.E. (2009) Elasticity and Rupture of a Multi-domain Cell Adhesion Complex. Biophys J. 96: 3005-3014.
  6. Prakasam, A.K., Maruthamuthu, V., and Leckband, D.E. (2006) Similarities between Heterophilic and Homophilic Cadherin Adhesion. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA. 103: 15434-15439.

  • Dr. Daniel Conway (VCU)
  • Dr. Xuefeng Wang (Iowa State)
  • Dr. Yun Chen (Johns Hopkins U.)


  • Motorized inverted fluorescence microscope
  • Biosafety cabinet
  • Cell culture incubator
  • Liquid nitrogen cryopreservation system
  • UVO cleaner