MBI’s Management Team
MBI provides an open platform to bring outstanding scientists and their projects to Singapore while providing high-quality training for students and scientists in quantitative systems approaches to understanding biomechanical functions.
The Mechanobiology Institute’s mission is to understand the mechanical aspects of cells and tissues that create organism form and function, define a fundamental set of mechanobiological operations from which these complex biological functions are built, establish this as a world-wide standard to unify the description and understanding of normal and diseased functions, and develop a robust multidisciplinary approach to mechanobiology.
Together, we are working on new ways of studying diseases through the mechanisms of molecule, cell and tissue mechanics to further the advancement of the discipline and the future of mechanobiology.
Michael Sheetz, Director
Director, Mechanobiology Institute
Distinguished Professor, Department of Biological Sciences, NUS
“The Mechanobiology Institute is committed to developing better ways to bring together the multi-disciplinary expertise that is needed to understand the systems biology of cell shape and mechanics. In approaching integrated functions such as biomechanics, a single lab often does not have the resources to study all of the relevant parameters and a small institute can provide that support. However, innovation and breakthroughs will continue to come primarily from individual investigators.” -M. Sheetz
Hailing from Columbia University, Prof Michael Sheetz has more than 40 years’ experience in the biomedical field. Introduced to Singapore by Prof Hew Choy Leong of the National University of Singapore’s Department of Biological Sciences, Prof Sheetz was sought to lead a Research Centre of Excellence project. After winning an RCE in 2009, the MBI was formed to study how mechanical forces are controlled in biological systems at a molecular, cellular and tissue level, and translate these findings to understanding disease progression. Built with an open laboratory concept, MBI promotes communication, collaboration and innovation among multi-disciplinary researchers with diverse backgrounds. Read more about Prof Sheetz’s research
Paul Matsudaira, Co-Director
Co-Director, Mechanobiology Institute
Professor and Head, Department of Biological Sciences, NUS
“Mechanobiology research will contribute fundamental insights into the basic mechanisms underlying cell and tissue biology, development, and disease.” -P. Matsudaira
Formerly a biology and bioengineering professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Prof Matsudaira achieved significant discoveries on podosomes and polymer-based molecular motors for cell movement during his twenty-four years there. Appointed the Co-director of the MBI on June 2009, Prof Matsudaira presently heads the NUS Department of Biological Sciences. Read more about Prof Matsudaira’s research
GV Shivashankar, Deputy Director
Deputy Director, Mechanobiology Institute
IFOM-NUS Chair Professor, National University of Singapore
“The next 2 to 3 years at the MBI, is going to be a critical as well as exciting phase with the individual groups currently finding synergies to tackle challenging problems in mechanobiology.” -G.V. Shivashankar
Prof Shivashankar joined the Department of Biological Sciences and MBI in November 2009. Prior to this, he was a tenured faculty at the National Centre for Biological Sciences, Tata Institute of Fundamental Research Bangalore, India. He trained at The Rockefeller University and NEC Princeton in experimental physics applied to biological systems. His interests in information control, led naturally to the link between geometry, genome assembly, nuclear architecture and its impact on the mechanoregulation of gene expression in cells. Read more about Prof Shivashankar’s research
Hew Choy Leong, Senior Advisor and Emeritus Professor
Senior Advisor & Emeritus Professor
Emeritus Professor, Professor, Department of Biological Sciences, NUS
After spending more than 30 years as a professor at the Memorial University of Newfoundland and the University of Toronto in Canada, Prof Hew took up the position as the Head of Biological Sciences, National University of Singapore in 1999. He has successfully reorganised the department into a research – intensive department with strong research niches in biophysical science, cell and molecular biology and environmental science/biodiversity. He also chaired a working group in putting up the Mechanobiology proposal which was subsequently awarded by the National Research Council as the fourth Research Centre of Excellence (now called MBI) in Singapore. Read more about Prof Hew’s research