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About the Mechanobiology Institute, National University of Singapore

About MBIOne of four Research Centres of Excellence at NUS, MBI is working to identify, measure and describe how the forces for motility and morphogenesis are expressed at the molecular, cellular and tissue level.
Michael Sheetz 2017-05-03T10:31:37+00:00
Michael SHEETZ

Michael SHEETZ

Professor and Director, Mechanobiology Institute, National University of Singapore

+65 6601 1557 ext 11557
Level 10 T-Lab
National University of Singapore
5A Engineering Drive 1
Singapore 117411

Research Program
Leader, Molecular Mechanics of Mechanotransduction Group

Distinguished Professor of the Department of Biological Sciences, National University of Singapore

Professor of the Department of Biological Sciences, Columbia University

Recent Research

Michael Sheetz

Director and Principal Investigator

Research Areas

Cell migration, cell-cell and cell-substrate interaction

Research Interests

The morphology of cells, organs and whole organisms is determined by the generation of forces on the immediate environment, which is either extracellular matrix or adjacent cells. We are currently engaged in studies to understand the detailed molecular mechanisms involved in a variety of phenomena from cancer metastasis to brain function. Further, we are developing several new tools and protocols for measuring cell forces at the molecular level, which are revealing many new aspects of how cells can both generate and respond to external forces. We have an effort underway to define quantitatively the steps involved in cell adhesion to and spreading on a matrix-coated surface. Using a variety of cell lines that are missing proteins in various motility pathways, we are determining the quantitative changes in the spreading process. This will enable us to generate a detailed model of the process of spreading that will be a model for further studies of how cells differentiate, regenerate tissues or metastasize.


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 an RCE project. This resulted in a two-year effort to organise and submit a proposal on Mechanobiology where Prof Sheetz set the theme and direction of the Mechanobiology Institute (MBI). As Executive Director of the MBI, he will be spending nine months a year in Singapore to oversee the Institute’s programmes.


PhD California Institute of Technology

Recent Publications

  1. Hu X, Margadant FM, Yao M, and Sheetz MP. Molecular stretching modulates mechanosensing pathways. Protein Sci. 2017;. [PMID: 28474792]
  2. Saxena M, Liu S, Yang B, Hajal C, Changede R, Hu J, Wolfenson H, Hone J, and Sheetz MP. EGFR and HER2 activate rigidity sensing only on rigid matrices. Nat Mater 2017;. [PMID: 28459445]
  3. Meacci G, Wolfenson H, Liu S, Stachowiak MR, Iskratsch T, Mathur A, Ghassemi S, Gauthier N, Tabdanov E, Lohner J, Gondarenko A, Chander AC, Roca-Cusachs P, O'Shaughnessy B, Hone J, and Sheetz MP. α-actinin links ECM rigidity sensing contractile units with periodic cell edge retractions. Mol. Biol. Cell 2016;. [PMID: 27122603]
  4. Nakazawa N, Sathe AR, Shivashankar GV, and Sheetz MP. Matrix mechanics controls FHL2 movement to the nucleus to activate p21 expression. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 2016;. [PMID: 27742790]
  5. Luo W, Lieu ZZ, Manser E, Bershadsky AD, and Sheetz MP. Formin DAAM1 Organizes Actin Filaments in the Cytoplasmic Nodal Actin Network. PLoS ONE 2016; 11(10):e0163915. [PMID: 27760153]
  6. Yang B, Lieu ZZ, Wolfenson H, Hameed FM, Bershadsky AD, and Sheetz MP. Mechanosensing Controlled Directly by Tyrosine Kinases. Nano Lett. 2016;. [PMID: 27559755]
  7. Yao M, Goult BT, Klapholz B, Hu X, Toseland CP, Guo Y, Cong P, Sheetz MP, and Yan J. The mechanical response of talin. Nat Commun 2016; 7:11966. [PMID: 27384267]
  8. Hu X, Jing C, Xu X, Nakazawa N, Cornish VW, Margadant FM, and Sheetz MP. Cooperative Vinculin Binding to Talin Mapped by Time-Resolved Super Resolution Microscopy. Nano Lett. 2016;. [PMID: 27210030]
  9. Sathe AR, Shivashankar GV, and Sheetz MP. Nuclear transport of paxillin depends on focal adhesion dynamics and FAT domains. J. Cell. Sci. 2016; 129(10):1981-8. [PMID: 27068537]
  10. Masters TA, Sheetz MP, and Gauthier NC. F-actin waves, actin cortex disassembly and focal exocytosis driven by actin-phosphoinositide positive feedback. Cytoskeleton (Hoboken) 2016; 73(4):180-96. [PMID: 26915738]

Lab Members

Kabir H Biswas

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Senior Research Fellow, Sheetz Group, Groves Group

Rishita Changede

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Senior Research Fellow, Sheetz Group

Felix Margadant

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Senior Research Fellow, Sheetz Group

Cui Yidan

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PhD Student, Sheetz Group

Anushya Hariharan

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Research Associate, Sheetz Group

Yang Bo Beverly

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Research Associate, Sheetz Group

Wang Yu Hsiu Eric

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Research Fellow, Sheetz Group

Oh Dongmyung

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Research Fellow, Sheetz Group

Yao Mingxi

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Research Fellow, Sheetz Group

Yang Yi An

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PhD Student, Sheetz Group

Alok Kumar Dubey

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PhD Student, Sheetz Group