About the National University of Singapore

About NUSA leading global university centred in Asia, NUS is Singapore's flagship university, offering a global approach to education and research with a focus on Asian perspectives and expertise.

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.

Decoding the Living Machine

Research 2017-05-03T10:27:58+00:00

Understanding the molecular basis for mechanotransduction

In cells and tissues, the integration and propagation of mechanical signals is facilitated by the activity of molecular machines; small groups of proteins that detect and respond to mechanical stimuli by transferring physical forces to other cellular components, or facilitating their conversion to biochemical signals.

At MBI, we are exploring mechano-transduction though four major research programs: molecular, cellular, tissue, and through technological innovations.

The information obtained during this process, which is known as mechanosensing, helps in cellular decision making.This is particularly important during development, when stem cells are differentiating to become specific cell types, and during wound healing or tissue repair.

Cells can measure the stiffness of the surface on which they are growing and they can detect and respond to tension from neighboring cells within a tissue. Understanding how individual cells and proteins contribute to the mechanotransduction of physical force, is a major focus in the research conducted at the MBI. Dissecting the nanoscale architecture of various molecular machines involves the manipulation of specific cellular components, and at times, single proteins or specific protein domains. We can then monitor any subsequent effects.

Crucial to these efforts is the ability to control and modify the physical parameters of the cellular microenvironment. This means growing cells on substrates of a specific stiffness, pattern or shape. The effect of any molecular manipulation must then be monitored by quantifying the forces generated by cells or individual proteins, or visualizing the effects using super-resolution microscopy techniques.

Recent Featured Research

Signaling in 3D

By | Apr 21st, 2017|Categories: Featured Research, Jokhun DS Research, Mitra A Research, Ratna P Research, Science Features, Shivashankar Lab, Venkatachalapathy S Research, Wang Y Research|

MBI Scientists reveal a spatial dimension to cell signaling

Illuminating the Contacts

By | Feb 10th, 2017|Categories: Bertocchi Research, Featured Research, Hara Research, Kanchanawong Lab, Ladoux Lab, Ravasio Research, Science Features, Toyama Lab, Zaidel-Bar Lab|

Using superresolution imagining to map adherens junction machinery

Featured Video

photos-portraits-square-kenneyThe Linda J Kenney Lab

Kenney’s laboratory is interested in signal transduction and the regulation of gene expression in prokaryotes. They are studying the two-component regulatory system EnvZ/OmpR that regulates the expression of outer membrane proteins as well as many other genes. Their present work focuses on how OmpR activates genes required for systemic infection in Salmonella enterica. Learn more.

Salmonella Lifestyle Choices

A bacterial molecular switch for infection or dormancy

Professor Linda Kenney describes a recent project from her lab on Salmonella pathogenesis. In this study, MBI Senior Research Fellow Dr Stuti Desai and colleagues discovered that the bacterial protein SsrB is the molecular switch for determining whether Salmonella infections become acute and virulent, or remain in a dormant carrier state.

Researchers from the Mechanobiology Institute (MBI), National University of Singapore have discovered that the bacterial protein SsrB is the molecular switch for determining whether Salmonella infections become acute and virulent, or remain in a dormant carrier state. This paper was published in eLife (Desai et al., The horizontally-acquired response regulator SsrB drives a Salmonella lifestyle switch by relieving biofilm silencing, February 2, 2016, eLife 2016; 5: e10747, doi: 10.7554/eLife.10747).

Read the article on MBInsights


Awards and Honors

MBI acknowledges our celebrated principal investigators and researchers.


News and Featured Events

Upcoming events, conferences, outreach and more at MBI.

2016 MBI-BPS Thematic Meeting on the Mechanobiology of Disease

Recent meeting brings together scientists to discuss research on the physical basis of disease

By | Oct 9th, 2016|Categories: Conference and Workshops, News|Comments Off on 2016 MBI-BPS Thematic Meeting on the Mechanobiology of Disease
Visiting Scientists

Collaborators and Visiting Scientists

Visiting faculty, on-site guests and visitors.

MBI Publications

Latest Publications

  1. Zhang Z, Xia S, and Kanchanawong P. An integrated enhancement and reconstruction strategy for the quantitative extraction of actin stress fibers from fluorescence micrographs. BMC Bioinformatics 2017; 18(1):268. [PMID: 28532442]
  2. Radhakrishnan AV, Jokhun DS, Venkatachalapathy S, and Shivashankar GV. Nuclear Positioning and Its Translational Dynamics Are Regulated by Cell Geometry. Biophys. J. 2017; 112(9):1920-1928. [PMID: 28494962]
  3. Jagielska A, Lowe AL, Makhija E, Wroblewska L, Guck J, Franklin RJM, Shivashankar GV, and Van Vliet KJ. Mechanical Strain Promotes Oligodendrocyte Differentiation by Global Changes of Gene Expression. Front Cell Neurosci 2017; 11:93. [PMID: 28473753]
  4. Mitra A, Venkatachalapathy S, Ratna P, Wang Y, Jokhun DS, and Shivashankar GV. Cell geometry dictates TNFα-induced genome response. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 2017;. [PMID: 28461498]
  5. 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]
  6. Li BL, Setyawati MI, Chen L, Xie J, Ariga K, Lim C, Garaj S, and Leong DT. Directing Assembly and Disassembly of 2D MoS2 Nanosheets with DNA for Drug Delivery. ACS Appl Mater Interfaces 2017;. [PMID: 28452468]
  7. Saw TB, Doostmohammadi A, Nier V, Kocgozlu L, Thampi S, Toyama Y, Marcq P, Lim CT, Yeomans JM, and Ladoux B. Topological defects in epithelia govern cell death and extrusion. Nature 2017; 544(7649):212-216. [PMID: 28406198]
  8. Ding WY, Ong HT, Hara Y, Wongsantichon J, Toyama Y, Robinson RC, Nédélec F, and Zaidel-Bar R. Plastin increases cortical connectivity to facilitate robust polarization and timely cytokinesis. J. Cell Biol. 2017;. [PMID: 28400443]
  9. Yuan G, Le S, Yao M, Qian H, Zhou X, Yan J, and Chen H. Elasticity of the Transition State Leading to an Unexpected Mechanical Stabilization of Titin Immunoglobulin Domains. Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. Engl. 2017;. [PMID: 28394039]
  10. Kukumberg M, Yao JY, Neo DJH, and Yim EKF. Microlens topography combined with vascular endothelial growth factor induces endothelial differentiation of human mesenchymal stem cells into vasculogenic progenitors. Biomaterials 2017; 131:68-85. [PMID: 28380401]

All MBI publications

Recent Publication Articles