Michael Sheetz2019-07-10T13:35:04+08:00
Michael SHEETZ

Michael SHEETZ

Professor, 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

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 Founding Director of the MBI, he led the institute for 10 years and built it into a world-leading research centre in the field of mechanobiology.


PhD California Institute of Technology

Recent Publications

  1. Yang B, Wolfenson H, Chung VY, Nakazawa N, Liu S, Hu J, Huang RY, and Sheetz MP. Stopping transformed cancer cell growth by rigidity sensing. Nat Mater 2019;. [PMID: 31659296]
  2. Changede R, Cai H, Wind SJ, and Sheetz MP. Integrin nanoclusters can bridge thin matrix fibres to form cell-matrix adhesions. Nat Mater 2019;. [PMID: 31477904]
  3. Alieva NO, Efremov AK, Hu S, Oh D, Chen Z, Natarajan M, Ong HT, Jégou A, Romet-Lemonne G, Groves JT, Sheetz MP, Yan J, and Bershadsky AD. Myosin IIA and formin dependent mechanosensitivity of filopodia adhesion. Nat Commun 2019; 10(1):3593. [PMID: 31399564]
  4. Kalappurakkal JM, Anilkumar AA, Patra C, van Zanten TS, Sheetz MP, and Mayor S. Integrin Mechano-chemical Signaling Generates Plasma Membrane Nanodomains that Promote Cell Spreading. Cell 2019;. [PMID: 31104842]
  5. Wolfenson H, Yang B, and Sheetz MP. Steps in Mechanotransduction Pathways that Control Cell Morphology. Annu. Rev. Physiol. 2018;. [PMID: 30403543]
  6. Cai H, Muller J, Depoil D, Mayya V, Sheetz MP, Dustin ML, and Wind SJ. Full control of ligand positioning reveals spatial thresholds for T cell receptor triggering. Nat Nanotechnol 2018;. [PMID: 29713075]
  7. Wang Y, Hariharan A, Bastianello G, Toyama Y, Shivashankar GV, Foiani M, and Sheetz MP. DNA damage causes rapid accumulation of phosphoinositides for ATR signaling. Nat Commun 2017; 8(1):2118. [PMID: 29242514]
  8. Le S, Hu X, Yao M, Chen H, Yu M, Xu X, Nakazawa N, Margadant FM, Sheetz MP, and Yan J. Mechanotransmission and Mechanosensing of Human alpha-Actinin 1. Cell Rep 2017; 21(10):2714-2723. [PMID: 29212020]
  9. Saxena M, Changede R, Hone JC, Wolfenson H, and Sheetz MP. Force induced calpain cleavage of talin is critical for growth, adhesion development and rigidity sensing. Nano Lett. 2017;. [PMID: 29052994]
  10. Hu X, Margadant FM, Yao M, and Sheetz MP. Molecular stretching modulates mechanosensing pathways. Protein Sci. 2017;. [PMID: 28474792]

Lab Members

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.