• Welcome to The Sun Group

    A human being is like a delicate machine. From engineers’ perspective, we are curious about how this machine is built and how to fix it when it goes awry. Specifically, we are interested in how mechanical information, encoded in nano-scale molecules, guides micro-scale cells to assemble into mili-scale functional tissues and organs. We also develop tools that interact with biomolecules, cells and tissues for a range of applications from diagnostics of diseases to regenerative medicine.

  • Mechanobiology of stem cells

    We are interested in the mechanical regulation of stem cell fate, i.e., how stem cells respond to the rigidity of extracellular matrix, external forces, nanotopographical cues, geometric constraints, etc. We develop micro/nanoscale micromechanical tools to control these mechanical cues and combine with molecular and cell biology approaches to understand the mechanobiology.

  • Modeling development and diseases using pluripotent stem cells

    Pluripotent stem cells are powerful tools to understand the development processes and the progression of many diseases. We design and fabricate unique bioengineering tools and biomaterials to unleash the potential of stem cells. For example, synthetic substrates strongly promote motor neuron differentiation of human pluripotent stem cells, which may be used to study and treat degenerative diseases like ALS.

  • Acoustic tweezing cytometry

    Acoustic tweezing cytometry (ATC) is a novel technology using ultrasound and lipid microbubbles to apply mechanical forces to cells through intergin-cytoskeleton network.

  • Integrated microengineering systems

    We make lab-on-a-chip type of devices to control cell microenviroment, apply mechanical and chemical stimulation, model the morphological and functional feature of tissues in vivo.


We are looking for graduate students and undergraduate students to join our lab! Please check the Employment page for details.

Recent publications

Xufeng Xue, Yubing Sun, et al., Mechanics-guided embryonic patterning of neuroectoderm tissue from human pluripotent stem cells, Nature Materials, vol. 17, 633, 2018.

Contact Us

Yubing Sun, Ph.D.

Department of Mechanical & Industrial Engineering
University of Massachusetts, Amherst
N571 LSL, Amherst, MA 01002

ybsun AT umass.edu



Latest News

UMass Acorn Award

We recently received a $15,000 UMass Acorn Innovation Fund to support the commercialization of SERS-based immunoassay. Thanks to the Massachusetts Technology Transfer Center (MTTC) for the support.

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Tianfa presented in BMES 2018

Oct. 2018 Tianfa presented his work (together with two more from Peiran) in BMES 2018 in Atlanta, GA.

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Ningwei and Tianfa’s review paper is just accepted by Integrative Biology

Check out our newest review paper on engineered in vitro organogenesis here. This paper is featured as the front cover.

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New publication

Our newest work on in vitro neural plate model has been published in Nature Materials. See the paper and news articles [Michigan News] [UMass News]. See the News and Views by Mukul Tewary & Peter W. Zandstra [Nature Materials]

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