• 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.


Spring/Fall 2020: we have an opening for a PhD student. If you are interested in our research, please contact Dr. Sun through email. Candidates with strong background in bioengineering and material sciences are desirable.

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

EJ won the second place in the Innovation Challenge

E.J. Chen and his venture “Renovare” won second place in the final of the Innovation Challenge and received $21,000 equity free investment. His company seeks to accelerate the wound healing process by developing “massaging bandages”, leveraging the mechanosensitivity of epithelial cells. Congratulations! See the CoE news article here.

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Grant support

Dr. Sun received the NSF CAREER Award to support our study on the mechanobiology of planar cell polarity. [UMass News]

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Three papers published recently

Nariman’s work on cancer biomarker sensing has been published in RSC Advances. Peiran’s work on cancer cell fusion in collaboration with Dr. Shelly Peyton has been published in ACS Biomaterial Sciences and Engineering Our collaborative work with Dr. Weiqiang Chen at NYU has been published in Small. Congratulations to all the

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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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