• 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 2022: No openings for Ph.D. positions available. Please check back later.

Recent publications

Tianfa Xie, Sarah R. St. Pierre, Nonthakorn Olaranont, Lauren E. Brown, Min Wu, and Yubing Sun. Condensation tendency and planar isotropic actin gradient induce radial alignment in confined monolayers, eLife, In press, 2021.

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

Tianfa successfully defended his thesis

Congratulations, Dr. Xie! (12/2021)

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Jamar received Hubertus W. V. Willems Scholarship

Jamar recently received a prestigious Hubertus W. V. Willems Scholarship from NAACP. The scholarship recognizes students who “display academic excellence and early signs of leadership and a commitment to social justice”. Congratulations, Jamar!

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R01 grant supports the development of a novel Bladder tissue engineering technique

Our lab will collaborate with Dr. Govind Srimathveeravalli to investigate whether mechanical stimulation or the activation of certain mechanosensitive pathways can facilitate cell regeneration and eventually generate functional bladder tissue. Check the MIE news.

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Condensation tendency and tissue stiffness gradient drives cell alignment

Our newest eLife paper, in collaboration with Dr. Min Wu @ WPI, established that cell alignment in a confined monolayer in mechanical equilibrium states can be regulated by a condensation tendency (prestretch) and a tissue stiffness gradient. Congratulations to all the authors!

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