We are located in the Department of Chemical Engineering at the University of Florida.

Cells in our body perform complex tasks, including movement across tissues, adhesion to polymeric scaffolds in the body and the sensing of chemical and mechanical signals. These complex processes depend in large part on the intracellular cytoskeleton. Specialized ‘motor’ proteins that convert chemical energy into mechanical work associate and move along the polymeric cytoskeleton enabling critical cell functions including intracellular mechanical force generation. We are interested in how the cytoskeleton and associated motor proteins generates forces inside the living cell. This work has applications in understanding diseases of the cardiovascular and muscular system, as well as cancer. We are also developing new biomaterials and nanotechnologies for characterizing and controlling cellular forces.

News & Events

  • The University of Florida Office of Research awards Qiao Zhang and VJ Tocco $400 each for support in traveling to the AIChE and BMES annual meetings, respectively. Congratulations!

  • May 2017: The Journal of Cellular Physiology designates our recent paper, “The nucleus is irreversibly shaped by motion of cell boundaries in cancer and non-cancer cells,” the spotlight article (in press).

  • Our recent PNAS publication “On the Ultra-Donut Topology of The Nuclear Envelope” was selected as a feature topic on Math in the Media (11/2016) by American Mathematical Society.

  • Feb. 2017, Qiao Zhang presented his poster: “Coordinated dynamics of RNA splicing speckles in the nucleus” in Physical Science of Cancer Gordon Research Conference, Galveston, TX.