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Micro and Nanotechnology Laboratory
208 North Wright Street Urbana, Illinois 61801


Office hours 8:30a - 5:00p


Phone: 217-333-3097
Fax: 217-244-6375


Ning Wang

Ning Wang

Mechanical Science & Engineering
2326 Mechanical Engineering Lab
105 S. Mathews
Urbana, Illinois 61801
(217) 265-0913
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Research Statement:
Professor Wang uses advanced research techniques to gain a fundamental understanding of cell mechanics, including cytoskeletal biomechanics and control of cell form and function; bio-imaging of cytoskeletal structures and stress distribution in living cells; mechanotransduction, nuclear deformation and gene expression; and mechanical biotechnologies and their applications to cells, tissues, and organisms.

He has developed a technology called intracellular stress tomography, which he uses to address fundamental questions about stress propogation and distribution in living cells. He has also developed three-dimensional magnetic twisting cytometry technology and used it to quantify mechanical anisotropy in living cells.

Professor Wang was the first researcher to provide direct evidence that transmembrane adhesion molecule integrins mediate the transmission of force across the cell surface to the cytoskeleton. This fundamental finding opened the field of cell mechanics to the study of combinating biochemistry and biomechanics at cellular and subcellular levels. Using a technique called magnetic twisting cytometry to deliver small forces to specific sites on the cell membrane, he also demonstrated that cytoskeleton tension plays a dominant role in dictating cell shear stiffness and thus cell shape stability. He also showed that these localized forces cause cytoplasmic and nuclear deformation in remote parts of the cell. Recent collaborative work with colleagues at Harvard and Boston universities resulted in a fundamental finding that cells can adjust their internal response to external forces depending on how fast or slow these forces are applied. His research group currently has active collaborations with five different laboratories on campus, including the Bioengineering Department, the Beckman Institute, the Department of Cell and Developmental Biology, the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, and the College of Veterinary Medicine.
Research Interests:
  • Cytoskeletal biomechanics and controls of cell form and function
  • Bio-imaging of cytoskeletal structures and stress distribution in living cells
  • Mechanotransduction: nuclear deformation and gene expression
  • Mechanical biotechnologies and their applications to cells, tissues, and organisms
  • Embryonic stem cell biology and mechanics
For more information:
Faculty Profile

Honors, Recognition, and Outstanding Achievements for Research:

  • Caroline tum Suden Professional Opportunity Award, American Physiological Society, 1991
  • Scholander Award, American Physiological Society, 1991
  • Harvard School of Public Health Alumni Scholarship, 1988-1989

Honors, Recognition, and Outstanding Achievements for Public Service:

  • Regular Member, Intercellular Interaction Study Section, NIH 2012-2014
  • Regular Member, Nuclear and Cytoplasmic Structure/Function and Dynamics Study Section, NIH 2009-2013