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Our Research

One of the long term goals of our group is to resolve the biophysical mechanisms by which cells sense and respond to mechanical stimuli .

A second goal of our group is to characterize the biophysical mechanisms for the onset and spread of neurodegenerative diseases.

Our group also develops new technologies to image and manipulate biological molecules with ultra-high resolution.

Recent News

July 4, 2016

Iowa State University researchers have described with single-molecule precision how copper ions cause prion proteins to misfold and seed the misfolding and clumping of nearby prion proteins. - Read complete press release -

June 5, 2014

Certain bonds connecting biological cells get stronger when they’re tugged. Those bonds could help keep hearts together and pumping; breakdowns of those bonds could help cancer cells break away and spread. - Read complete press release -

May 10, 2013

Five projects have been chosen as the initial recipients of the College of Liberal Arts and Science’s Signature Research Initiative. -Read complete press release-

May 7, 2013

Sanjeevi Sivasankar knows a lot about how the healthy cells in your body stick together. He and his research team have studied cell adhesion proteins called cadherins. They’ve developed an instrument that takes 3-D measurements for single-molecule studies of cell adhesion. And they’ve discovered three types of bonds (ideal, catch and slip) by studying cadherins when they’re subjected to a pulling force. - Read complete press release -

November 1, 2012

The human body has more than a trillion cells, most of them connected, cell to neighboring cells. How, exactly, do those bonds work? What happens when a pulling force is applied to those bonds? How long before they break? Does a better understanding of all those bonds and their responses to force have implications for fighting disease? -Read complete press release -