Mechanobiology Center

We hope you will join us for

Mission Statement

The mission of the Vanderbilt Center on Mechanobiology is to bring together engineers and basic scientists to understand how mechanics integrates with molecules, cells, and tissues to impact human health and technology. We are training the next generation of researchers to tackle scientific problems at the intersection of biology and mechanics.


Mechanobiology is a cross-disciplinary field at the interface of biology, physics and engineering that seeks to provide fundamental insight into how mechanical forces drive cellular processes. The human body is much more than just a set of genes and proteins, and we now know that disease can be caused and promoted by factors beyond genetics. Almost every organ, tissue, and cell are exposed to mechanical forces, and these forces are integral to healthy cellular function.

Elucidating the role of mechanical forces at molecular, cellular and tissue levels offers the potential to impact human health in news ways. Our understanding of mechanotransduction (how cells translate physical forces into chemical signals) is still developing and has been proven to be critical in numerous physiological systems and disease states including cancer, cardiovascular disease, kidney disease and fibrosis. Research in mechanobiology aims to uncover how cells respond to physical forces and how these forces affect tissue formation, degeneration and regeneration in both basic physiology and disease. Furthermore, mechanomedicine offers the ability to target disease based on the manipulation of the mechanical properties of molecules, cells and tissues, taking medicine into a new frontier.

Mechanobiology also impacts biotechnologies from catalysis to biomanufacturing, bioconversion and sustainable energy production. Mechanobiology principles lead to new materials, new forms of manufacturing, sensing and sustainability practices.

Vanderbilt is at the forefront of mechanobiology research due to its close cooperation between basic sciences, engineering and medicine. The Vanderbilt Center on Mechanobiology (V-CoM) brings together researchers who work across schools, departments and institutes.

We benefit from world-class collaborations through numerous other Centers and Institutes at Vanderbilt including:

And we excel, in part, due to unparalleled access to numerous core facilities including (but not limited to):

Leadership and Faculty

Members of the Vanderbilt Center on Mechanobiology (V-CoM) come from across the University to address biological questions rooted in mechanics. This works stretches from the study of the signaling of individual molecules to the assembly and maintenance of tissues. It spans from basic science, hypothesis-driven questions to the translation of devices and platforms to help study and treat disease. 

Cynthia Reinhart-King

Cynthia Reinhart-King, Co-Director

  • University Distinguished Professor
  • Cornelius Vanderbilt Professor
  • Departments of Biomedical Engineering and Cell and Developmental Biology
  • Senior Associate Dean for Research, Engineering

Related Research:

Marija Zanic

Marija Zanic, Co-Director

  • Associate Professor of Cell and Developmental Biology, Chemical & Biomedical
    Engineering, and Biochemistry

Related Research: The Marija Zanic lab studies the dynamics and mechanics of the microtubule cytoskeleton.

Contact Us

Cynthia Reinhart-King, Center Co-Director | Email:

Marija Zanic, Center Co-Director | Email:

Lab Website:

Mailing Address:
PMB 351631
Nashville, TN 37235

Campus Address:
Vanderbilt University
440 Engineering Sciences Building
1212 25th Avenue South
Nashville, TN, 37235

School of Engineering

School of Medicine Basic Sciences

College of Arts and Science

Center Events

  • Vanderbilt - Warwick Mechanobiology Symposium, May 30, 2024
    Please register here  by May 10, 2024.
  • Vanderbilt Center on Mechanobiology 2nd Annual Retreat, Tuesday, August 15, 2023
    Joe C. Davis YMCA Outdoor Center, Nelson Andrews Leadership Lodge, 3088 Smith Springs Road, Antioch, TN 37013

    8:30am – 9:00am            Welcome Coffee / Check-In / Poster Set Up

    9:00am – 9:15am            Kick-Off                                

    9:15am – 11:00am          Session I (Chaired by Beth Lawrence Ph.D., Postdoc, Zanic Lab (CDB))

    • Bryan Millis, Ph.D., Research Assistant Professor, Department of Cell and Developmental Biology, 30-minute talk
    • Emily Berestesky, Reinhart-King Lab (Biomedical Engineering), Graduate Student, 15-minute talk
    • Avishkar Sawant, Ph.D., Kaverina Lab (Cell and Developmental Biology) Postdoc, 15-minute talk
    • Maria Lopez Cavestany, Ph.D., King Lab (Biomedical Engineering), Postdoc, 15-minute talk
    • Abdullah Sami, Ph.D., Zanic Lab (Cell and Developmental Biology), Postdoc, 15-minute talk

    V-CoM Logo Contest Vote & Group Photo             

    11:00pm – 1:30pm          Lunch (pick-up) / Outdoor Activities / Free Time            

    1:30am – 2:30pm        Session II (Chaired by Alisa Cario, Ph.D., Postdoc, Kaverina Lab (CBD))

    • Neil Dani, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Cell and Developmental Biology, 30-minute talk
    • William Livingston, Merryman Lab (Biomedical Engineering) Graduate Student, 15-minute talk
    • James Hayes, Burnette Lab (Cell and Developmental Biology) Graduate Student, 15-minute talk

    2:30pm – 3:00pm            Coffee Break with light refreshments     

    3:00pm – 4:00pm            Session III (Chaired by Sarah Libring, Ph.D., Postdoc, Reinhart-King Lab (BME))

    • Marjan Rafat, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, Biomedical Engineering and Radiation Oncology30-minute talk
    • Hannah Stephens, Lang Lab (Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering) Graduate Student, 15-minute talk
    • Aubrie Stricker, Page-McCaw Lab (Cell and Developmental Biology) Graduate Student, 15-minute talk

    4:00pm – 5:30pm            Catered Poster Session                       

    5:30pm – 6:30pm            Awards & Closing Remarks