Nuclear Mechanogenomics & Cancer Diagnostics Laboratory

Shivashankar’s lab pursues research in understanding the role of cell mechanics on nuclear mechanotransduction and genome regulation.

Extra-cellular micro-environmental signals are transduced to the nucleus to regulate diverse biological processes including cellular differentiation, development and homeostasis; but the underlying mechanisms are still unclear. In this context, how such micro-environmental signals alter nuclear mechanical architecture and how it integrates with the 3D organization of chromosomes and transcription networks are rather unexplored. Using a multidisciplinary approach combining high resolution optical imaging, quantitative single-cell biology, machine learning and functional genomics, our laboratory investigates the principles underlying the coupling between nuclear mechanics and genome regulation. Our recent and ongoing work provides modular links between cellular geometry and nuclear mechanics and its impact on transcription dependent 3D organization of chromosomes and reprogramming. Such modular links define the normal state of cells and are altered during diseases. Hence our studies also have profound impact on developing single-cell nuclear biomechanical markers for early disease diagnosis and therapeutic intervention.