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Office Location:
5059 BST3

Mailing address:
3501 Fifth Avenue


Phone: 412-383-8520

Other Affiliations:
Developmental Biology, Computational and Systems Biology


Lance A Davidson, PhD, MSc

William Kepler Whiteford Professor, Department of Bioengineering
University of Pittsburgh Swanson School of Engineering

Research Interests

The Mechanics of Morphogenesis Lab at the University of Pittsburgh seeks to understand how tissues and organs are shaped in the embryo and how principles of self-assembly can be applied to engineer tissues. Our experimental and theoretical approaches are multiscale, ranging from super-resolution imaging and simulation of intracellular effectors to mesoscale analysis of bulk movements and biomechanics. Such multiscale analysis is uncovering feedback circuits that make tissue assembly more robust even as structures become more complex.

Research interests include:

  • Understanding how biomechanics drives morphogenesis across a number of size scales from subcellular generation of forces to the macroscopic forces and bulk tissue properties
  • Relating how signaling and biomechanics are integrated during embryonic development and how these processes are coupled during mesenchymal-to-epithelial transition (in cancer and development), heart formation, wound healing, and tissue regeneration.
  • Applying the principles of development and morphogenesis to drive self-assembly in naïve tissues thus providing new strategies and technologies for tissue engineers.

Technique Expertise or Resources to share

Quantitative experimental approaches to measuring and perturbing biomechanical properties of embryonic cells, tissues, organoids, and organs. Equipment includes custom tools for micro-aspiration, stress-relaxation, and micro-indentation of small samples. Confocal microscopes integrated for live-cell and tissue-imaging during stretch and compression tests. Expertise in manipulating mechanical properties and in developing quantitative approaches to identify mechanobiology pathways.


cell migration, cell motility, cell adhesion, collective migration, extracellular matrix, cytoskeleton, molecular effectors of mechanical properties including elasticity and viscosity, quantitative microscopy, computational simulation of the cytoskeleton, cell behaviors, and tissue movements


Lab website:

Faculty Profile:


Lab Members

Dr. Chih-Wen Chu Research Assistant Professor
Dr. Carsten Stuckenholz Visiting Lecturer
Jing Yang Graduate Student
Sommer Anjum Graduate Student
Geneva Masak Graduate Student
Ya-Wen Cheng Graduate Student