Michael Smith, PhD
Associate Professor
Boston University College of Engineering
Biomedical Engineering

PhD, University of Virginia
MS, University of Virginia
BS, University of Memphis

My lab investigates the role of the extracellular matrix in mechanobiology. First, we study the relationship between molecular mechanics and the bulk material properties of fibronectin fibers, with a focus on how these multiscale properties regulate cell behavior. We have provided the first estimates of molecular density in fibronectin matrix fibers, which is required to understand the intermolecular architecture of fibronectin matrix, and the first predictions of force on molecules within fibronectin matrix fibers, which determines molecular conformation. In our second project, we are investigating how cell signaling and microenvironmental properties regulate the maintenance of tension in single cells and multicellular clusters. This project is facilitated by the development of novel tools for regulating the local microenvironment of cells while simultaneously measuring cell stiffness, prestress, and contractility. Furthermore, we disseminate these tools for free, with the goal of making measurement of traction and cell stiffness broadly accessible to mechanobiologists.

Flipped Biomedical Grand Rounds: Creating a Clinical Immersion Classroom
06/04/2018 - 03/31/2024 (Multi-PI)
PI: Michael Smith, PhD
NIH/National Institute of Biomedical Imaging & Bioengineering

Effects of stretch and intercellular force transmission on tensional homeostasis in multicellular clusters
06/15/2019 - 11/30/2023 (Multi-PI)
PI: Michael Smith, PhD
National Science Foundation

Joint estimation of motion model, model parameters, and particle trajectories in single particle tracking
09/20/2017 - 08/31/2023 (Multi-PI)
PI: Michael Smith, PhD
NIH/National Institute of General Medical Sciences

Maintenance of Mechanical Tension for Normal Tissue Function Requires Intercellular Cooperation
08/01/2014 - 01/31/2019 (Co-Investigator)
PI: Dimitrije Stamenovic, PhD
National Science Foundation

CAREER: Regulation of Multicellular Behavior with an Extracellular Matrix Signaling Scaffold
02/01/2012 - 07/31/2018 (PI)
National Science Foundation

09/01/2012 - 08/31/2013 (PI)
The Children's Hospital Corporation

09/01/2011 - 08/31/2012 (PI)
The Children's Hospital Corporation


Yr Title Project-Sub Proj Pubs

Publications listed below are automatically derived from MEDLINE/PubMed and other sources, which might result in incorrect or missing publications. Faculty can login to make corrections and additions.

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  1. Xu H, Bunde KA, Figueiredo J, Seruca R, Smith ML, Stamenovic D. Differential Impacts on Tensional Homeostasis of Gastric Cancer Cells Due to Distinct Domain Variants of E-Cadherin. Cancers (Basel). 2022 May 29; 14(11).View Related Profiles. PMID: 35681670; PMCID: PMC9179447; DOI: 10.3390/cancers14112690;
  2. Bunde KA, Stamenovic D, Smith ML. Pattern Generation for Micropattern Traction Microscopy. J Vis Exp. 2022 02 17; (180).View Related Profiles. PMID: 35253805
  3. Stamenovic D, Smith ML. Reply to the 'Comment on "Tensional homeostasis at different length scales" by J. Humphrey and C. Cyron, Soft Matter, 2022, 18, DOI: 10.1039/D1SM01151K'. Soft Matter. 2022 Jan 19; 18(3):680-682.View Related Profiles. PMID: 34985478; DOI: 10.1039/d1sm01495a;
  4. Figueiredo J, Ferreira RM, Xu H, Gonçalves M, Barros-Carvalho A, Cravo J, Maia AF, Carneiro P, Figueiredo C, Smith ML, Stamenovic D, Morais-de-Sá E, Seruca R. Integrin ß1 orchestrates the abnormal cell-matrix attachment and invasive behaviour of E-cadherin dysfunctional cells. Gastric Cancer. 2022 01; 25(1):124-137.View Related Profiles. PMID: 34486077; PMCID: PMC8732838; DOI: 10.1007/s10120-021-01239-9;
  5. Stamenovic D, Smith ML. Tensional homeostasis at different length scales. Soft Matter. 2020 Aug 14; 16(30):6946-6963.View Related Profiles. PMID: 32696799; DOI: 10.1039/d0sm00763c;
  6. Xu H, Donegan S, Dreher JM, Stark AJ, Canovic EP, Stamenovic D, Smith ML. Focal adhesion displacement magnitude is a unifying feature of tensional homeostasis. Acta Biomater. 2020 09 01; 113:372-379.View Related Profiles. PMID: 32634483; DOI: 10.1016/j.actbio.2020.06.043;
  7. Vishwanath N, Monis WJ, Hoffmann GA, Ramachandran B, DiGiacomo V, Wong JY, Smith ML, Layne MD. Mechanisms of aortic carboxypeptidase-like protein secretion and identification of an intracellularly retained variant associated with Ehlers-Danlos syndrome. J Biol Chem. 2020 07 10; 295(28):9725-9735.View Related Profiles. PMID: 32482891; PMCID: PMC7363150; DOI: 10.1074/jbc.RA120.013902;
  8. Stamenovic D, Krishnan R, Canovic EP, Smith ML. As the endothelial cell reorients, its tensile forces stabilize. J Biomech. 2020 05 22; 105:109770.View Related Profiles. PMID: 32278526; DOI: 10.1016/j.jbiomech.2020.109770;
  9. White JA, Gaver DP, Butera RJ, Choi B, Dunlop MJ, Grande-Allen KJ, Grosberg A, Hitchcock RW, Huang-Saad AY, Kotche M, Kyle AM, Lerner AL, Linehan JH, Linsenmeier RA, Miller MI, Papin JA, Setton L, Sgro A, Smith ML, Zaman M, Lee AP. Core Competencies for Undergraduates in Bioengineering and Biomedical Engineering: Findings, Consequences, and Recommendations. Ann Biomed Eng. 2020 Mar; 48(3):905-912.View Related Profiles. PMID: 32026231
  10. Li J, Barbone PE, Smith ML, Stamenovic D. Effect of correlation between traction forces on tensional homeostasis in clusters of endothelial cells and fibroblasts. J Biomech. 2020 02 13; 100:109588.View Related Profiles. PMID: 31902611; DOI: 10.1016/j.jbiomech.2019.109588;
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Bar chart showing 50 publications over 20 distinct years, with a maximum of 5 publications in 2020


2020 College of Engineering Faculty Service Award
2018 Boston University College of Engineering: College of Engineering Teaching Excellence Award
2017 Boston University Biomedical Engineering Department: Award for Teaching Excellence
2012-2017 National Science Foundation CAREER Award
2010 Boston University College of Engineering: Dean’s Catalyst Award
Contact for Mentoring:

44 Cummington St
Boston MA 02215
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