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Welcome to the Cell and Molecular Biomechanics Lab! CMBL is part of the Department of Biomedical Engineering at Columbia University! The CMBL is focused on determining the mechanism that allows cells to sense and respond to extracellular mechanical stimulation. Particularly we are interested in determining, at a cellular level, how bone tissue is regulated by physical loading. This work has applications in developing new therapies to age-related bone loss and osteoporosis. We explore this question both in cell culture identifying novel molecular targets and in quantifying the skeletal sensitivity to loading of tissue-specific conditional deletions in mice. Our current targets include focal adhesions, cytoskeletal proteins, and the cell's primary cilium.


  • October 2016, Milos Spasic and Emily Moore win ASCB Travel awards to attend the American Society for Cell Biology Meeting, 2016

The ASCB annual meeting will be held in San Francisco, December 2016.

  • August 2016, Michael Sutton joins the CMBL as our newest MS/PhD student
  • August 2016, Emily Moore awarded ORS Sun Valley Alice L. Jee Young Investigator Award

This award enabled Emily to attend the ORS 46th International Sun Valley Workshop on Musculoskeletal Biology.

  • April 2016, Julia Chen and Professor Jacobs win Richard Skalak Award[1] for best paper in the Journal of Biomechanical Engineering

The paper is titled: Epigenetic Changes During Mechanically Induced Osteogenic Lineage Commitment

  • March 2016, Emily Moore presents talk at the 2016 Orthopedic Research Society meeting

Emily's talk was titled: Primary cilia are required for migration and differentiation of periosteal progenitors in postnatal skeletogenesis

  • March 2015, Milos Spasic wins Amgen travel award to present talk at the 2015 Orthopedic Research Society meeting

Milos' talk was titled: Lengthening primary cilia enhances osteocyte mechanosensitivity

  • December 2013, Professor Jacobs awarded ASME Van C. Mow Medal in bioengineering

Professor Jacobs is the 10th recipient of the Mow medal[2], bestowed upon an individual who has demonstrated meritorious contributions to the field of bioengineering through research, education, professional development, leadership in the development of the profession, mentorship to young bioengineers, and with service to the bioengineering community.

  • 2/14/2012 CMBL's NIH R01 grant for ~$2 million over 5 years gets approved

The grant was entitled "Primary cilia as mechanotransducers in bone". The long-term goal of this project is to determine how primary cilia contribute to bone’s ability to sense and respond to mechanical loading.

  • 2/4/2012 CMBL Postdoctoral Fellow David Hoey and Graduate Students Kristen Lee and An Nguyen presented at the Orthopaedic Research Society 2012 Annual Meeting in San Francisco

Dr. Hoey's talk was entitled "A mechanosensory role for the primary cilium in human mesenchymal stem cells". Congratulations Dr. Hoey for being selected as New Investigator Recognition Award finalist. Kristen's poster was entitled "Adenylyl cyclase 6 mediates bone adapatation in vivo". An's poster was entitled "Oscillatory fluid flow increases expression of inversin in mesenchymal stem cells".

  • 12/12/2011 CMBL Postdoctoral Fellow David Hoey and Graduate Student Kristen Lee presented talks at the 4th International Conference on Mechanics of Biomaterials and Tissues

Dr. Hoey's talk was entitled "The mechanosensing role of the primary cilium in oscillatory fluid flow driven osteogenic differentiation of human bone marrow stromal cells". Kristen's talk was entitled "Adenylyl cyclase 6 mediates in vivo mechanotransduction in bone".

  • 4/30/2011 CMBL Postdoctoral Fellow David Hoey awarded certificate for Outstanding Trainee Presentation at the 4th New York Skeletal Biology and Medicine Conference

His paper was entitled "A role for the primary cilium in fluid flow mediatd osteogenic differentiation of human mesenchymal stem cells".

  • 4/4/2011 CMBL Graduate Student Kristen Lee was awarded a 2011 National Science Foundation (NSF) Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP) Fellowship

Selection was based on her outstanding abilities and accomplishments and potential to contribute to strengthening the vitality of the US science and engineering enterprise. Funding for three years of doctoral studies are included in the award.

  • 1/8/2011 CMBL Graduate Students Kristen Lee and Matthew Downs awarded travel grants and Postdoctoral Fellow Julia Chen awarded Best Podium at the 29th meeting of the SPRBM

Kristen Lee presented a paper entitled "TRPV4 is required for mechanotransduction in MC3T3 osteoblasts". Matthew Downs presented a paper entitled "Modeling and analysis of primary cilia under fluid flow". Julia Chen presented a paper entitled "The effect of oscillatory fluid flow on the osteogenic differentiation of human bone marrow stromal cells" on behalf of David Hoey. Abstracts for these papers are available on the SPRBM website (

  • 1/16/2010 CMBL Postdoctoral Fellow David Hoey awarded Best Presentation at the 28th meeting of the SPRBM in Miami

Postdoctoral fellow David Hoey was awarded best presentation in the Postdoctoral Category at the 28th meeting of the Society of Physical Regulation in Biology and Medicine. His paper was entitled “Determining the mechanisms of primary cilia bending in response to fluid shear stress”. This paper along with fellow CMBL member, graduate student Jennifer Blundo’s paper are available on the SPRBM website (

  • 9/1/2009 CMBL Postdoc David Hoey awarded IRCSET-Marie Curie International Mobility Fellowship in Science, Engineering and Technology

The objective of the IRCSET-Marie Curie INSPIRE co-funded Scheme is to encourage Ireland-based researchers to avail of a structured period of overseas mobility with associated career development actions, followed by a corresponding return period in Ireland. David will spend two years here in Columbia University after which he will return to Prof. O’Brien's lab in the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (

  • 9/1/2009 The CMBL receives New York State Stem Cell Grant

The CMBL was delighted to receive a three year grant to study the role of primary cilia in the ability of bone marrow derived stem cells to sense and respond to mechanical load. The grant, titled "Mechanosensitive primary cilia in osteogenic differentiation of stem cells due to loading" if funded by the New York State Stem Cell Board (NYSTEM). You can look at the lay abstract of the project here.

Recent updates to the lab wiki

20 October 2016

       15:39 Template:Jacobs (diff; hist) . .  (-123) . . Milos Spasic (Talk | contribs)
+      15:35 Jacobs‎ (3 changes) . . (+416) . . (Page history) [Milos Spasic‎ (3×)]
       15:29 Jacobs:Research (diff; hist) . .  (+82) . . Milos Spasic (Talk | contribs)
  N    14:51 Jacobs:Research:Cell Biomechanics and Computational Modeling (diff; hist) . .  (+85) . . Milos Spasic (Talk | contribs) (New page: '''Primary Cilia Bending Mechanics''' * '''Flow-Induced Microtubule Remodeling''' *)
       14:49 Jacobs:Research:Load-Induced Bone Formation and Skeletal Development (diff; hist) . .  (+1) . . Milos Spasic (Talk | contribs)
       14:49 Jacobs:Research:Mechanotransduction in Bone via Oscillatory Fluid Flow in vitro (diff; hist) . .  (+1) . . Milos Spasic (Talk | contribs)
+ N    14:49 Jacobs:Research:Subcellular Mechanotransduction‎ (2 changes) . . (+99) . . (Page history) [Milos Spasic‎ (2×)]