Shang Ma Lab

Research Focus

Cells communicate with each other and their environments in a variety of ways, including using chemical signals to send messages. Traditionally, biomedical research has been dominated by the study of these chemical signals and how they influence cell growth and fate. Yet nearly all cells also experience mechanical stimuli—cells are pushed, pressured, and sheared constantly. Many diseases, including deafness, osteoporosis, and hypertension, are caused by a cell’s inability to sense mechanical stimuli properly.

Our group uses an interdisciplinary approach to understand how cells sense and process mechanical stimuli in health and disease. We hope to identify novel “mechanosensing” pathways as promising drug targets for different diseases.

Shang Ma, Ph.D., received his bachelor’s degree from the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada, with a major in genetics….
Full Bio

Research Projects

Select Publications

Ma, S., Dubin, A.E., Romero, L.O., Loud, M., Salazar, A., Wang, Y., Chesler, A.T., Wilkinson, K., Vásquez, V., Marshall, K.L., et al. (2022). Excessive Mechanotransduction in Sensory Neurons Causes Joint Contractures in a Mouse Model of Arthrogryprosis. Science 379, 201-206. (PubMed)

Ma, S., Dubin, A.E., Zhang, Y., Mousavi, S.A.R., Wang, Y., Coombs, A.M., Loud, M., Andolfo, I., and A. Patapoutian. (2021). A role of PIEZO1 in iron metabolism in mice and humans. Cell 184, 969-982. (PubMed)

Ma, S., Cahalan, S., LaMonte, G., Grubaugh, N.D., Zeng, W., Murthy, S.E., Paytas, E., Gamini, R., Lukacs, V., Whitwam, T., et al. (2018). Common PIEZO1 Allele in African Populations Causes RBC Dehydration and Attenuates Plasmodium Infection. Cell 173, 443-455. (PubMed)

Lab Members

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