Our research is at the interface of cell biology, biophysics, and advanced imaging technology.  We develop and apply superresolution microscopy and advanced imaging techniques to understand how cells built complex nanoscale machines from basic biomolecular building blocks to perform vital biological functions.  

We focus on cell adhesions and cytoskeletal systems important for mechanobiology: Focal Adhesions, Adherens Junctions, Actin Cortex, and Microtubules.

Superresolution Microscopy

Our Microscopes

Integrin-mediated Cell-Matrix Interactions


Cadherin-mediated Cell-Cell Interactions




Warm welcome to Samantha, Arul, and Phuong!

August, 2020

Warm welcome to Cheryl and Kallista!

August, 2020

Congratulations to Christine for her first child, a healthy baby girl!

June, 2020

Congratulations to Dr. Sam Barnett for a publication in Physical Review X  

April, 2020

Congratulations to Dr. Darren Wong for a successful Ph.D. thesis defense

March, 2020

Congratulations to Zhong Xueying, Wong Kin Sun, and Moin Khan for passing the Qualifying Examinations!

March, 2020

Tony gave an invited talk in the joint Mechanobiology Institute/Universal Biology Institute seminar at the University of Tokyo.  

September, 2019

Tony gave an invited talk at the Graduate School of Quantitative Biosciences, Ludwig Maximilian University Munich.   

September, 2019

Congratulations to Dr. Sam Barnett for a publication in Nano Letters  

August, 2019

Tony gave a special seminar in the Department of Mechanical Engineering, Johns Hopkins University.  Thank you Prof. Chen Yun for hosting.  

May, 2019




  • Miao Yu, Shimin Le, Samuel Barnett, Zhenhuan Guo, Xueying Zhong, Pakorn Kanchanawong* and Jie Yan* “Implementing Optogenetic Modulation in Mechanotransduction.”  Physical Review X 10 (2), 021001 *: corresponding authors

  • D. Thumkeo, Y. Katsura, P. Beemiller, Y. Nishimura, P. Kanchanawong, T. Ishizaki, S. Kitajima, C. Takahashi, T. Hirata,  N. Watanabe, M. F. Krummel, S. Narumiya. “mDia1/3-dependent actin polymerization spatiotemporally controls LAT phosphorylation by Zap70 at the immune synapse” Science Advances. 6(1):eeay2432, 2020 doi: 10.1126/sciadv.aay2432


  • Yinan Wang#, Samuel Barnett#, Shimin Le, Zhenhuan Guo, Xueying Zhong, Pakorn Kanchanawong*, Jie Yan*. “Label-free single-molecule quantification of rapamycin-induced FKBP-FRB dimerization for Direct Control of Cellular Mechanotransduction” Nano Letters 19(10) 7514-7525  ​#:co-first authors, *: co-corresponding authors doi:10.1021/acs.nanolett.9b03364

  • Shumin Xia, Bena Lim, Yilin Wang, Zhen Zhang, Shan Zhang, Chwee Teck Lim, Evelyn K. F. Yim, Pakorn Kanchanawong, “Nanoscale Architecture of the Cortical Actin Cytoskeletons in Embryonic Stem Cells” Cell Reports 28(5), P1251-1267.E7 (2019) doi:10.1016/j.celrep.2019.06.089

  • Nisha Bte Mohd Rafiq#, Yukako Nishimura#, Sergey V Plotnikov, Visalatchi Thiagarajan, Zhen Zhang, Shidong Shi, Meenubharathi Natarajan, Virgile Viasnoff, Pakorn Kanchanawong*, Gareth Jones*, and Alexander D. Bershadsky* "A mechano-signalling network linking microtubules, myosin-IIA filaments and integrin-based adhesions" Nature Materials 18, 638-649 (2019). doi:10.1038/s41563-019-0371-y

       #:co-first authors, *: co-corresponding authors

  • Yun-Chi Tsai, Wei-Chun Tang, Christine Siok Lan Low, Yen-Ting Liu, Jyun-Sian Wu, Po-Yi Lee, Pakorn Kanchanawong, Liang Gao, and Bi-Chang Chen “Rapid High Resolution 3D Imaging of Expanded Biological Specimens with Lattice Light Sheet Microscopy”  Methods doi: 10.1016/ j.ymeth.2019. 04.006

  • Shumin Xia, Evelyn K. F. Yim, Pakorn Kanchanawong, “Molecular Organization of Integrin-based Adhesion Complexes in mouse Embryonic Stem Cells”, ACS Biomaterials Sciences and Engineering 5(8), 3828-3842 (2019). doi:10.1021/acsbiomaterials.8b01124




  • Samuel F. H. Barnett, Pakorn Kanchanawong. “Visualizing the backbone of focal adhesions” Emerging Topics in Life Sciences 2 (5), 677-680 (2018)

  • Satoko Sakamoto, Dean Thumkeo, Hiroshi Ohta, Zhen Zhang, Pakorn Kanchanawong, Takayoshi Fu, Sadanori Watanabe, Yoshitaka Fujiwara, Masahito Ikawa, Naoki Watanabe, Mitinori Saitou and Shuh Narumiya  “mDia1/3 generate cortical F-actin meshwork in Sertoli cells that is continuous with contractile F-actin bundles and indispensable for spermatogenesis and male fertility” PLOS Biology 2018; 9: e2004874 10.1371/journal.pbio.2004874

  • Ravikrishna Ramanujam, Ziyin Han, Zhen Zhang, Pakorn Kanchanawong, and Fumio Motegi. “Establishment of the PAR-1 cortical gradient by the aPKC-PRBH circuit.” Nature Chemical Biology 2018; 14:917-927

  • Chwee Tat Koe, Ye Sing Tan, Max Lönnfors, Seong Kwon Hur, Christine Siok Lan Low, Yingjie Zhang, Pakorn Kanchanawong, Vytas A. Bankaitis, Hongyan Wang. “Vibrator and PI4KIIIa Govern Neuroblast Polarity by Anchoring Non-muscle Myosin II” eLife 2018; 7:e33555 doi: 10.7554/eLife.33555

  • Zhen Zhang, Yen Wei Lim, Peng Zhao, Pakorn Kanchanawong*, Fumio Motegi*. “ImaEdge: A quantitative image analysis platform for cortical protein dynamics during cell polarization.” Journal of Cell Science 2017: 130(24), 4200-4212 doi: 10.1242/jcs.206870  * co-corresponding authors

  • Rupprecht JF, Martinez-Marrades A, Changede R, Zhang Z, Kanchanawong P, Tessier G. "Trade-offs between spatial and temporal resolutions in stochastic super-resolution microscopy techniques" Optics Express 25(19), 23146-23163 (2017). doi:10.1364/OE.25.023146

  • Shumin Xia, Pakorn Kanchanawong. "Nanoscale Mechanobiology of Cell Adhesions" Seminars in Cell and Developmental Biology (2017) doi:10.1016/j.semcdb.2017.07.029

  • Zhen Zhang, Shumin Xia, Pakorn Kanchanawong. “An Integrated Enhancement and Reconstruction Strategy for the Quantitative Extraction of Actin Stress Fibers from Fluorescence Micrographs” BMC Bioinformatics (2017) 18:268. doi: 10.1186/s12859-017-1684-y.

  • Kapish Gupta, Qiushi Li, Jun Jun Fan, Eliza Li Shan Fong, Ziwei Song, Shupei Mo, Haoyu Tang, Inn Chuan Ng, Chan Way Ng, Pornteera Pawijit, Shuangmu Zhuo, Chen-Yuan Dong, Boon Chuan Low, Aileen Wee, Yock Young Dan, Pakorn Kanchanawong, Peter So, Virgile Viasnoff, Hanry Yu. "Actomyosin Contractility Drives Bile Regurgitation as an Early Response During Obstructive Cholestasis" Journal of Hepatology, 66(6), 1231-1240, 2017.  doi:10.1016/j.jhep.2017.01.026

  • Cristina Bertocchi, Yilin Wang, Andrea Ravasio, Yusuke Hara, Yao Wu, Talgat Sailov, Michelle A. Baird, Michael W. Davidson, Ronen Zaidel-Bar, Yusuke Toyama, Benoit Ladoux, Rene-Marc Mege, and Pakorn Kanchanawong. “Nanoscale architecture of cadherin-based cell adhesions” Nature Cell Biology 19 (1), 28-37, 2017. doi:10.1038/ncb3456

             *  News and Views in Nature Cell Biology

  • Yeo ELL, Joshua U, Cheah J, Neo DJH, Goh WI, Kanchanawong P, Soo KC, Thong PSP, Kah JCY: "Exploiting the protein corona around gold nanorods for low-dose combined photothermal and photodynamic therapy." Journal of Materials Chemistry B, 5 (2), 254-268, 2017. doi: 10.1039/C6TB02743A 

  • Z Zhang, Y Nishimura, P Kanchanawong "Extracting Microtubule Networks from Superresolution Single-Molecule Localization Microscopy Data" Molecular Biology of the Cell, 28 (2), 333-345, 2017. doi:10.1091/mbc.E16-06-0421

  • ​Wang, Y., Kanchanawong, P. "Three-dimensional Super Resolution Microscopy of F-actin Filaments by Interferometric PhotoActivated Localization Microscopy (iPALM)." J. Vis. Exp. (118), e54774, doi:10.3791/54774 (2016). doi: 10.3791/54774

  • J. Liu, Y. Wang, W. I. Goh, H. Goh, M. A. Baird, S. Ruehland, S. Teo, N. Bate, D. R.   Critchley, M. W. Davidson, P. Kanchanawong, “Talin determines the nanoscale architecture of focal adhesions” PNAS, 112 (35), E4864-E4873. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1512025112

  • Y. Wu, P. Kanchanawong, R. Zaidel-Bar, “Actin-Delimited Adhesion-Independent Clustering of E-Cadherin Forms the Nanoscale Building Blocks of Adherens Junctions”   Developmental Cell. (2015)  32 (2), 139-154. doi: 10.1016/j.devcel.2014.12.003

  • G. Shtengel, Y. Wang, Z. Zhang, W. I. Goh, H. F. Hess, P. Kanchanawong. “Imaging cellular ultra-structure by PALM, iPALM, and correlative iPALM-EM.” Methods In Cell Biology, Elsevier (Eds. T. Wittman & J. Waters), (2014). doi: 10.1016/B978-0-12-420138-5.00015-X

  • C. Bertocchi, W. I. Goh, Z. Zhang, P. Kanchanawong. “Nanoscale Imaging by Superresolution Fluorescence Microscopy and Its Emerging Applications in Biomedical Research.” Critical Reviews in Biomedical Engineering, 41.4-5 (2013). doi: 10.1615/CritRevBiomedEng.2014010448 

  • A. Nomachi, M. Yoshinaga, J. Liu, P. Kanchanawong, D. Thumkeo, T Watanabe, S. Narumiya, T. Hirata. “Moesin Controls Clathrin-Mediated S1PR1 Internalization in T Cells”. Plos ONE. 8(12): e82590, 2013. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0082590

  • P. Kanchanawong, C. M. Waterman. “Localization-based Super-resolution Imaging of Cellular Structures”, Adhesion Protein Protocols, Methods in Molecular Biology, Humana Press, A. Coutts (ed.), 1046:59-84, 2013. doi:10.1007/978-1-62703-538-5_4

  • G. Shtengel, J. Galbraith, C. Galbraith, P. Kanchanawong, C. Waterman, H. Hess. “Multicolor Interferometric Photo-Activation Localization Microscopy with Extended Axial Range”, Microscopy and Microanalysis, 17(S2): 6-7, 2011. doi:10.1017/S1431927611000900

  • P. Kanchanawong, C. M. Waterman. “Advances in light-based imaging of three-dimensional cellular ultrastructure”, Current Opinion in Cell Biology, 24:1-9, 2011 doi:10.1016/

  • R.S. Fischer, Y. Wu, P. Kanchanawong, H. Shroff, C. M. Waterman. “Microscopy in 3D: a biologist’s toolbox”, Trends in Cell Biology, 21(12): 682-691, 2011. doi:10.1016/j.tcb.2011.09.008

NIH (2007-11)

  • P. Kanchanawong, G. Shtengel, A. Pasapera-Limon, E. Ramko, M.W. Davidson, H.F. Hess, C. M. Waterman. “Nanoscale Architecutre of Integrin-based Adhesions”, Nature, 468(7323): 580-4, 2010.  doi:10.1038/nature09621

  • W.D. Shin, R.S. Fischer, P. Kanchanawong, Y. Kim, J. Lim, K.A. Meyers, Y. Nishimura, S.V. Plotnikov, I. Thievessen, D. Yarar, B. Sabass, C.M. Waterman, A Versatile, Multicolor Total Internal Reflection Fluorescence and Spinning Disk Confocal Microscope System for High-Resolution Live Cell Imaging, in: R.D. Goldman, J.R. Swedlow, D.L. Spector (Eds.), Live Cell Imaging: A Laboratory Manual, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press, Cold Spring Harbor, New York, 2010.

  •  G. Shtengel, J. A. Galbraith, C. G. Galbraith, J. Lippincott-Schwartz, J. M. Gillette, S. Manley, R. Sougrat, C. M. Waterman, P. Kanchanawong, M. W. Davidson, R. D. Fetter and H. F. Hess.  “Interferometric fluorescent super-resolution microscopy resolves 3D cellular ultrastructure”, PNAS, 106 (9), 3125-3130, 2009. doi: 10.1073/pnas.0813131106

Stanford (2001-07)

  •   L. N. Silverman, P. Kanchanawong, T. P. Treynor, S. G. Boxer. “Stark spectroscopy of mixed valence systems”, Phil. Trans. R. Soc. A, 366, 33-45, 2008. doi: 10.1098/rsta.2007.2137

  •  X. Shu, K. Kallio, X. Shi, P. Abbyad, P. Kanchanawong, W. Childs, S. G. Boxer, and S. J. Remington. “Ultrafast Excited-State Dynamics in the Green Fluorescent Protein Variant S65T/H148D. 1. Mutagenesis and Structural Studies”, Biochemistry, 46 (43), 12005 -12013, 2007. doi: 10.1021/bi7009037        

  •    X. Shi, Paul Abbyad, X. Shu, K. Kallio, P. Kanchanawong, W. Childs, S. J. Remington, and S. G. Boxer. “Ultrafast Excited-State Dynamics in the Green Fluorescent Protein Variant S65T/H148D. 2. Unusual Photophysical Properties”, Biochemistry, 46 (43), 12014 -12025, 2007.  doi: 10.1021/bi700904a        

  •   P. Kanchanawong, M. G. Dahlbom, T. P. Treynor, J. R. Reimers, N.S. Hush and S. G. Boxer, “Charge delocalization in the special pair radical cation of mutant reaction centers of Rhodobacter sphaeroides from Stark spectra and non-adiabatic spectral simulations”, J. Phys. Chem. B. 110 (37), 18688-18702, 2006. doi: 10.1021/jp0623894

Cornell (1997-2001)

  •  G. Andre, P. Kanchanawong, R. Palma, H. Cho, X. Deng, D. Irwin, M. E. Himmel, D. B. Wilson and J. W. Brady, “Computational and experimental studies of the catalytic mechanism of Thermobifida fusca Cellulase Cel6A (E2)”, Protein Engineering. Vol. 16: 125-134, 2003. doi: 10.1093/proeng/gzg017



Pakorn (Tony)


Principal Investigator, MBI

Associate Professor, Dept. of Biomedical Engineering, NUS

Ph.D. 2007

Stanford University  

A.B. (summa cum laude) 2001

Cornell University 


Liu Shiying

Research Fellow

Ph.D. 2017

Nanyang Technological University  

M. Eng. 2013

University of the Chinese Academy of Sciences

B.Eng.&B.Sc. 2010

Xiamen University


Moin Khan

Graduate Student

(co-supervisor: Virgile Viasnoff)

M. Tech. 2018

B. Tech. 2018 (dual degree)

Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay


Kashish Jain

Graduate Student

(co-supervisor: Michael Sheetz)

M. Tech 2019

B. Tech 2019 (dual degree)

Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur


Wang Wei

Research Fellow

Ph. D. 2015

Huazhong University of Science and Technology

B. Sc. 2011

Huazhong University of Science and Technology


Samuel Barnett

Research Fellow

Ph. D. 2018

University of Sheffield

M.Sc. 2013

University of Sheffield

B. Sc. 2012 (Hon.)

University of Sheffield


Kedsarin Fong-ngern

Research Fellow

Ph. D. 2012

Mahidol University

B. Sc. 2005

Chiang Mai University


Christine Low

Research Associate

M.Sc. 2019

National University of Singapore

B. Sc. 2016

Nanyang Technological University


Zhong Xueying

Graduate Student

B. Sc. 2018

Southern University of Science and Technology of China


Wong Kin Sun

Graduate Student

B. Eng. 2019

National University of Singapore


Samantha Chang

Research Assistant

B. Eng. 2020

National University of Singapore




Research Assistant

B. Eng. 2020

National University of Singapore


Co-supervised Graduate Student

Harini Rajendiran (w/ Prof. Virgile Viasnoff)


Cheryl Lee (FYP 2020)

Kallista Wong (Independent Study 2020)

An Honglin (former FYP)  Samantha Chang Shi Min (former FYP) Kevin Lim Zi Rong (former FYP)

Arulchevan Vijayakumar (former FYP) Julian Siew Tze Kang (former FYP) Elena Poh Woon Li (former FYP)

Sim Yi Herng (former FYP) Wong Kin Sun (former FYP) Kwok Zi Jun (former Research attachment)

Udpa Namitha Sujit (former FYP) Ankshita Prasad (former FYP) Akshaya Srinivisan (former FYP)

Former Lab Members (& current position)

April Kyi Thwin (Moderna Inc. USA)

Chen Youchao (Graduate student, University of Warwick, UK)

Xia Shumin, Ph.D. (Wuxi Biologics, China)

Zhang Yuzi (Graduate student, HKUST, Hong Kong SAR)

Azita Gorji, Ph.D. (Postdoctoral Fellow, Institut Curie, Paris, France)

Cristina Bertocchi, Ph. D. (Assistant Professor, Pontificia Universidad Catolica de Chile, Santiago, Chile)

Yukako Nishimura, Ph.D. (Research Fellow, Mechanobiology Institute, Singapore)

Zhang Zhen, Ph. D. (Research Fellow, School of Computing, National University of Singapore)

Huang Shuangru, Ph. D. (SpesBio Ltd., Hangzhou, China)

Gary Guo Zhenhuan

Wang Yilin, Ph.D. (South University of Science and Technology of China, Shenzhen)

Goh Wah Ing, Ph. D. (Assistant Manager, Microscopy Unit, A-STAR IMB)

Tian Xingyue (Chengdu, China)

Chaw Su Thwin (Research Associate, Nanyang Technological University)
Teo Shijia (Graduate Student, University of Frieburg, Germany)
Jaron Liu, Ph. D. (GE Healthcare Life Sciences)

Goh Honzhen (Research Assistant, Temasek Life Sciences Laboratory)

Talgat Sailov (Microscopy Specialist, SCELSE, Nanyang Technological University)

Svenja Ruehland (Ph.D. Student, Ludwig Maximillian University of Munich, Germany)

Ratul Chowdhury (Ph.D. Student, Dept. of Chemical Engineering, Penn State)

Eric Li, Ph. D. (Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Sydney, Australia)



Positions: UROP, Intern, Research Attachment Students

We welcome undergraduate students for Undergraduate Research Opportunity, Internship, or Research Attachment.  Projects are available on CRISPR/Cas9 genome editing, Super-resolution microscopy, Microscope instrumentation.  UROP is available for NUS Engineering students.  Research Attachment is available for Singapore-based students.  International Applicants are welcome to apply for internship.

Please contact Tony at (biekp -at- nus -dot- edu -dot- sg)

Position: Postdoctoral Fellow 

We are looking for a Postdoctoral Fellow with experiences in Cell Biology, particularly in cell adhesions biology or related mechanobiology fields, to lead a research project on studying adhesion proteins and cytoskeletons using advanced microscopy techniques.  The successful candidate must have a Ph.D. degree in Cell Biology or related fields, with outstanding publication record.    Proficiency in mammalian cell biology, molecular biology, live-cell fluorescence microscopy are desirable.

Compensation is commensurate with experiences and internationally competitive. 

To apply, please send curriculum vitae and 3 references to

Prof. Tony Kanchanawong (biekp -at- nus -dot- edu -dot- sg)

Position: Postdoctoral Fellow or Research Associate

We are looking for a Postdoctoral Fellow orResearch Associate with experiences in Superresolution Microscopy, Single-molecule spectroscopy, optical instrumentation, advanced quantitative fluorescence microscopy, or related Bioimaging areas.  The successful candidate will lead research projects on the development and application of novel superresolution microscopy approach to study cell biology at the nanoscale level.The project will be housed at the Mechanobiology Institute, National University of Singapore.

Candidates should have a Ph.D. degree in Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Biophysics, Optics or related fields, with outstanding publication record in Bioimaging.    Proficiency in optical instrumentation, programming (LabVIEW, IDL, MATLAB), data analysis, visualization are desirable, as are prior laboratory experiences in cell biology, molecular biology, or electron microscopy.

To apply, please send curriculum vitae and 3 references to

Prof. Tony Kanchanawong (biekp -at- nus -dot- edu -dot- sg)

Postdoctoral Fellowship

Candidates are encouraged to apply for the Postdoctoral Fellowship

Lee Kuan Yew Postdoctoral Fellowship

EMBO Fellowship

Human Frontier Science Programme (HFSP) Fellowship

Position: Ph. D. students

We are looking for highly-motivated and interdisciplinary-minded Ph.D. students.  Students are fully supported by Ph. D. Scholarship (tuition fee and stipend).

Interested students please apply through the following Ph.D. programmes

MBI graduate programme

NUS Graduate School for Integrative Sciences and Engineering (NGS)

Department of Biomedical Engineering, NUS

Scholarship is available for Singapore Citizens and Permanent Residents

Students from ASEAN countries are encouraged to apply for ASEAN Graduate Scholarship

Students from Commonwealth countries are encouraged to apply for Commonwealth Scholarship

International students are also encouraged to apply for graduate scholarship from SINGA

Nanoscale Mechano biology

Kanchanawong Lab

Mechanobiology Institute
National University of Singapore
5A Engineering Drive 1

Level 9 T-Lab Building
Singapore 117411

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