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Ming Guo

Contact Info

room 3-455C

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

77 Massachusetts Avenue

Cambridge, Massachusetts 02139


  • 2014


  • 2012


  • 2007


  • 2004



Research Interests

Cell Mechanics
Soft Matter Physics
Non-equilibrium physics of cytoplasm
Physics of Cancer
Mechanics in Development
Cell Volume and Molecular Crowding
Controlled Stem Cell Differentiation/Dedifferentiation
Plant Biomechanics



My laboratory works on the interface of mechanics, physics, and cell biology, seeks to understand how physical properties and biological function affect each other in cellular systems, and how physical and material laws govern the behavior of living cells and their abilities to deform, move, remodel, and function. These basic mechanical processes underlie a range of higher level phenomena in health and disease including many aspects of cancer, cardiovascular disease, malaria, and morphogenesis. We have developed and applied to numerous cell types novel techniques for measuring mechanical properties and cellular forces, both inside and outside of the cell, at single cell level and multiple cellular level, on 2D and in 3D, such as Force Spectrum Microscopy and microrheology, and have used those methods to discover activity driven random transport in cells, the key role of vimentin intermediate filament in cytoplasmic mechanics and transport, as well as the nature of cell volume regulation and its impact on cell mechanics and stem cell differentiation. Inspired by the understanding of the fundamental of mechanics in cell physiology, current research in the PI’s laboratory also seeks to use engineering approaches to control behavior and functionality of cells and tissues. With a mixed background, I lead an interdisciplinary team of engineers, biologists, and physicists, aiming to understand physical properties of the living cell and their impact in health and disease, and externally using mechanical cues to direct developmental process and disease prevention.

Honors + Awards

01/2016, d’Arbeloff Career Development Chair


American Physical Society, Biophysical Society, American Society of Cell Biology

MIT Service

2015-present, Assistant Professor in Mechanical Engineering Department, MIT

2015-present, Graduate Admission Committee, Department of Mechanical Engineering, MIT


2.671 Measurement and Instrumentation
8.590 Topics in Biophysics and Physical Biology
20.309 Biological Instrumentation and Measurement


J. Hu, S. Jafari, Y. Han, AJ. Grodzinsky, S. Cai, M. Guo#, Size and speed dependent mechanical behavior in living mammalian cytoplasm, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. In press.
S. Gupta, M. Guo#, Equilibrium and out-of-equilibrium mechanics of living mammalian cytoplasm, Journal of the Mechanics and Physics of Solids. (2017).
M. Guo, A.F. Pegoraro, A. Mao, E.H. Zhou, P.R. Arany, D.T. Burnette, K.E. Kasza, F.C. Mackintosh, J.J. Fredberg, D.J. Mooney, J. Lippincott-Schwartz, D.A. Weitz. Cell volume change through water efflux impacts cell stiffness and stem cell fate. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. In press.
A.J. Ehrlicher, R. Krishnan, M. Guo, C. Bidan, D.A. Weitz, M.R. Pollak, Alpha actinin binding kinetics modulate cellular mechanics and force generation. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 112: 6619–6624 (2015).
E. Fodor*, M. Guo*, N.S. Gov, P. Visco, D.A. Weitz, F. van Wijland, Activity driven fluctuations in living cells. Europhysics Letters. 110: 48005 (2015).
M. Guo, A.J. Ehrlicher, M.H. Jensen, M. Renz, J.R. Moore, R.D. Goldman, J. Lippincott-Schwartz, F.C. Mackintosh, D.A. Weitz, Probing the Stochastic, Motor-Driven Properties of the Cytoplasm Using Force Spectrum Microscopy, Cell 158, 822–832 (2014). 
M. Röding, M. Guo, D.A. Weitz, M. Rudemo, A. Särkkä, Identifying directional persistence in intracellular particle motion using Hidden Markov Models, Mathematical Biosciences 248, 140–145 (2014).
M. Guo, A.J. Ehrlicher, S. Mahammad, H. Fabich, M.H. Jensen, J.R. Moore, J.J. Fredberg, R.D. Goldman, D.A. Weitz. The role of vimentin intermediate filaments in cortical and cytoplasmic mechanics. Biophysical journal 105: 1562–1568 (2013). 
S. Zhou, J. Fan, S.S. Datta, M. Guo, X. Guo, D.A. Weitz, Thermally switched release from nanoparticle colloidosomes, Advanced Functional Materials 23: 5925–5929 (2013).
H. Chen, Y. Zhao, J. Li, M. Guo, J. Wan, D.A. Weitz, H.A. Stone, Reactions in double emulsions by flow-controlled coalescence of encapsulated drops. Lab on a Chip, 11, 2312–2315 (2011).