January 2021, During Zoom Lab Meeting: Names are: Nikhil, Sangyoon, Sarah, Kathleen, Mohanish, Nathan, Sam, Veer, and Shaina. (from top left in book-reading order)

Principal Investigator

Sangyoon J. Han, Ph.D.

Sangyoon Han was born in London, UK but raised in Seoul, Korea. He received B.S and M.S. degree from Mechanical Engineering at Seoul National University in 2002 and 2004. He received his Ph.D. with Dr. Nathan Sniadecki from Mechanical Engineering at University of Washington and performed postdoctoral studies with Dr. Gaudenz Danuser in the Department of Cell Biology at Harvard Medical School and University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center. He joined Michigan Tech, Biomedical Engineering from 2017. He is interested in understanding the dynamic nature in force modulation occurring across cell adhesions and cytoskeleton that regulates molecular sensing and downstream signaling response. His lab develops a minimally-perturbing experimental approaches and captures heterogeneity of dynamic mechanochemical states using live cell microscopy, computer vision and inverse dynamics to probe feedbacks between cellular structure and mechanical forces. He enjoys downhill and cross-country skiing with his family in his free time.

Graduate Students

Nikhil Mittal (Ph.D. Student)

Nikhil Mittal was born and raised in Delhi, India. He received his B.S. at Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha University, Delhi in Biotechnology. M.S. in Biomedical Engineering at Michigan Technological University. During his master's training, he developed an injectable polymeric microparticles and hydrogel-microparticle composites embedded with nitric oxide donor for sustained Nitric Oxide delivery for wound healing. Currently, he is investigating the force growth in cells during nascent adhesion formation in extracellular matrices with different stiffness. In his free time, he likes reading books, watching movies and just having fun.

Mohanish Chandurkar (Ph.D student)

Mohanish Kishor Chandurkar was born and raised in small town of Nagpur, Maharashtra, India. He received his Bachelor of Engineering (B.E) at SGBAU Amravati University in Biomedical Engineering. Currently pursuing his M.S in Biomedical Engineering at Michigan Technological University. During his bachelor’s study, he has worked on peristaltic pump used in controlled drug delivery system. Currently, he is working on, as his Master project, in-vitro model to study the shear stresses acting on endothelial cells and changes associated with the mechanobiology of cells using Traction Force Microscopy (TFM). He spend most of his free time reading Ayurveda articles, home remedies and watching science fiction.

Undergrad Students

Shaina Royer grew up in a suburb of Chicago. She is currently working on a B.S. in Biomedical Engineering from Michigan Tech. Since this spring, she has been working on fabrication of soft substrates for traction force microscopy with additional ability of magnetic actuation. In her free time she enjoys learning about horses, reading and occasionally writing fan-fiction, and playing Assassin’s Creed.

Sam Haarman was born and raised in Minneapolis, Minnesota. He is an undergraduate student pursuing a BS in Biomedical Engineering with an additional BS in Mechanical Engineering at Michigan Technological University. His research is focused on improvements to the Traction Force Microscopy process by implementing novel bead tracking and statistical algorithms. These new methods are intended to improve the tracking accuracy of large-scale deformations. Additionally, he is working to implement a novel method of force reconstruction utilizing the Finite Element Method. In his free time, he loves going to the cinema and attending indie film festivals as well as hiking and urban exploration.

Katie Heusser grew up in Allegan, MI, just east of Lake Michigan. She is currently working towards her B.S. in Biomedical Engineering, with a double minor in French and Mathematics, at Michigan Tech. She hopes to research the YAP/TAZ force sensing pathway and these proteins’ impact on atherosclerosis, using gels of different stiffnesses and new quantification techniques. In her free time, Katie enjoys dancing with the Michigan Tech Dance Team, reading, trips with the Mind Trekkers, and spending time with friends.

Past Students




Current Position

Lucia Salinas Chastel (Undergrad)

Spring-Summer 2019

AFM analysis of soft gels

U of Michigan

Elizabeth Kaechele

Elizabeth Kaechele was born in China and raised in Clare, Michigan. She is an undergraduate student in Biomedical Engineering at Michigan Technological University. She is assisting with collaboration projects using Traction Force Microscopy to understand the effect of replaced proteins with mutations for integrin activation and Quantitative Fluorescent Speckle Microscopy to quantify the flow of actin polymers. She enjoys skiing, running, and various crafts in her free time.

Sue Yon Kim was born and raised in Seoul, Korea. She is currently working on a BS in Biomedical Engineering at Michigan Technological University. Her research is focused on developing a novel image tracking algorithm that is capable of capturing large deformation accurately from a pair of bead images. The algorithm will be used to improve traction force reconstruction, particularly when a cell deform the soft gel a lot. She has received a Certificate of Merit from the Department of Mathematical Sciences for outstanding academic achievement in Engineering Statistics (MA3710). In her free time she spends her time watching documentaries and movies, drawing and painting, and listening to music.

Dongwoo Han (Master student)

Dongwoo Han was born and raised in Seoul, Korea. He received his Bachelor of Science (B.S) at Oklahoma State University in Chemical Engineering. He is currently pursuing his M.S in Biomedical Engineering at Michigan Technological University. He is working on reviewing actin-adhesion interactions within the molecular clutch model.


Mark Ginsberg (UCSD) – Adhesion Biology

Xin Zhang (The University of Oklahoma) – Cancer Biochemist

Michell Mendoza (U Utah, Huntsman Cancer Institute) - Cancer Biologist

Ben Goult (U Kent) - Biochemist

Klaus Hahn (UNC) - Biosensor

Alex Groisman (UCSD) – Soft Substrates and Microfluidics

Assaf Zaritski (Ben-Gurion University of the Negev) – Computer Scientist

Martin Schwartz (Yale) – Cell Biologist

Nathan Sniadecki (UW) – BioMEMS

Gaudenz Danuser (UTSW) – Computational Biologist

Sep 2018 in Bamboo

April 2019 in front of Suomi

June 30, 2019, BBQ party at Sangyoon's House: Shaina, Nik, Lucia, Mohanish and Sangyoon (from left to right).