Biophysics and Mathematical Biology Lab

 Yizeng Li

The Biophysics and Mathematical Biology Lab is led by Assistant Professor Yizeng Li, who received her PhD from the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor. She was a postdoctoral researcher at Johns Hopkins University's Department of Mechanical Engineering and Institute for NanoBioTechnology. Her backgrounds are in theoretical mechanics and applied mathematics with applications to biophysics and mechanobiology.

Li's research focuses on developing mathematical models to understand the working mechanisms of living systems, especially the mechanics, physics and biochemistry at the cellular level. She also collaborate closely with experimentalists and physiologists. Below is a subset of her research areas; for a full list of publications and collaborative works, see her publication page.

Cell Mechanics and Mechanobiology

Cells constantly interact with their environments by modulating their motility, ion fluxes, geometries, and volumes. I study cell migration, energy consumption, volume control, and division, among other, under various mechanical, physical, and biochemical environmental changes. The works have implications on cancer cell metastasis, immune responses, morphogenesis, and early embryonic development.

See sample projects

Oocyte Mechanics

Oocyte division relays on the correct dynamic behaviors of the spindle across different stages. The spindle motility is coupled to the intracellular actin dynamics, myosin dynamics, and the cytoplasmic flow, as well as various biochemical signals within the oocytes. These elements form positive feedbacks that ensure the appropriate dynamics of the spindle and thus cell division.

See sample projects

Cochlear Mechanics

The cochlea is one of the most elegant and sophisticated organs in our body. It converts incoming acoustic signals into electronic signals through multi-scale interaction of fluid waves and structural dynamics. On the other hand, the cochlea is also capable of generating sound which emits outwards to the ear cannel, a process known as otoacoustic emission. I study the wave generation and propagation within the cochlea both in the forward and backward directions.

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Computational Physics

It can be challenging to find high-accuracy, computationally-economic solutions to partial differential equations in complex geometries. My research includes the development of computational tools that facilitate the study of biophysical problems when complicated physics and geometries are involved.

See sample projects


If you are interested in joining the group, please send:

  • CV with a full list of publications,
  • research experience and technical expertise (1-2 pages),
  • research goals and plans (1-2 pages),
  • transcripts (both undergraduate and graduate if you have attended graduate schools), 
  • contact information of three professional references

as a single PDF file to Assistant Professor Yizeng Li. Students, postdocs and visiting scholars with background in biology, mathematics, mechanics, physics, mechancial engineering or biomedical engineering are especially encouraged to apply.