Michael Murrell

Associate Professor of Biomedical Engineering
Mailing Address:
P.O. Box 208260
New Haven, CT 06520
Email: michael.murrell@yale.edu
  • B.S., Johns Hopkins University
  • Ph.D., Massachusetts Institute of Technology


My interests are in understanding the mechanical principles that drive major cellular life processes through the design and engineering of novel biomimetic systems. To this end, I develop simplified and tractable experimental models of the mechanical machinery within the cell with the goal of reproducing complex cellular behavior, such as cell division and cell migration. I then combine these 'bottom-up' experimental models with concepts from soft matter physics to gain a fundamental understanding of the influence of mechanics on cell and tissue behavior. In parallel, I hope to identify new design principles from biology which can be used to create novel technologies.

Selected Awards & Honors:

  • Postdoctoral Fellowship, Institute For Complex Adaptive Matter (2010-2012)
  • NIH Biotechnology Training Grant (2005-2008)
  • MIT Presidential Fellow (2004)

Selected Publications:

  • Michael P. Murrell, Raphaël Voituriez, Jean-François Joanny, Pierre Nassoy, Cécile Sykes& Margaret L. Gardel (2014), Liposome Adhesion Generates Traction Stress, Nature Physics, Vol 10, 163-169
  • Michael P. Murrell, Patrick W. Oakes, Martin Lenz & Margaret L. Gardel (2015), Forcing cells into shape: the mechanics of actomyosin contractility, Nature Reviews Molecular Cell Biology, Vol 16, 486-498
  • M. Murrell, M. Gardel, F-actin Buckling Coordinates Contractility and Severing in a Biomimetic Actomyosin Cortex, PNAS, Vol 109, no. 51, 2012
  • M. Murrell*, L.L. Pontani*, K. Guevorkian, D. Cuvelier , P. Nassoy and C. Sykes (2011), Spreading Dynamics of Biomimetic Actin Cortices, Biophysical Journal, Vol 100, Issue 6, pp 1400-1409
  • M. Murrell, R.D. Kamm and P.T. Matsudaira (2011), Substrate Viscosity Enhances Correlation in Epithelial Cell Motion, Biophysical Journal, Vol 101, Issue 2, pp 297-306
  • M. Socolovsky*, M. Murrell*, Y. Liu, R. Pop, E. Porpiglia, A. Levchenko (2007), Negative Autoregulation by FAS mediates robust erythropoiesis, PLOS Biology, Vol 5, Issue 10, pp 2297-2311