Welcome to the Leckband Group!

We study fundamental biophysical interactions and processes at bio-interfaces. There are two main research directions in the lab that developed from early studies of molecular forces that control biological adhesion, protein adsorption, and the interfacial properties of polymers used in biomedical applications. Our work continues to focus on bio-interfaces, but core projects continue to evolve in new, exciting directions.


A major body of research focuses on cell adhesion and mechano-transduction. How cells adhere and feel their mechanical surroundings can have profound effects on tissue function and physiology. We are identifying mechanisms of cell adhesion and mechano-sensing, from single molecules to whole organisms. We’re using this information to understand physiology and disease, but we also harness this information to build disease models and control tissue functions.

Cell Adhesion

Intercellular adhesion proteins, cadherins are the molecular Velcro that hold tissues together and maintain the hierarchical organization of multicellular organisms. We are determining biophysical mechanisms controlling the assembly and regulation of intercellular (cadherin) adhesions and their role in tissue development and diseases such as cancer. In collaboration with tissue engineers, we use this information to manipulate tissue functions such as muscle differentiation and paracrine secretion by mesenchymal stem cells.


Zwitterionic polymers bind proteins

Our studies of protein-material interactions identify design criteria for creating non fouling and/or protein-compatible materials. Protein adsorption and stability in non biological environments affects a wide range of applications, from non fouling paints for ships to drug carriers and medical implants. We are identifying material properties that prevent protein adsorption (fouling) and/or preserve protein stability in non biological environments. Current projects focus on materials used for protein drug delivery and tissue engineering.

Be bold. Be innovative. Join the team!